Wednesday, August 4, 2010

adventures in baking - the rainbow cake

So last week I tried a baking experiment.  I found the instructions for this on the internet and have been dying to try it.  Introducing (fanfare please!) the rainbow cake!
This gorgeous six layer cake, in addition to being a beast to make, has one major failing:  it does not taste as good as it looks. 

It is a relatively easy process.  
1)  Mix up two white cake mixes and divide into six bowls.
2)  Using the special icing gel colors (from Michaels) color the cake batter the six colors of the rainbow. 
3)  Pour into six round cake pans (or in my case two square 3x- who owns 6 pans the same size??) and bake about 14 minutes.
4)  Cool cakes then put together with white icing starting with purple at the bottom.
5)  Cover entire cake in white icing.  (I skipped this part as I had already used two jars of icing and did not want to invest a third.)

Sounds simple, right?  Problem #1 started when I tried to get the first two baked cakes out of the pans.  White cake uses egg whites only and the cake is a different, much more crumbly texture than I am used to.  The top half of the cake came out but the bottom didn't.  I scraped them out and reassembled the cake as well as I could to let it finish cooling.
Problem #2 manifested itself as I tried assembling the cake with my six noneven layers.  When I make a two layer cake I typically cut the bottom layer to make it flat then add the icing and the second layer.  Since I couldn't do that with the already crumbling layers I ended up with a much taller and precariously layered cake than I had planned on.
Problem #3 once the cake was assembled the kids were dying to try it.  I cut us each a piece and although it looked absolutely stunning (perfect birthday cake if I had a girl!) it tasted like, well, not so good.  White cake is kind of blah tasting anyway but combined with the mass amounts of frosting it just wasn't great.  My boys LOVED it.  Sam told me it was the best cake EVER!  But John and I didn't finish our first pieces.

I am going to try it again.  I have some great ideas on how to make it better.  I think if I use a yellow or lemon cake mix for the three layers that use a yellow base (yellow, orange, and green) that would help with the texture and the taste.  I am also wondering if there is a yellow cake mix that is not so yellow in color so that I could use it for the other colored layers as well. 
It is an awesome looking cake.  If you make one, feel free to experiment as the original has obvious flaws.  Please tell me how it turns out.  Oh, and invest in at least three cake pans of the same size.  Trust me on this one.


International Tease said...

If you look on epicurious, Amy Sedaris's vanilla cupcakes are awesome and may make a pretty decent base--I feel like they're fairly moist and not too crumbly. Be warned that you will want to eat all of the cake batter. All of it.

It seems like maybe using one cake recipe rather than double could produce a less precarious cake...

Heather said...

We do something similar, we color it and then swirl it together in one pan using about 3-6 colors. This is pretty and cool though.