Saturday, May 2, 2009

rainbow cake

Wanna get a big "ooh!" when you cut into your next cake? I frosted this one with 7-minute frosting, which is marshmallowy sweet, stark white, and fluffy. After we sang happy birthday to Julie, I served the first piece and...


I saw this technique on Omnomicon a few months ago. I don't remember how I found it, but it looked like so much fun! I have always been skeptical of the cake mix/soda method Omnomicon used, but I was short on time, so I used a yellow cake mix prepared regularly. You can use any white or yellow cake mix (probably better with white cake, though my colors were plenty vibrant) or you could use a homemade cake batter, too. What follows isn't really a recipe, just a method.

- Prepare the batter according to instructions and measure it to see how much you have.

- Divide evenly into six bowls (or however many colors you want to use). You'll have about a cup of batter in each bowl.

- Color them with food coloring and stir them through thoroughly. I used fairly standard rainbow colors.

- Here's where it gets fun. Line two 8" or 9" pans with parchment paper and decide on the order of the colors. I went in rainbow order: red, pink, yellow, green, blue, purple. Measure about 2/3 cup of red, and pour it in a circle in one pan. Measure the same amount of pink and pour it in a blob, gently, right on top of the red, to make a concentric circle. Repeat with the yellow.

- Now switch and work on the other pan in reverse rainbow order. Start with the purple, then the blue, and then the green.

- You'll have just a little bit of each batter color left to finish each rainbow. Back to the first pan. Pour on the remaining green, then blue, then purple batter. In the second pan, continue in reverse order and pour on the yellow, then pink, then red.

- As you pour on the batter, the circles will spread out some, but mine didn't fill up the pan fully. I just tossed them in the oven, and they filled out fully during baking. Even if your circles aren't perfect, don't worry. The cake is going to be adorable no matter what.

Here's what the batter will look like before it hits the oven:

Bake and cool as directed on the box or recipe.

For frosting, I used a pretty standard 7-minute frosting sent to me by my friend Anna. It is very sweet and honestly, combined with the cake mix cake, the whole thing was a little overly sugary. In general, I'd like this frosting better with either a super-dark chocolate cake or with something that's not too sweet. It might even be nice with a carrot cake, for those non-cream cheese frosting people, and Anna's friend Kim recently made it to accompany red velvet, with good success.

7-Minute Frosting
2 egg whites, unbeaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 tablespoons cold water
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put egg whites, sugar, water and cream of tartar in top of double boiler (I used a bowl set over a pan of water). Place over rapidly boiling water and beat constantly with an electric hand mixer until mixture will hold a peak, about seven minutes. I just set a timer and checked it a couple of times; it truly was done after seven minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla and beat until cool and thick enough to spread.

This is extremely easy; it just takes a few minutes. It did not take long at all for the frosting to cool down enough to spread after being removed from the heat. In fact, once it cools and you start to frost the cake, you need to move fast. It starts to set up fairly quickly. I don't know whether you could stick it over the hot water again to warm it up or whether that would break it.

I originally wanted to use the back of a spoon (or a toothpick or chopstick or something?) to really spike up the frosting all around the cake. Unfortunately, by the time I finished slathering on the frosting, it was starting to set too much to even swirl it, except in the sections where the frosting was thickest. I threw on a few rainbow sprinkles just to give a clue as to what was inside.

Perfect for a kids' party - or even for grownups!


Anonymous said...

Don't do this in cupcake form. It takes freakin' forever. That is how I made my 'zebra cupcakes'. (But wouldn't that be cute!?!)

Nanette said...

GORGEOUS! I was just gonna say, "I wonder what that'd look like in cupcakes." Then I saw Jenn's comment.

meredith said...

wow. how cool is this!

The Nix Family said...

And it tasted as good as it looked!