One week ago, I came home after a tiring day at work only to be greeted with "I want a rainbow cake!". Not to get excited with myself, i asked my beloved sister "Where should i order?"
It was always like that between me and my sister. We are so different that we meet each other at the other end of the circle. Preparing to fail, I decided not to tell her about baking this cake and booked another cake from a local bakery. The process was worthy of comment, rushing to bake and cool 6 layers of cakes, rushing to take pictures of the process and rushing to clean up any visible detail of colorful mess.
We successfully hid it for one day only to be found out the next day, during the icing process. I could see it in her eyes, maybe for a millisecond, she was shocked, a little pleasantly surprised (if I'm up for it) and that was all I needed. I was content. Until i horribly failed my icing, 3 times, that is (details will be hidden very well down the sink).
She's 23 this year. She wears clothes i would never wear. She is able to sing the way i never will. And this cake, this cake was right for her because of all 6 colors, the yellow turned out the best. Not by chance or luck, its like a gift for her special day. (Even I had to admit the yellow looks gooooood)
You must think, this looks difficult. Indeed, it shortened my life span by 1 year. However, it would be different if i weren't pressured by the first-time-challenge-for-an-important-event thing yet AGAIN. Nevertheless, I'm tempted to say, "For a cake that looks this happy, the effort we put in is nowhere near comparable". Lastly, if i can do it, everyone else can.
Rainbow cake (adapted from Sweetapolita)
2 sticks (226 g) butter, room temp
2 1/3 c (466 g) sugar
5 egg whites, room temp
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 c (375 g) all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 1/2 c (355 g) 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!
1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Oil and line how ever many 9” cake pans you have (i had 2, but could only bake 1 at a time, yes, sadly.)
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. 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. (start with dry and end with dry)
4. Divide the batter amongst 6 bowls (I did it by weight), and then whisk a fair amount of the appropriate food color into each bowl. Don't be afraid!
5. Pour into the pans and bake for 15 minutes each. (add 5 minutes by judgment)
6. 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.
I would like to skip the cream, because obviously mine has went wrong too many times. I ended up using other recipes because i wanted a non-sweet cream that does not have a whipped cream texture. Nevertheless, this is what Sweetapolita's recipe called for, mine just failed terribly.
Lemony Swiss Meringue Buttercream
To fill and crumb coat:
9 egg whites
1 ¾ c (350 g) sugar
4 sticks (454 g) of butter, room temp
2 tsp lemon extract
5 egg whites
1 c (200 g) sugar
2 sticks (227 g) butter, room temp
1 tsp lemon extract
1. 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).
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
Be careful of over mixing. --my own note.
Stack the layers in your preferred order and fill and frost as you would any other cake.
1. Had so much trouble mixing THAT right color whilst trembling in fear of overmixing.
2. The color of the batter is the color of the cake (False).
3. Liquid coloring doesn't work well (not true).
4. Food Coloring has a bitter taste (Those ancient ones).
5. The Green layer broke a little. I realised the later batches needed more baking time, probably due to being left unbaked longer. No fear, just add 5 more minutes, no hassle. (What happened after? I literally pieced them back together and wrap and freeze - it healed)
6. I stacked the layers, each with wax paper in between and cling wrap a thousand times (4 actually), then leave it in the freezer overnight. They got stuck, and it took 5 hands to pull them apart.
7. Trimming the layers was so much fun that someone had to pull me away.
8. I suck at frosting. Too sweet, way too sweet.
9. I suck at frosting. Too wet, runny, and lumpy!
10. I suck at frosting. Do not, do not! Do not add flour! Those yahoo answers are not always reliable.
11. Depression of feeling incompetent. 3 frosting recipes and 3 failures! Those recipes make it sound easy. Add this, mix that, voila! My version: add this, mix that, mix again, rubs chin, mix again, ..., cry, sleep