Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

This year my littlest turned 5 and had her first proper birthday party. She's been planning it since late last year. Settling on a theme took a bit of time. She started with princess dress-up, but in the end went with rainbow (good for boys and girls).

I may have helped her along in her decision by offering to make her the rainbow cake for her birthday. You know the one, 7 layers of cake, each one a colour of the rainbow? Yeah, that one:)

So the day before her party we (OK I) spent all day making and baking 7 cakes. Below is the butter cake recipe I used, but really you could use any butter/vanilla/white cake recipe or even packet cake mix as really, this cake is about the colour.

While the cake had drama, it wasn't that hard to make. What it mostly took was time. My middle has already requested one for her birthday next year:)

Now my oldest was more taken with the cupcakes. The cupcakes, you ask? Yes, I also made cupcakes:) These didn't have a rainbow inside, but on the outside. I used my favourite chocolate cake recipe (see below) and then decorated them with butter cream icing and "sour strips." Again, very easy to make.

I have to admit most of the children at the party picked the cupcake....until they saw the inside of the cake:) Cyndy

Rainbow Cake Recipe
250g butter, softened
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup caster sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease, flour and line with baking paper your pans. I used 30 cm (base) round pans, which made each layer about 2 cm.

Beat butter, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy with a mixer. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in flour and milk alternately until combined.

This recipe made enough for four layers (but, I could only bake two cakes at a time). Divide batter between 4 bowls. Tint each portion a different colour in the rainbow (we did red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and purple). Spread 1 portion into 1 prepared cake pan. Repeat with remaining portion. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating halfway during cooking, or until cooked through.
Remove from oven when done, let cakes cool and turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. Wash and dry cake pans. Grease and line with baking paper. Repeat with remaining batter.

Once cakes are cool, place purple layer on bottom. Frost top with icing of choice (I was so tired at that point I will admit I used Betty Crocker icing:) Repeat placing layers in rainbow order. Once you have built your rainbow tower, ice the entire cake and sprinkle hundreds and thousands on the top.

Rainbow Cupcake Recipe
2 1/2 cups plain four
1 1/4 cups Dutch process cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large whole eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups warm water

Preheat oven to 180°C. Place rainbow coloured cup cake liners in muffin pan (this will make 24 cupcakes).

Sift flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add eggs and yolk, milk, oil, vanilla and warm water. Beat on low speed until smooth and combined. The batter will seem runny, but don't worry, these are the best chocolate cupcakes ever:)

Pour batter into cupcake liners. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes.

Make butter cream icing. Tint one portion light blue and leave another portion white. Once cool, frost each cupcake with the blue icing. Then use sour strips (or similar flexible coloured candy) as rainbows, bending and pushing first one end and then the other into the frosting. Pipe "clouds" around each end to help anchor it on the cupcake.
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