A more successful and distinct rainbow than take one – I’m pleased with this one, and it seems to have been a big hit with a lot of other people, too, some of whom didn’t even get to taste it. Good imaginations all round.
Tonight the plan was to make an epic pot of chili and clean up the kitchen, which I have managed. Oh, the kitchen… the poor kitchen. All the work surfaces appeared to have been iced with a mix of raspberry glaze, chocolate buttercream and sticky toffee sauce. One mights just get away with this on a cake, but across the entirety of a kitchen it’s definitely not acceptable. That was just the beginning, too, as many of the dishes still remained from the Week of Baking, and then I added to my own workload with utensils, cutting boards and a stray frying pan from the epic chili. It all got done, through much willpower and self-encouragement, but yet again it’s got to be quite late and I’m ready for bed. So, I’ll keep this short, but I wanted to get the recipe for rainbow cake up, and a couple of extra pictures, too. Like this one:
Not the best quality – poor light meant I tried the flash, but that was super overkill, so I tried a bit of that newfangled digital image manipulation business. It’s better than it was, believe me.
I freestyled the recipe for this cake, which is one of the reasons that I’m so pleased with it. It’s good to know that I’ve got a decent handle on what works in a recipe. I often think that baking is like chemistry, or like potions for the Harry Potter initiated. You have to get certain proportions right or your cake just won’t turn out right. I’m proud of myself for getting the proportions right this time just purely going on appearance and taste. The only thing I would have liked would have been for the icing to have set to a glaze – it was soft set in the end, due to a lack of icing sugar while I was making it, and while it tasted fine and nobody would have known it wasn’t intentional, I prefer that lovely crackly taste/feel when you bite into an iced cake. Still, easy to fix, and was still extremely tasty as it was. I haven’t written down what I put in the icing so I’ll make my best guess – I did write down the cake recipe so you can make your very own, should you have the time and inclination.
Heart-shaped White Chocolate Rainbow Cake:
- 250g margarine
- 100g caster sugar
- 150g white chocolate
- small pinch salt
- 250g flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tbsp double cream
- Melt white chocolate carefully (it’s temperamental). If you’re doing it in the microwave take it out and stir often, and don’t have it on too high a heat. Safer to do it in a bowl over a pan of hot water, though of course it’s up to you. Set aside to cool a little
- Cream margarine and sugar with a hand-held mixer until light and fluffy
- Add melted chocolate and whisk in
- Taste and stir in the pinch of salt to knock back the sweetness of the chocolate, if necessary. I would say at this point that my sponge didn’t have a strong white chocolate taste, though it was nicely sweet with a lovely dense texture. Another time I might add more chocolate, or miss out the salt, but these quantities certainly give a good, if subtle, result
- Add eggs one at a time while continuing to mix
- Weigh out flour, and drop the baking powder and soda on top, then add the whole lot in a few batches, whisking in each time.
- Add cream and fold in
Now, at this point I separated out one sixth of the mixture at a time into a small bowl and coloured with food dyes before baking in a heart-shaped tin for fifteen to twenty minutes (the last sponges baked faster as the oven was hotter – the thermostat isn’t perfect). You would be forgiven for omitting this step. I can’t be more specific about the amount of dye than ‘until it looked right’. As you can see, the red and orange didn’t turn out at all well, but the other colours are passable. Gel colours are apparently much stronger and therefore better for this kind of thing. I’ll check them out next time I’m using colouring. Incidentally, I really love that picture of the sponges stacked up; it shows the colours up better that I’d hoped it would. While the sponges were cooling I made the icing, as follows.
- 150g cream cheese
- 150g butter
- 170g fresh raspberries
- 400g icing sugar
- Using hand-held electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter
- Tip raspberries in and beat through until smooth
- Add icing sugar in batches until all used up. As I mentioned, I’d have liked the icing to be firmer, or to set to a glaze. I think another time I’d just beat the raspberries and icing sugar, maybe with a spoonful of cream cheese or yoghurt to take the edge off the sweetness.
Apply a thin layer of the icing in between each sponge, enough to stick them together but not enough to be overpowering. Stack the sponges then cover the whole cake with the icing, and leave to set overnight. Reserve some icing for touch-ups the next day; this amount of icing was more than enough for the cake I made, I had some go to waste. Should probably have only used 100g each of butter and cream cheese, or less even. Again, something I could experiment with.
I loved the taste of the fresh raspberries in the icing, they definitely held their own against the sugar. They also left little pips throughout, and I liked the way that looked, too. What I did find was that the water held in the raspberries contributed to me running out of icing sugar – the icing would probably have set firmer if I had been making a plain cream-cheese icing. Still the soft-set meant that it was easy to cover the outside in sprinkles. First I tidies up the cake board of excess icing, then I cupped the sprinkles in the palm of my hand and pressed them to the sides of the cake. It took quite a long while, and I was up to the elbows in raspberry icing by the end. A better idea would have been to attach the cake to the cake board with strategic icing before leaving to set overnight – this would in theory have let me tip the cake on to its side and pour sprinkles over it, which might have been easier. A nice finish, and as they were quality raspberry flavoured sprinkles from a high-end supermarket they actually added to the taste of the cake as well as the texture.
After the sprinkles went on, I decided that I wanted a bit of extra detail on top of the cake, so I piped on an extra border of icing round the top. I experimented with thickening the icing with rice flour for this, so that the border wouldn’t slope off down the sides of the cake like some kind of amorphous escapee. The rice flour worked, but adding too much will leave you with a gritty texture and a hint of that ‘uncooked flour’ taste. Not surprising, really, when you think about it.
That’s about it for the rainbow cake. It wasn’t perfect, but it was, in Saboo’s wonderful words, pretty good.