I’m sure plenty of you have seen the rainbow cake before. I mean, the Super EPIC Rainbow Cake from Whisk Kid. I decided to make it for Emma’s second birthday this year. Of course, right now I’m not allowed to have dairy (because of Charlie’s milk allergy), so I didn’t get the chance to use her recipe, but I loved the concept of the cake. I wasn’t sure how it would work replacing the butter in the cake with Crisco (and this wasn’t the time to experiment), so I used boxed cake mix (Meijer brand white cake mix was the only kind I could find that didn’t contain dairy). It made a smaller total amount of batter, so my layers were a bit thinner and the cake didn’t stand as high. For the frosting I used a Crisco/powdered sugar recipe. Now, this cake calls for a LOT of frosting, so I was REALLY sad that I had to use some crappy alternative rather than the delicious Swiss Meringue Buttercream. But I’ve made a promise to myself, I WILL make this cake again, and it WILL have the proper ingredients. Sometime.
Now, I don’t suggest using a Crisco based frosting. Ever. For anything. It’s just plain gross. It doesn’t frost well. Crisco doesn’t melt in your mouth. It doesn’t even melt in super hot dish water (is that good for my drain?) I ended up scraping a lot of the frosting off in an attempt to not make myself sick, lol. So to the people who consumed this cake, I’m sorry for your future artery troubles. At least I learned from this project, never use a Crisco based frosting. It doesn’t frost well, and it tastes like poo. Next time I will use butter, even if I have to cut a slice of cake, stick it in the freezer, and wait to eat it until Charlie is weaned.
Oh, and did I mention that the SUPER awesome Whisk kid (Kaitlin) is only TWENTY years old? And she’s already been on the Martha Stewart Show! I’m not a huge fan of Martha, but she IS legendary. Also, Kaitlin happens to go to college at MSU, which is only an hour from where I live. It’s such a small world! Kaitlin, if you’re reading this, your blog ROCKS!
So on to the cake!
Since I didn’t use the same recipe as Whisk kid, I suggest heading over there to get her recipe. It looks like a kick-ass recipe (and that frosting is to DIE for, I promise). But I’ll post the general instructions here (and tips that I learned from my experience).
Start by making your batter. If you have a scale, you can figure up the weight of the batter and divide by 6 to figure out how much batter to put in each bowl.
If you don’t have a scale, just eyeball it (mine turned out pretty okay that way). Divide the batter between the 6 bowls. Color each bowl of batter: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Whatever color the batter is, that’s the color it will turn out once it’s baked.
Dirty dishes have never looked so pretty!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
I HIGHLY suggest layering parchment or wax paper on the bottom of your cake pan. To do this, sit your cake pan on parchment paper and trace it with a sharp knife. This will score the paper and make it easy to tear out. Lay the paper into the bottom of your pan and then grease the pan or spray it with pan spray (I used spray, turned out great). Now, if you have 6 cake pans, that’s great. But most people don’t. So you need to bake them in batches. I only own 2 8 inch cake pans, so I baked 3 batches. By lining your pans with the parchment paper, you’re saving yourself a lot of washing! The bottom of the pan stays mostly clean and you just have to pop another layer of parchment paper in before putting more batter in to bake another round.
My assistant, Charlie; he loves helping mama bake!
Pour your batter into the pans and bake it for 15 minutes. When the cake it done, flip it out of the pan. In order to get the cake to not fall apart, I suggest taking a layer of wax paper and laying it on the cake (while it’s still in the pan). Place your hand on the paper, and flip the cake upside down. It should come out easily, and the paper will help it to not fall apart. Having the paper will also keep the layers from sticking to each other when you stack them (that is, if you’re storing them for a while like I did, I waited until the next day to frost them). I did this step while the cakes were still hot, and they stayed in one piece. Lay them out on a sheet pan and let them cool (I threw mine in the fridge so they were chilled through before I stacked them).
Once you have your cake layers baked, it’s time to start stacking! Start with purple on the bottom. Don’t forget to peel the circle of wax paper off each later; no one wants to cut into that! (and surprisingly, it happened often enough at school in my bakeshop class). In order to keep each layer of cake intact, don’t try to peel the cake from the wax paper, peel the paper from the cake. Don’t ask me WHY I was trying to peel my cake from the paper, but after a few seconds of trying, I realized I just needed to flip it onto the cake stack and then peel the paper off. It worked much better this way (I blame the sleep deprivation). Smother each layer with a good amount of frosting before stacking the next layer. If you want it to look really clean and perfect, use a lot of frosting. My frosting was about as thick as my cake layers (although my layers were a little thinner than the recipe called for, remember that).
Once you have your cake stacked, do a crumb coat. A crumb coat is basically just a thin layer of frosting on the cake to seal in the crumbs. If you’ve ever tried frosting a cake without a crumb coat, you probably know why it’s recommended. Put the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes to set. You want the crumb coat to hold in place when you do the final frosting.
Now, how you frost this cake is up to you. Whisk kid left hers plain white, which makes it look plain, but that’s TOTALLY cool, since the inside is so awesome; it just adds to the effect. Since this is for my daughter’s birthday, I wanted something fun and colorful. I thought about just caking (hehe, cake) on sprinkles to the sides and the top, but I was thinking it might be a little too crunchy, not to mention I REALLY wanted to do something new. I didn’t want to just throw sprinkles at it and call it good. That’s not why I went to school to learn how to make cakes! So I went with plan B. I got my inspiration from this cake here. (p.s. I also really want to make a cake like this, I was thinking maybe purple ruffles though? I LOVE the fade effect. Anyone need a tiered caked?) The ruffle is actually very easy to do. I used a size 103 rose tip to make mine. I flubbed a little at the beginning, if you look closely you can tell that I used the fat end as the edge for the red layers, but the thin end for the rest. It looks much more crisp with the thin end for the edge. I highly suggest fooling around with this on some parchment paper. I actually took one of my cake pans, covered it with parchment paper (or saran wrap works, too), and doing the entire top in white. I just wanted to see how many circles I would need to fill the entire top. Once I was done, I just scraped my frosting off and colored it to use on the cake (which I might add again, Crisco based frosting SUCKS! I had to wash my bags between each color because I don’t have disposable bags. It took forever.) So anyway, this ended up working out perfectly so I could have 2 rows of each color. I was a little nervous to try something so bold, something that I’ve never tried before, but I think it turned out AWESOME! Here’s the final product.
My chef would totally be cringing at the frosting job I did for the sides. Like I said, Crisco based frosting SUCKS. I gave up on that quickly.
The birthday girl, blowing out her candles