Saturday, June 13, 2009

Rainbow Cake

Over the past few weeks, the food blogsphere has been buzzing about rainbow cakes. All because of this post. To tell you the truth, I hadn't heard of them until someone linked that blog entry on the LOK Household forum. The idea of a color cake certainly piqued my interest. With a combined birthday coming up in July, I thought I might give it a try. My problem was that the author (as well as many variations I found around the web) only showed how to do a round cake. With a big family, most cakes I make are sheet cakes. In fact, we eat cake rather often around here since a box of mix is pretty cheap and a sheet cake can feed my crew nicely for dessert (we usually skip frosting and just use powdered sugar or fruit for topping). So, my plan to make a rainbow cake this weekend turned into a bit of an adventure as I decided to see if I could get as good results with a rectangle baking pan. Since this is feeding a crew, I doubled the recipe. The post above noted a diet version of the cake. I decided to make the traditional version.

Here's the ingredients. I would normally use a generic cake mix, but Duncan Hines was on sale. Assuming you have food coloring on hand, the cost of this cake (including the eggs and oil for the cake) is about $5. Mine easily fed my family of 11 with leftovers. I actually wanted to try the neon food coloring, which added another $4 to the cost.

Make the cake mix as noted on the box. Separate the batter into small bowls. Add 10-15 drops of food coloring, depending on how deep you want your color. I wanted this to be a family food project, so I had the kids mix the colors. They had a blast. Note that I used both the neon food coloring and some regular food colors I had on hand.

I decided to do a wide variety of colors. The neon food coloring made things interesting! I have to laugh. In the original blog post about rainbow cakes, the author had such nice pictures of her colored batter in glass bowls. Nothing like that in these parts. We used Gerber snack bowls and Zoopal spoons!

I wasn't really sure how to arrange the batter, so I just winged it.

Here's the finished first layer.

I then just poured the remaining batter in various spots over the top of the first layer. When you do this, don't worry about the batter mixing. As long as you simply pour the batter on top (or next to) another color, it will be fine. The completed "pour":

My cake was doubled, so it took about 45 minutes to cook. Just cook according to the box directions and be sure to check it periodically. It's done when a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool thoroughly. Even though the picture is not the greatest, you can see the colors came out quite nice. I said the cake looked like a jigsaw puzzle. Jim said it looked like a map.

Here's a side view of a few of the cut pieces. I was very pleased. Doing a sheet cake worked out perfectly. As you can see, the neon food coloring definitely made some bold colors.

Because this was a test cake, I purposely did not frost it right away. I did go with the same type of frosting as the original blogger. I used lemon pudding, only adding half the milk (1 cup) so that it was very custard-like. I then folded in 2/3 of the container of whipped topping. I then frosted each piece before serving. Here's a bit blurry picture of the finished product.

The experiment was a success. The cake looked great and tasted great too. I have 2 kids' birthdays on July 4th (yes, can you believe that--2 of my kids born on Independence Day). I originally thought that doing a rainbow cake would be cool, but this technique would also make a great red-white-and-blue cake.

Whatever I decide to do for the birthday, the most important thing is that the kids had a blast making the cake...and even more fun eating it.

You can find the full recipe (including printable version) HERE.


MotherToMany said...

Cool! I'm gonna link this to my blog now, LOL!

Denise said...

That looks so cool!!! The kids & I will definitely have to try that soon.

Christina said...

That is WAY cool! What a great idea.

sillygeese said...

My kids wanted to make this immediatly, but at 10 in the morning I am not up to it, however we will make this after I find my box of cake mix and food coloring. We also have a birthday coming up at the end of this month!

Blessed*with*Seven said...

Going to have to make kids are going to love helping with this one. Thanks for posting this. Very helpful :)