Sugarbird's Sweet Nothings

I am passionate about food. And cooking. And baking. And running. Come and find a new recipe, a funny story, some strong opinions and whatever else I feel like throwing in the mix today.
Published on August 15th, 2011
by Clarabella

Big and Bright Rainbow Cake

Wow, I can;t believe I have neglected my blog for so long. I don’t know where the time has gone in the last week. Well, I do know actually. Its gone on starting my new part time job – baking and cake decorating at The Cake Gallery in Bowden. What a gorgeous place and the people there are just lovely. Can’t wait to get more stuck in this week 🙂 Time has also been spent on my first wedding cake order, hurrah! I am SO excited to have the opportunity to make a wedding cake for a lovely couple who are getting married in 6 weeks. It will be a square, 3-tier cake. Separated by pillars so its super tall, and decorated with garret frills and yellow roses. I can’t wait to get going on that one. I have also been planning the design for the golden wedding anniversary cake which I am doing in 2 weeks time. I think I have settled on the design now, so just need to go and get a baking tin and I will begin next week.

So things are going well. The only slightly sore point is that I haven’t received any orders from my website yet. I have done a lot more content writing this past weekend to make Google like it more, and I guess that takes time before it shows, but I am wondering if people just don’t find it, or if there is something about the site that puts them off. If you are reading this and are at all curious, take a mosey on to my site and let me know what you think. Any feedback will be welcome! Thank you.

So, back on topic. I have been bloggingly absent, I know. I’m sorry. But i”m back and what a cake I have for you today. Its a visually striking, bright, happy, sunny Rainbow Cake. I came across this beauty on Whisk Kid and wow, what a cake. How could I not be enraptured by those colours? They seduced me completely. They had to be mine. So I had to make this cake. And at the same time I was thinking about ideas for children’s birthday cakes for my website. What a great birthday cake this would be. And how about colouring up the plain white fondant icing with edible markers, so the birthday boy or girl could decorate their own birthday cake? Its a plan! So I made the cake, and got in touch with my inner 4 year old and decorated it with markers.

The cake batter is a simple one, and then you get to the colouring. I was slightly concerned about how little batter was actually in each bowl, and subsequently in each cake tin, but I put the panic aside and just went with it. Out came my box of coloring gels and I had colours for all but the purple. But being of reasonable intelligence I do know that red and blue make purple, so that was easily remedied.

When baked the colours do not fade at all. If anything they intensify. Become Brighter. Wow, they are gorgeous. They were rater thin but once you stack them up with layers of Swiss Meringue Buttercream, or any buttercream of your choice, the cake is plenty high, so fear not. Now I know that Swiss Meringue Buttercream is supposed to be sophisticated, and the choice of the proper pastry chef with a refined palate. Maybe my palate is not refined enough, or maybe I did something wrong, but after making this cake and filling and covering it with SMB, I was not convinced about it. The cake was gorgeous and sweet and rich, but the SMB was just so… butterey. Which is what you get when its 75% pure butter. I might try this next time with my favourite buttercream and see how it compares. I know cake is full of butter, but to be able to taste it so much, I’m not a huge fan.

Once the layers are all baked I chilled them overnight in the fridge. They were so delicate that the chilling just makes them firmer and easier to work with without fear of breaking a layer when you pick it up to stack it. You cold also freeze them, but I wanted mine a tiny bit pliable so that I could manipulate their shape a little as I stacked. Once the cake is stacked and crumb-coated with buttercream, chill it for a couple of hours. This just firms up the buttercream and the cake, making it more resilient when you come to cover it with fondant (sugarpaste).

In my recent course I learned about fondant, which was very interesting as I had seen it used on TV a lot, but I had never worked with it much myself. Now, thanks to the wisdom of the Slattery cake decorators, I know how to work it, roll it, cover with it and model with it. All these skills take practice though so I do not claim to be an expert at all, but I have foundation knowledge, and thats a good start. Fondant needs to be worked to be made pliable and smooth before you cover a cake with it. Otherwise it will crack and not conform to the sides of the cake while you are covering it. It starts of crumbly and after 5 minutes of energetic kneading its velvety and smooth. To test whether the fondant is ready to roll, pull your finger across the surface. If the fondant cracks or breaks, its not ready yet. If your finger leaves a smooth groove then its ready to go.

I did end up covering this cake with 2 layers of fondant as I rolled the first one too thin (rolling out is not my strong point – need practice) and the second layer really helped firm up the surface. I left the cake to dry for a few days before decorating it as the surface needs to be firm and hard so that you don’t end up just sticking the marker into the cake when you are drawing, especially if the artist is a young one. The decorated cake was pretty, but that was nothing compared to cutting into it. The brightness of the layers was spectacular, and even though I knew what the cake contained, I was still surprised and delighted by the look of it. So much fun to make and SO gorgeous. And soon to appear on my website 🙂


Rainbow Birthday Cake

From Whisk Kid

What you will need for the cake:
226g butter, room temp
466g sugar
5 egg whites, room temp
2 teaspoons vanilla
375g flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 1/2 c milk, warmed for 30 sec in microwave to bring to room temp
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple GEL food coloring. Liquid will not be vibrant enough!

What to do for the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Oil and line how ever many 9” cake pans you have (I have three and I just reused them).

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Cream the sugar and butter, then add the egg whites and add them a little at a time. Add the vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Then, alternating between wet and dry, add the milk and flour mixture in two parts.

Divide the batter amongst 6 bowls (I did it by weight. Weigh your mixing bowl before you begin adding ingredients and then subtract the weight of the bowl from the final measurement after the batter is completed. Divide that number by six and add that weight of batter to each bowl), and then whisk a fair amount of the appropriate food color into each bowl. Keep in mind that the color of the unbaked batter will be the color of the baked batter. Pour into the pans and bake for 15 minutes each.

When you remove them from the oven, let them rest on the cooling rack, in the pan, for ten minutes. Then flip, cover, and stash them in the fridge to cool quickly.

Lemony Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Please click here for a step-by-step guide to making Swiss Meringue Buttercream and troubleshooting tips from the Fabulous Whisk Kid!

To fill and crumb coat:
9 egg whites
350g sugar
532g of butter, room temp
2 tsp lemon extract

To frost:
5 egg whites
200g sugar
226g butter, room temp
1 tsp lemon extract

Cook the egg whites and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved (test by rubbing some between your fingers. If it’s completely smooth, it’s done). Pour into another bowl (a stand mixer is preferable) and whip on high speed until room temp. Then, on a medium-slow speed, add the butter, waiting until each piece is completely incorporated before adding the next. After all the butter has been added, turn the mixer back to high speed and whip until it has come together, about five minutes. Add the extract, beat briefly and then use.

If the buttercream seems soupy after all of the butter is added and does not come together after whipping, refrigerate for 5 to 7 minutes and continue whipping until it becomes fluffy and workable.

Stack the layers in your preferred order and fill and frost as you would any other cake.

Once frosted, the cake can be left on the counter without any problems, but feel free to refrigerate it. Just be sure that the cake is at room temperature when serving or the frosting will be hard, not smooth.



2 Responses to “Big and Bright Rainbow Cake”
  1. Thanks for posting this – made this cake yesterday for my boy’s birthday party today, but filled with a white choc buttercream instead, it was yummy and had a real wow factor! Photo here: