Rainbow Cake

I’m a fan of “go big or go home” and I certainly went big for my first project. I’ve wanted to make a rainbow cake for quite a while and figured this would be the perfect time. I have a few days off and am I ever glad I waited until now. It took HOURS (but it was totally worth it).

I decided to use a recipe I’ve never used before: The Best White Cake Recipe {Ever} from Add a Pinch. I chose this recipe because it has great reviews and it makes three 9″ layers. Easy, right? Making the layers took up the most time. Instead of doubling the recipe, I made it twice. This worked out well because I don’t have a mixing bowl big enough to hold 6 layers worth of batter, and it made it easier to divide the batter evenly. It just takes a while.

I got a little nervous while mixing the first batch. It was thick and dense, more like cookie dough than cake batter. I was using a hand mixer that I’m not very familiar with (my stand mixer is broken) and I have a fear of overmixing.

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It became more cake batter-like after adding the eggs and milk. It was still on the thick side but a couple of the reviews mentioned the same thing so I figured I was okay. And hey, I’m all for dense cake.

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Before I continue I have to say that this really is the best white cake recipe. EVER. Hands down. I cannot emphasize this enough. I don’t know if it’s the buttermilk or maybe just the process, but holy carp. I ate spoonfuls of batter and I’m not even sorry.

Once I managed to stop eating the batter, I colored it with Wilton’s Gel Icing Dye. I love this stuff. The color always comes out great and it doesn’t thin the batter or frosting. I made the 3 bottom layers first so I could start assembling the cake right away.

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The green and blue layers were on the top shelf of the oven and the tops started to brown a little. The purple layer was on a lower shelf and the top of it never quite finished baking. All of the layers browned and hardened around the bottoms and edges. I have to remember not to use butter to grease the pans because the butter cooks and this happens every time. I’ll be trying shortening next time.

I got started on the top layers while these were cooling. This time I rearranged the shelves in the oven and let them bake a little longer to make sure the tops were done. They all browned a little on top, and again, the bottoms and sides hardened. I trimmed the sides with a paring knife, making them slightly less than perfectly round, but still usable. Then I leveled each layer with a cake leveler. This made them all the same height and got rid of the browned tops and bottoms.

Time for the frosting. I made Add a Pinch’s Fluffy White Buttercream Frosting. This frosting is amazing, just like the cake. However, it came out more liquid-y than I prefer. That may have just been me and my hand mixer overmixing again. I continued to add sugar but it never thickened. So I went with it and put a dab of frosting on the cake dish to hold the bottom layer in place. The cake dish worked great as a turntable without the tilt, but I’ll getting a turntable soon. They make decorating so much easier.

The frosting was surprisingly hard to spread despite it’s liquidness, but that’s probably more due to the cake being crumbly. I had wanted to do a crumb coat but had to skip it because of my  lack of frosting and ingredients on hand to make more. So I did what I could and when a couple of pieces of red cake broke off, I just pasted them back on with frosting.

Since the cake recipe makes three layers, I figured that doubling the frosting would be enough for six. Then I realized the recipe had already been doubled. Hrm. That’s what I get for not reading carefully. There wasn’t enough frosting to cover the cake and so I cut the recipe in half and made a little bit more to cover the outside. And then I took a good look at my cake.

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Yikes. I began to worry that this was going to end in a multi-colored cake lump. But I’d come this far and wanted to get something edible out of it so I kept on truckin.’

After the cake was covered in frosting, I pulled out the fondant. I’ve never used fondant before, let alone made it myself. I think making fondant is probably going to be a project in itself so I bought fondant for the rainbow cake. Wilton White Decorator Preferred Fondant. I kneaded and kneaded and kneaded. The fondant never really became pliable. So I rolled and rolled and rolled. I couldn’t get it into a round shape but I did get it into a very uneven but still usable shape. I laid it over the cake and tried to smooth it down. No such luck. It was kind of stretched out, too wide around the bottom.  There was so much excess that I ended up just folding it over on itself. Fondant? Not my favorite. But I probably just need a little more practice.

Lastly, I slapped on the dots (also Wilton) using a little bit of frosting I had set aside. Finished, finally. I assessed my work and realized my less-than-2-year-old nephew could have done a better job. The folded fondant made it look like a kindergarten art project. And yet… it started to grow on me. The colors were pretty. I guess it was kind of cute. Actually, from a distance, it looked pretty awesome. Ok, it’s adorable. And damn, does it taste good.

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