Yes, it was a promise made to my older daughter almost a year ago and now it needed to be delivered. Since my girls’ birthdays are only a week apart, I decided to bake two rainbow cakes, to make them both proud and happy.
It is not difficult to bake a rainbow cake; however, I have baked both cakes from scratch (meaning, I haven’t used any of the popular baking or cake mixtures) and it does take a lot of time. And patience. Yep. So, here’s what I’ve done.
350 g butter (softened), plus some for greasing
300 g white sugar
5 large eggs
3 packages vanilla sugar
750 g flour
2 packages (30 g) baking powder
1 tsp salt
350 ml buttermilk
325 ml milk
These ingredients will make six layers, so bear in mind that this is exactly the double size of a usual three-layer cake. You’ll need to take care of several other things; first, the ingredients should be kept at room temperature for a while before you start baking, as they will combine better and second, be careful when choosing food colouring. Some colourings are fine for creams and frosting, but are not meant for baking, and others simply have a horrible taste. I’ve opted for gel colours by AmeriColor, as they are really vibrant, they look great after baking, the cake can be refrigerated for several days with colours remaining as strong as the first day and, most importantly, they do not change the taste of the cake even the slightest bit.
In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugar and vanilla sugar with an electric mixer until they are well combined. Add the eggs and mix again.
In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt and in another bowl, mix buttermilk with milk. Add the flour mixture and the milk mixture alternating in two or three steps, beginning with the flour mixture and ending with the milk mixture. Mix well until all the ingredients are well combined.
Then, divide the batter evenly between six bowls.
Now add colours; first try adding only a few drops of colour, stir and if necessary add some more colour until you reach the desired shade.
Now preheat oven to 170°C and line bottom of your baking pan (mine is 26 cm round) with parchment paper and grease the sides. Put the batter into the pan, making sure it is evenly spread and bake for 12-15 minutes. After the layer has been baked, remove it from the oven and place it on the wire rack to cool. Repeat for each colour (if you have more than one baking pan, all the better – however, make sure they are exactly the same size).
And after a long afternoon of baking, you’ll end up with six layers, just like these on my table (the pink one tuned out great, the photo does not do it justice).
Now you have to combine them.
My cake no 1
For my younger daughter’s cake, I’ve opted for a simple solution; I’ve combined the layers with apricot jam. You can use any jam you like, as long as it is light in colour (the dark coloured jam is going to transfer to the cake layers and thus ruin the rainbow). The jam will add a nice and juicy fruit flavour and the cake is going to be soft and tasty.
I’ve made a ready-to-use vanilla parfait creme for the top and the sides. So, here’s what the cake looked like in the end…
My cake no 2
For my older daughter’s cake I’ve opted for the vanilla parfait creme inside out. In my opinion, the rainbow cake looks sooo much better with white cream layers between the rainbow colours. I’ve also made a ganache-like chocolate cream for the top and the sides. It is very simple to make and tastes great; however, you need to start making it before you start baking the cake itself, as it takes hours to cool down.
Simply combine 500 g of dark chocolate with 500 ml of cream and heat (don’t forget to stir!) until the mixture boils. Then let it cool down to room temperature (yes, it takes hours!). When it is completely cool (not before!), put the mixture in the fridge and keep it there for at least thirty minutes. Remove it from the fridge (it should be cold, but still fluid) and mix until it gets lighter in shade, firm and creamy and then simply apply to the cake with a spatula.
Here’s what my second cake looked like:
After you finish decorating the cake, keep it refrigerated for at least several hours or, even better, overnight.
So, how do you like my rainbow cakes?