…and on to the baking. I have heard that using gel food color instead of liquid produces bolder colors, but I already had a set of liquid and didn’t really care too much to go out and buy a set of gel… I also started with a lemon cake base so it was pale yellow to begin with, which definitely affected the hues of the blue and purple layers. I also learned what “cultured” cream cheese is… there is a great creamery in Springfield called Nancy’s that produces excellent yogurts, kefir, cottage cheese, sour cream, you name it – and they are all about using natural ingredients. No artificial sweeteners (they use honey) or thickeners, which I think is what I needed for my frosting. My roommate and I recently moved and there is a mini mart downstairs, and 8oz of Nancy’s was surprisingly cheaper than 8oz of Philadelphia by almost $1. The cream cheese-butter mixture kind of curdled and liquefied when I beat it… I had to beat the crap out of it and add cornstarch along with the powdered sugar, which threw the taste off a little bit it was still ok. I grated some fresh lemon zest into it for flavor continuity. Anyway, the colors turned out great! I used two 8″ round cake pans and separated the batter into 6 separate bowls to mix in the food coloring. It was very moist because the layers were so thin which allowed them to bake quickly and evenly, and to cool quickly. I just spread a small layer of frosting between each cake layer to glue it together. This cake was not the best of my abilities, but I was fairly discouraged after the frosting malfunction. Lesson learned – sometimes you need the fake stuff (artificial stabilizers and thickeners) to make your baked goods work!
I would provide a recipe, but I don’t have one because I cheated and used a boxed lemon cake mix, but here are the tips I would pass on to you in your rainbow cake endeavors:
- Butter/grease your pans generously.
- Don’t be afraid to use too much food coloring, especially the liquid kind… I used about 10 drops per color. The batter baked pretty true to color. Use gel food coloring for bolder colors, especially if using a darker batter.
- Use a 1 cup dry measure to divide up the batter – each will end up being about 1 full cup.
- Use a spatula to spread the batter all the way to the edges of the pans – it won’t do this by itself!
- Let the baked layers cool completely and use a spoon to run gently around the edges of the baked layers to help remove them from the pan.
- Wash and re-grease the pans between layers (if, like me, you don’t happen to have 6 cake pans lying around).
- Reduce the oven temp by about 25 degrees, and don’t over-bake! 8 minutes was all I needed.
- DON’T USE CULTURED CREAM CHEESE FOR THE FROSTING!
I will definitely do this again… it is a fun surprise to cut in to! I’ve wanted to do it for a while, but have refrained from doing so knowing the kind of trouble I would get into with a whole cake sitting around for no reason. So, my reason was my parents visiting! I want to do it using my own white cake recipe, a cherry chip cake mix, and I’d like to experiment to see what kind of rusty fall hues a spice cake might produce. It looks better in my head than it will probably turn out. Maybe next time I will double the recipe so the layers are thicker. Or a Funfetti cake mix? So many possibilities!
Blah blah blah, boring…
One of the best parts was the rainbow sticking to the knife:
Yum yum! I apologize for the poor quality photos.