Friday, September 30, 2011

Cora's Rainbow Cake

When I decided on a rainbow theme for Cora's birthday party, I knew I would have to make a rainbow cake.  I had seen several variations on the internet, and they just begged me to try them!

This cake above appears to have been made from six separate layers of cake.  Although it is beautiful, I do not have the patience to bake and cool six separate layers.  Plus, I could just see one of my layers being too thick or unbalanced, and it would throw off the whole effect.  Too much work and too much pressure.  Instead, I opted for this type of cake:

This cake, featured on Omnomicon, is a diet, Weight Watchers-worthy cake.  Since I was making this cake for my two-year-old's birthday party, I did not think it needed to be a diet cake.  For that reason, here is what I did:

I bought two boxes of white cake mix.  (I got white cake that used egg whites only so it would really take to the color better.)  I made each box according to the instructions, and then I separated all of the batter into a total of six bowls.

I used gel food coloring (it has a stronger color, in my opinion) and dyed each bowl a color of the rainbow.

Then, I started pouring the batter into a greased pan, starting with red.  I used about 2/3 of the red and then a little less than that of the orange, and so on.  This is because each time a color gets added on top, it spreads out the color beneath it, and if I had used the same amount of every color, the bottom colors would have been sparse and the top colors dominant.

You can see that by the time I got to purple, I didn't have to use much.  I probably only used 1/3 of the batter, whereas I had used most of the red.

Next, I did a reverse of the colors by making a new pan with purple first, then blue, then green, etc., ending with red.  

Because I hadn't measured exactly, one cake ended up being much bigger than the other.  When they baked up, it was even more evident:

This made layering the cakes a little tricky, but it worked out okay.  I just flipped the smaller one upside down.  

The final product looked like this:

You can see by looking at it that the bottom layer was much smaller than the top layer.  If I'm honest, I'll tell you that it really bothered me.  (Yes, I know I have issues.)  I wish I had either measured more accurately to have two layers end up the same size.  

Actually, I wish I had done would I would suggest you do:  Just make one layer out of one box of cake!  The slices were massive and didn't really need to be.  However, if you do decide to only do one layer, remember when dividing your batter between your bowls that your bottom color will need much more batter than your top color.  So, if you do red first, you'll need significantly more red than purple.

If you do decide to do two giant layers, at least put lots of frosting between them.  My cake didn't have enough at all.  I should have used two full containers of frosting on the cake, but I tried to squeeze by with one and then ended up using part of another to finish the outside.  Don't do that.

So there you go.  Rainbow cakes are fun and totally worth the effect - especially when you first cut into it and see your guest's eyes!  :-)

Now, on a separate but related topic: Rainbow decorations.  I tried very hard to keep my decor extremly simple for this party.  I tend to go a little overboard sometimes (see here), and I really wanted this to be a fun, relaxing party.  For that reason, I only made the balloon wreath I showed you before...

... and some colorful balloons, hung from the ceiling, along with a flower banner:

A red tablecloth with Skittles scattered on it and the kids' rainbow lollipops rounded out the decorations.  It was simple, but effective.  

In a similar vein, the only food I served was the rainbow cake, and, although I had considered more of a menu, I think the simplicity just added to the perfection of the morning.

I can't wait to see what kind of party Cora will want next year!  :-)

1 comment:

  1. I'm just baking a rainbow cake for my sons first birthday I went with the 6 layer cake I got so mad when the orange layer got stuck to the pan so there goes that layer I found out after the orange falling apart that the way to go is to use the cake pan that u can push up from the bottom is easy not done baking so just have to cross my fingers LOL


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