Guest blog: Ce Ce's Rainbow Cake

The rainbow cake has taken the baking world by storm and my fantabulous friend Miss C.K makes the best with a little cheat trick, she jumped at the chance of writing for SW Foodie and I cannot thank her enough, it's brilliant:

Ce Ce’s Rainbow Cake

Our resident blogger recently asked her nearest and dearest whether anyone would be interested in writing a guest blog.  As a frustrated creative writer, I was well up for this.  Thinking it over, I thought my recent rainbow cake for Z’s birthday lunch would have been the perfect subject matter, but lamented the fact that, as it had been made from cake mix, it would feel like a bit of a cheat. S.W. Foodie completely disagreed! And so, here it is. 

For those of you that avoid processed food like the plague and/or have longer than 3-4 hours on your hands (that you don’t want to spend watching Breaking Bad or Celebrity Big Brother), any classic Victoria sponge and butter cream icing recipes will do.

To make one rainbow cake you will need:

3 boxes of Betty Crocker’s Classic Vanilla Cake
2-3 pots of Betty Crocker’s Vanilla Butter Cream Icing
Posh food colouring in your choice of colours
9 eggs
Vegetable oil
2 large bowls
2 sandwich tins (around 20cm in diameter)

The mix and frosting: Betty Crocker

My mum discovered Betty Crocker back in the 90s. She was on the Board of Governors of the local Catholic primary school, which my brother and I attended. Her main role was to organise regular cake sales.  I think the official purpose of these was to raise money for charity.  For my mum, it was the perfect opportunity to show off; she is very good at baking cakes and very, very competitive. 

For years, Mum ruled over the cake sales unchallenged.  That is, until an American Mother arrived.  The American Mother started producing the most AMAZING cupcakes.  Remember (if you even can bear to do so) that this was a time before cupcakes had taken over the world.  Before The Hummingbird Bakery, even!  The American Mother’s cupcakes were all anyone ever talked about.  My mum was on the warpath.  To cut a long story (and an increasingly long guest blog) short, Mum found out that AM was using Betty Crocker’s Devil’s Food Cake Mix to make the amazing cupcakes.  Part-vindicated, part-intrigued, Betty Crocker was tried and tested in our kitchen and passed with flying colours.  For chocolate cakes at least, we’ve never looked back.
When I decided to make a rainbow cake, I knew it was going to take ages and ages.  And, I mean, I just don’t have that sort of time.  I’m training for a half marathon, I work for a US law firm, and we’re only on Season 2 of Breaking Bad.  So, inspired by a rainbow cake recipe on the Betty Crocker website, I decided to cut corners and use Betty Crocker’s Classic Vanilla Cake Mix and Vanilla Butter Cream Icing.  Yup, I cheated.  Go on, try it.  I dare you. 

The food colouring: Wilson’s

The BBC Good Food website has a rainbow cake recipe and of the 85 comments, a lot state that proper food colouring is key to a good rainbow cake.  Apparently, if you use cheap stuff, you have to use tonnes to get a decent depth of colour, which means the whole cake ends up tasting of horrible artificial colouring.  I therefore invested in a food colouring set by Wilson’s, which I bought from Amazon.  They are brill and you only need to use a tiny bit – so add cautiously, a little at a time.

The recipe

Here we go.  Deep breath. 

  • Make your cake mix according to the instructions on the packet, i.e. add eggs, water and oil and mix for 2 minutes.  I used an electric whisk, being a lazy cheat and all.
  • Divide your cake mix between 2 bowls – it weighs approximately 800g so 400g per bowl.  Add posh food colouring.  Stir.  Pour your mixtures into lightly greased sandwich tins (mine are from John Lewis and are 20cm in diameter).  Bake at 180 degrees for about 22 minutes depending on your oven.  I switch my cakes around halfway through as our oven is so blooming tiny.

  • Repeat stages 1 and 2 three further times.  Using different food colouring each time, obviously.  Restricted by the colours in my Wilson’s box, I used a bit of poetic licence for my rainbow, which goes like this (from top to bottom): red, orangey yellow, green, blue, purple and pink.
  • Once your cakes are cool, make sure the tops are as flat as possible by trimming off any uneven bits.  Don’t go too crazy with this because icing covers a multitude of sins.  And life is too short.

  • I sandwich my cakes with one layer of jam (on the top of the cake that’s already on the plate) and one layer of butter cream icing (on the underside of the cake you’re about to place on top of the cake that’s already on the cake).  If you catch my drift?  The jam does make the cake look less perfect, rainbow-wise.  However, without it, I think that the vanilla cake mix and vanilla icing would be too cloying – and this is a cake to be both admired and eaten!  If you’re not using a sweet, vanilla-y, American cake mix, you may decide to do without the jam.  Or you could make the cake more exciting with lemon or orange zest and juice.
  • Cover the whole lot with butter cream icing and make little peaks with a fork.  This will ensure that the coloured cake underneath doesn’t peek out, and it looks quite pretty
  • Cut, enjoy, and accept compliments with a good grace. 

I made another version of this for Mr and Mrs C’s wedding last weekend.  Mrs C (née Miss C) asked me to make it after seeing pictures of Z’s cake on Facebook.  Before you get too excited (like my competitive mum did), it wasn’t THE wedding cake.  Instead, it featured on a table of cheeses and cakes brought out towards the end of the wedding.  If you want to make a celebratory cake with kerb appeal, I certainly recommend it.

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1 comment:

  1. The rainbow cake looks amazing. I have also seen it in a television show and tried to make it myself but it didn't turned out to be well. But with the exact recipe, thanks to you, I think I will make it this time.

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