Tuesday, 29 January 2013
We completed 7 years of marital bliss (if you can call it that anymore) last Saturday. I was, as usual, in a foul mood and then the husband surprises me with a gift, making me feel bad for not getting him anything in return. So to show my gratitude, I baked him a 7 layer rainbow cake to celebrate 7 colourful years of our lives. Actually I'm bull shitting, I baked the cake because I had to submit it to a magazine, and I just timed it right :)
However, it was a good idea since Ro had no clue what was underneath the white exterior. I'd made the cake and frosted it all on Friday (more so because sat was supposedly a sunny day and I could take pics) but no I dint tell Ro that and made him believe it was an anniv cake. All the while he kept asking me if it was a 3 layer cake and how we were gonna cut it and I went with the flow. Came 26th and I cut into it (after saying a prayer because you have no clue what its gonna look like) and voila...a beautiful 7 layer cake with all the colours of the rainbow (well, almost). Showed it to Ro and the first thing that came out of his mouth was something I cant mention here, but if you are on my friends list on FB, some of you'd know what I'm talking about :) :) I have cousins and friends who cant keep their mouths shut!!!!
Anyhoo, the cake tasted fab and although it was all pretty and such, I shall not be doing something like this again (well, unless I'm being paid to do it). I did it all in a day and it was a bit too much. If I'd split it over 2 or even 3 days, it would have made matters easier but of course I suck at planning and organizing, which is why I had to hurry and do this all one day before the big day. I also got disposable aluminium foil flan containers which made it sooo much more easier since I could do all the 7 cakes at one go in my oven. But obviously, the photographer in me didn't agree, and so while the first 3 were in the oven I set about taking pics of the remaining 4. You really don't need disposable containers, I'm just lazy to clean and reuse cake pans, and hence chose this method.
Talking about the cake, you can pretty much adapt it to whichever cake you want (no not chocolate) and I stuck to a basic vanilla cake to not complicate matters. A lemon, coconut or orange flavoured one would work just fine. I did some major research before the expedition and all the recipes I came across had omitted the indigo shade and had only 6 layers. That meant, the cake batter measurement had to be reworked and recalculated to accommodate 7 layers. It was all too much work and so what I did was, took a normal vanilla cake recipe and made it into a 7 layer- 6 inch size cake. The trick to get even layers is to weigh the batter. I did some crazy calculations and decided my batter would be 215 odd grams per pan. I went wrong somewhere and ended up with more batter for the red layer (as you may have noticed). But by then, all you want to do is get the damn cakes baked and left aside to cool. So don't fret too much about the cake size..if you can manage to get an approximate weight into each, that's good enough.
I also wanted to keep the frosting fuss free and most importantly, butter free. I hate how much butter the butter cream and meringue frosting's take and my heart belongs to the cream frostings (not any better, I know!). So I stuck to a whipped cream frosting with some mascarpone thrown in and it was a great decision. I even got a lighter mascarpone version to justify the amount of stuff that went into the cake. Anyways, we loved the cake- its moist and does its job of being a vanilla flavoured cake beautifully. I would definitely be using this cake recipe in future experiments.
Without further rambling, here's the recipe for the gigantic rainbow cake
Moist vanilla cake (Recipe adapted from here- makes a 7 layer, 6 inch cake or 3 layer, 8 inch cake)
Granulated sugar- 2 cups
Eggs- 4 medium, at room temperature
Self-raising flour- 3 cups (*refer notes)
Whole milk- 1 cup
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
Gel colours- all the 7 colours (I used a brand called Sugar Flair)
Cream the butter till nice and fluffy, using the paddle attachment of your mixer or using a hand mixer.
Add sugar and continue to cream for about 4 minutes, till the mix is light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Throw in the flour, alternating between the milk, starting and ending with flour. Beat on low till the mix is well combined and no traces of flour is obvious.
Finally, add the vanilla extract and give one final mix
Get 7 bowls ready. Weigh the batter and transfer them into the bowls. (should be approximately of same weight)
Also preheat the oven to 175C.
Add the colours to the individual bowls. A little goes a long way when it comes to gel colours, so add bit by bit, mix and see if its the colour you are looking for. What you see is what you get as the final product.
Transfer the batter into cake pans (greased and lined if not using aluminium foil containers) and gently tap them on the counter a couple of times to pop the air bubbles.
If your oven cant take more than 2 at a time, that's perfectly fine. Just keep the other pans ready and you can bake them in batches.
Bake for about 15 to 17 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. The cake should slightly spring back when touched.
Transfer to a cooling rack and after about 10 minutes remove from container and leave aside to cool completely, after which you can wrap them in cling film and store in the refrigerator for a day or two till ready to frost.
Notes: *I didn't have self raising flour so I made my own by mixing 11/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt for every one cup of plain flour. So for the recipe, I sifted together 3 cups of plain flour with 3 3/4 tsps of baking powder and 3/4th tsp salt.
Butter flavouring was called for in the recipe. I have no clue what that is, so didn't use.
If the cakes have domed, slice off the dome using a serrated knife, only after they have cooled completely.
Mascarpone-whipped cream frosting
Double cream- 2 cups, chilled (whipping cream as it is known elsewhere)
Powdered sugar- 3 tbsp (increase or reduce as preferred. I kept it at 3 tbsp since the cake was sweet enough)
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
Using the paddle attachment of your free standing mixer (or hand mixer if that's what you have), beat the mascarpone cheese till smooth and fluffy, for about a minute.
Add the vanilla extract and sugar and continue mixing for another minute.
Change to the whisk attachment and start whipping, while gradually adding the double cream.
Keep whipping till you get stiff peaks and is of pipable consistency. Do this on high speed but keep a close watch as you don't want to over whip and cause the cream to separate.
Add more cream if you think its too loose.
You can also replace the mascarpone cheese with cream cheese and you'd get an even better frosting.
Place the first layer on a serving plate- the violet layer in this case- and spread about 3 to 4 tbsp of frosting over it, using an off-set spatula. I chose to keep the frosting thin because I didn't want too much white separating the colours.
Top with indigo layer and repeat the process till you reach orange.
Once you have spread the frosting on the orange layer, turn the red cake upside down (top facing down) and place it on top of the orange cake. That way you have a smooth top to finish off.
Do a crumb coat by covering the cake with a thin coat of frosting, just to seal in all the crumbs, then do a generous coat of frosting and smoothen it out as much as possible.
Refrigerate till ready to use, and about 15 to 20 minutes before serving bring it to room temperature.
Notes: As you can see I did a rubbish job of frosting it. By the time the crumb coat was over, I was beyond exhaustion. I just wanted to finish it and go sleep or something. So like I mentioned before spread the entire process over a couple of days and you wont have a cake frosted like that
The whipped cream frosting does not hold well when its warm. Its starts melting, so keep in the refrigerator till ready to use.
That also means, the cake holds good only for about 4 to 5 days max. Store in the refrigerator at any cost
The frosting also starts to crack, I think because of temperature variations. I panicked, but don't worry, just whip up some more double cream and fill the cracks.