Whenever there is a public holiday, we would plan things way ahead of time. A short trip to the beach, long leisurely brunches, late night movies in bed eating crackers ( all the bad habits!) and time to catch up with friends. I am generally much delayed in keeping up with trends, so to make amends with myself I finally took the challenge of baking a layered rainbow cake. Err mainly for the daughter, no not the blog, bah..though we all know that the gum paste cherry blossoms are more for my pet baking fun!
With the Chinese New Year celebrations this week, I was inspired to make something oriental. Technically it is Japanese, but I’ve been seeing cherry blossoms everywhere! We called in Rekha and her lovely girl for playdate, hence the cake was baked the day before as my playdate session with the little one. She was all excited and demanded a ‘pink cake’, so the cream cheese frosting was tinted with slight pink hue. I was very impressed with how tentative she was in colouring the batter into 6 colours- her choice of rainbow colours.
Before you give me a disapproving look on how colours are not good for kids’ diet, in my ( or kiddo’s ) defence we used Wilton gel colouring which required a teeny weeny amount for desired deep colouring, and this should really be reserved for a special occassion. Kids playdates are considered ‘special occassions’ by the way, and any excuse to have a tea party outdoor is always welcomed in our house
Now let’s delve straight on to the baking tips. To get even layers, I took an extra step of weighing the total cake batter and divide them into x number of colours I wanted, in this case 6 layers, though I do know rainbow consists of 7 layers ! Call me lazy people. As I only have 2 sandiwch tins of 7 inch size, this is deliberate so 2 colours are baked at a go, 20 mins each which means 1 hour total baking time. So my batter was about 1350g, which was then divided into roughly 225g for each colour. Oh, do not worry about waiting for the remaining 4 tins to bake, the batter is pretty stable so I didn’t have any problem baking them in 3 batches, they sat happily on the kitchen counter waiting for their turns
Tip No 2. You want even height for layered cake, so we don’t welcome any domes. Of couse you can shave off the dome later with cake leveller but why bother when you can get even cake by just using Wilton Bake Even strip. I am not being paid for promoting this stuff, but it really works wonders and its one of my must-haves now. All you need to do is wet the strip and wrap it around the tin.There is science behind this, it is supposed to even out the heat distribution, otherwise the middle of the cake gets cooked faster hence creating the dome effect. If you do not have the strips, you can also use wet towel and just wrap around the tins ( thanks Rekha for the alternative tip!)
Tip no 3. Try to prepare the cream cheese frosting whilst the cake is being baked. This way the frosting is ready by the time the layers are baked and cooled. I also use a revolving cake turntable when frosting the sides.
The gumpaste flowers were done just for fun, I used ready made Wilton gumpaste powder mix, all you need to do is mix with some water and knead until soft pliable dough is formed. The work surface is then dusted with icing sugar and I used small flower punchers for the shapes.
It was really a fun project and since the cake was not too sweet, it paired beautifully with the cream cheese frosting, which again was reduced in sweetness. We enjoyed this as my daughter’s nth birthday cake ( seriously, how many ‘birthday’ cakes she gets a year!) and the kids all high on sugar went on to play,play and play, leaving the mothers to enjoy more slices of the cake
I recommend you to make the cake the day before serving, as it does take a bit of prep time, but the results is really wonderful. It is one of those cakes that you need to bake at least once in a lifetime, just to bring out the child in you.
Here wishing all my Chinese readers and friends, a very Prosperous New Year!