It's Wednesday again, and I've agreed with exuberance to the request from Cake Appreciation Society to bake a Rainbow layer cake. I saw one of these cakes a few months ago and fell in love with the beautiful rainbow of colours...I knew this was a cake I was going to bake! I finally got the nudge to try it!
I researched a variety of sites, to see what other baker's takes on this recipe for rainbow layer cakes were. I've seen coloured packet cake, regular butter cake, and sponge cake recipes used to create this fantastic looking cake. But I wanted to offer you something a little different. I also knew that from experience you don't always get pure colours from buttercake mix due to the egg yolk being yellow which adds a slight yellowish tinge to the food colouring you'll add. So I scoured through my recipes and found one for White cake...a recipe I've had written down for years but never got around to baking (I'm sure you have those! 😉 ) There is no egg yolk, just egg whites, and it's really simple to make.
So, I know you really want to know if this cake tastes as fantastic as it looks.....YES! YES! YES! The buttercream I've used on this cake is THE MOST DELICIOUS light, fluffy frosting I've ever made!!! I am in LOVE with this cake The white meringue based buttercream in contrast to the bright rainbows colours work best for this recipe. If you don't want to use the buttercream recipe I've provided here, you could use the marshmallow frosting from the Whoopie Pie recipeI posted last week, or just a regular buttercream or even a cream cheese frosting.
Recipe for rainbow layer cake (and White cake)
250g unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond essence (you could also use lemon)
8 egg whites
2 1/2 cups milk
4 1/2 cups plain cake flour (don't use self raising flour for this recipe)
2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1) Grease a spring form 18cm round tin and line with baking paper. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees C.
2) In a bowl stir together milk, egg whites and flavouring.
3) In another bowl, sift together flour and baking powder and salt.
4) In an electric mixer with bowl and paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour, the while the mixer is running, add liquid mix, once combined, turn speed to high and beat for 1-2 minutes.
5) Pour mixture evenly into 6 bowls. Add a 1/4 teaspoon or less of the colours I use Wilton's food gel colours of red, leaf green, orange, yellow, blue and I mixed rose pink and blue to make purple; into the corresponding bowls, so that you have 6 separate colours. You get the most pure colour with these food colourings.
6) If you have two tins lined and ready to go, it will speed up the baking time. So you will bake each colour seperately. Pour in the mixture of one colour into the pan, flatten it out and bake for around 15-20 mins or until set, and a skewer comes out clean. Remove cake from oven , and pan and cool, then add next coloured batter and repeat process. Bake at 180C.
7) Allow all layers to cool completely before frosting.
BEST BUTTERCREAM EVER! Recipe for meringue based buttercream
I've adapted this recipe from authorSilvia Weinstock her cakes are beautiful! (Weinstock and Manchester, Sweet Celebrations The Art of Decorating Beautiful cakes, Published by Simon and Schuster).
The original recipe makes for 12 cups of icing or frosting, but I've halved it. Apparently you can freeze left over amounts of buttercream for up to three months...I'll let you know how this goes.
This recipe will make 5 cups of buttercream, which will be enough to fill and cover the outside of the cake. You will also have enough to do a crumb coat if you wish.
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
6 egg whites
500 g butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons clear vanilla
1) In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Mix with a wooden spoon until dissolved. Heat on medium watching that the sugar doesn't caramelise or burn. Brush the top of the water line with a clean pastry brush dipped in water so that the edges don't burn.
2) Simmer until sugar is soft ball stage (using a candy thermometer) if you don't have one, like me! Then after 5 minutes of simmering, carefully fill a tablespoon of HOT liquid from the pan and pour it off the spoon, it should make a continuous ribbon of liquid. Be Careful or get a candy thermometer!!! It is over cooked if your mixture turns a hint of yellow.
3) As the mixture nears temperature, in a mixter with a whisk attachemtn, whisk the egg whites until theyform soft peaks, do not over beat, about 3-5 minutes.
4) Turn the mixer on high and drizzle in a thin stream of HOT sugar syrup near to the edge of the bowl and into the beaten eggwhite. Once all of the liquid has been added, leave beaters to beat on medium setting for 25 minutes. The mixture will resemble a thick meringue. The outside of the bowl will be moderately warm to touch.
5) The butter must be at room temperature. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add knobs of butter one at a time to the meringue. The mixture may look like cottage cheese, but the butter will beat in. If it splits and curdles, your butter was too cold or too hot. The lumpy bits will smooth out. It could take up to 10 minutes. You do not want the beaters on high, as the friction of the beaters will over heat the mixture.
Once the mixture is smooth, add flavouring and beat for another 5 minutes. Chill Buttercream in clean plastic lidded container. If the buttercream is too soft, chill then beat again to make it smooth to work with.
This buttercream is really worth the effort
Assemble cake by adding buttercream into between each layer of cake (Cut the top off the cake if it is peaked, you want even layers). Add buttercream around the outside and leave plain or add sprinkles.
Enjoy, and let me know how this works for you, please ask me any questions here.