"Cooking should be approached, like love;
with wild abandon, or not at all"
- Harriet von Horn
I think I've shared it before, but I've received a few emails about it recently as it's included in my header.
Besides which, Julie @ Being Ruby has recently given me an incredibly generous airing on her blog and I'm expecting a few visitors. Coming from her accomplished and elegant blog, I'm afraid they'll be a little disappointed with the pedestrian content and suburban ramblings.
Then it occured to me, what better way to woo and beguile than with sugar, butter and fairy sprinkles?
Hello there my lovely.....
The most important thing you need to know about this cake is that it is not in any manner difficult.
I am the world's worst cake decorator and would rather rub myself with a brick than slave over fondant and marzipan. I also find baking instructions to be a little bossy and over prescriptive. However, with a little adherence to a couple of golden rules, this recipe finds a happy medium.
This is the cake that will make an impression, without making you feel as if you've entered the seventh circle of hell.
Martha would think this cake was cheating. I love that.
We actively find reasons to make this cake....if you come to visit, this is what the kids would insist we serve.
You start off with a basic butter cake recipe.
My recipe is at the end if you want to use it.
I'm showing you this picture so you can see that the recipe I use is not runny, it's quite stodgy....but in a good way.
You could just as easily buy packet cake, you'll most likely need 3.
JD made this recently for a school project.
I love the juxtaposition of the R.M. Williams Longhorn t-shirt covered by the blue cupcake apron.
He's secure in his masculinity. He even proudly took this cake to his all boy school for a "Master Chef" competition.
You'll need to have a number of bowls to divide the mixture into, depending on how many layers you can be bothered doing.
It's a cup and a half per layer.
You really need to use the gel colours. The watery ones are too weak and you'll be disappointed.
They're a little more expensive, however, I've made this cake about six times and there is still plenty of gel left.
NB: It's really important you use this LEMON yellow, not Buttercup yellow....it comes out orange.
So now I make an extra orange layer to the cake.
You stir the gel into each bowl. This is so much fun.
Everyone wants to help out at this point.
I only have two cake pans of this size, so I can only cook two at a time.
They're so thin though, that it only takes about 12 minutes for each batch.
You just have to repeat the process, I promise it's not that annoying.
You get just enough time to lick out the empty bowls from the previous batch.
I've timed it to perfection.
This cake just keeps on giving.
See how fantastically, sunshiney that lemon yellow is....it totally makes the cake.
Hey presto.....12 minutes later....
Flip them out onto cake coolers and repeat the process with the other bowls of batter.
Line the pans with baking paper and there's no need to wash or re-grease in between batches. We're far too lazy for that.
Once they've all cooled down you can start assembling.
The trick to having the cake staying upright and not becoming the Leaning Tower of Pisa is to skim your bread knife along the top of each cake to make sure it's completely flat.
Then flip it over so you're icing the hard, un-crumby cooked bottom of the cake.
Otherwise you end up with crumbs stuck into your icing and you'll be cursing like a longshoreman.
Okay, you're just going to have to trust me on this....
I hate to be bossy, but sometimes you just have to yield to fussiness for really good results.
Once you've finished assembling all the layers, you then cover the whole thing with a thin layer of icing.
This is called the "crumb layer".
Put it in the fridge for about an hour to harden up.
This means that when you do the final layer, there will be no crumbs ruining the finished result.
Much as I hate to admit it......it actually does make a difference.
I curse these Martha moments that totally validate her pedantic ways.
You can pipe around the bottom to finish it if you feel like it....or not.
I've also wrapped ribbon around the bottom of it to give it a final flourish.
The first time I made this it was for Lucy's confirmation.
I made it while they were out of the house and they had no idea what it looked like.
When they returned, I told her that I know she wanted a colourful cake, but I just ran out of time and hoped that the sprinkles on the top were enough colour for her.
Then she cut into it and squealed at the top of her lungs.
This is the five layer version without the orange layer.....JD and Daddy still look pretty happy I think.
Eating a rainbow will do that for you.
Here are the recipes:
Basic Cake Mixture:
I use this for everything from bar cakes, cupcakes, to this cake. I add cocoa to it for chocolate cake, orange zest for orange cake. It's the recipe my Mum has used all her married life and the first cake I ever cooked. It's the best.
******YOU NEED TO TRIPLE THE QUANTITIES FOR RAINBOW CAKE********
1 and a half cups of Self Raising Flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup of milk
125g (4 oz) butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract.
Preheat oven to 180oC conventional or 160oC fan-forced.
Put all ingredients in a bowl and beat on medium speed for five minutes. That's it.
500g sifted icing sugar
160g unsalted butter, at room temperature
50ml whole milk
a couple of drops of vanilla extract.
Cream butter and sugar together in your electric mixer.
Put the vanilla extract into the measure of milk.
Then pour slowly into electric mixer on a slow speed until it's all incorporated.
If you want to live on the edge and use cream cheese frosting:
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
600g icing sugar, sifted
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g cream cheese, cold.
Beat icing and butter together in your electric mixer.
Add the cream cheese in one go and beat on medium speed until incorporated.
Then crank it up to medium high until it's light and fluffy....about 5 minutes. (no more)
Click here for all the equipment & colours you'll need to make the Rainbow Cake