Monday, March 11, 2013

Rainbow Cake

Now that St. Patrick's day is a few days away, my thoughts turn to lucky clovers, dying random food items green, pots of gold, and rainbows.  I thought I would share about the first time I made a rainbow cake.  It was for my daughters' shared birthday party and it turned out amazing.  One was turning 5, the other was turning two.  One wanted My Little Pony, One wanted a rainbow party.  We ended up combining them into one glorious "My Little Pony rainbow party" and my most favorite part of that party was the stunning rainbow cake.

The most beautiful cake ever! The Rainbow Cake

I had seen a few versions on line (way back in 2009 - in the days before Pinterest) and I just knew I wanted to make it.  It's actually not that hard, you can make one too!

I wanted to make this a double-stacked two layer 9x13 cake.  It really looks good when you layer this cake up.  So my directions will be for two 9x13 cakes.  (Just thinking if you do want to make one box of cake in two round 9 inch pans that would probably work, it would just be a lot thinner)

You will need:

2 boxes white cake mix (follow box instructions)
food coloring or coloring gel in bright colors
raspberry or strawberry jelly for between the layers
6 small/medium bowls
Two 9x13 pans

Mix the two cake mixes together in one large bowl according to package instructions.  Pour the white batter into six equal bowls.  Sitr in the food dye into the bowls in the six rainbow colors.

Picture used from the blog Omnomicon - which is where I got the beautiful rainbow cake inspiration from

I forgot to actually take pictures of the dying the colors part.  The picture above is from Aletta and it was her stunning pictures from her blog that really made me want to make this cake.  Your bowls will big bigger than this, she was making a tiny cake.  She was also making a round cake.. and a reduced calorie cake to boot, so if you are interested in any of that, please check her and her recipe out.

Now the trick here in the first pan, is that I was making a 9x13 rectangle and not a circle, so I had to improvise a little on the color layering technique, because normally it's in a simple bulls eye pattern.  Note: In this pan I am going to do a reverse rainbow order.  In the second pan I will do the regular order.  (You will see why at the end). You want to start with two scoops of purple side by side along the bottom (it will start to spread out). The first color in the pan will need the most batter, so I suggest 2/3 of that color in the pan then about 1 scoop of each color after that.  After the purple then do two scoops of blue right on top of the first blobs, then two scoops of green, two scoops of yellow, two scoops of orange, and finally two scoops of red.  You can see your batter will start to spread out in a bulls eye pattern of concentric circles.

Pan #1 of the rainbow cake starts in reverse rainbow order: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red

For Pan #2 You do the exact same method, only you start in the correct rainbow order of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and ending with purple on the top.  This time the red will have 2/3 of the red batter used, and the other colors about 1 scoop each.  You can see the pans after I put them in the oven. Each bulls eye is the opposite rainbow pattern.

Rainbow cake baking
You kind of have to eye ball everything and use up all the batter between the two cakes.  The bottom layer is the thickest and the higher up scoops will have less.  Try to make the layers even so that all the colors will be seen.  Cook the cakes according to regular box directions.

After they are cooled, turn them out on a rack to keep cooling so they don't stick to the pan.

To layer:  Place the first 9x13 cake down.  Spread a layer of jam or jelly between the layers to help stick them together (you can also use frosting between the layers).  My cake was very moist and started to crack in places.  The frosting helped hold it together.

Almost day-glo cake colors.  Where's my sunglasses?
It was almost a pity to cover this baby up with frosting, but that was going to be the big surprise for the birthday guests.  I ended up making blue frosting for "sky" and white frosting puffs for clouds.  A few tubes of gel frosting to make a rainbow for the top of the cake helped pull it together.

Rainbows and ponies, living together... mass hysteria!
Since we were sharing the party theme, a few small ponies made it on top of the cake as well.  After the big happy birthday song (we sang twice, once for the 5 year old, once for the two year old) it was time to cut the cake!

My youngest looks so little here!

Cutting the cake:  You can see now why we reversed the two layers.  The batter spreads out and the bottom color becomes very thin, and the top scoops stay wide.  By reversing the order of the two pans you get more colors showing

You should have heard the gasp when the kids saw this
So what should you serve rainbow cake with?  How about rainbow sherbert?  Perfect.

This turned out so beautiful!

I just loved how the colors turned out so vivid and the layers of both cakes worked together so you could see all the colors of the rainbow.

By the way, this works for any color combination.  Do pastel colors for Easter, shades of pink for Valentine's day, red white and blue for the 4th of July, black and orange for Halloween, even black and white for a zebra effect.  You can also do the same technique on a smaller scale for cupcakes.  I will post more of my colorful rainbow ideas we used throughout our rainbow party theme soon. Cute fruit trays, rainbow games, snacks, and crafts.  Stay tuned.

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