Rainbow Birthday Cake

On Sunday, it was my Mr. Man's birthday - the big 30. To celebrate this fine occasion, I brought Mexico to my home. We celebrated in style with Margaritas, tortillas, salsa, and ended the night breaking open a colorful pinata. I wish you could have been there. I know how much you love pinatas. Organizing the party was easy. Mr. Man went away for the weekend, so I had plenty of time to plan a surprise party and make two six-layer rainbow cakes {one for photos, one for eating}. Mr. Man returned home Sunday night just in time for the surprise. I picked him up from the airport and brought him home to our festive abode. He seemed suspicious as he walked through the front door and crept down the hall - and as he suspected, there were a couple of friends ready to ambush him. I'm sure he was relieved that there were only two of them. But then out of nowhere came 20 more friends, wearing fake mustaches and sombreros, and screaming Happy Birthday. The look on his face was priceless - he was majorly surprised!




I've never thrown a surprise party before. It was super fun picking out the decorations and then watching the living room transform into what I can only describe as Cinco de Mayo meets gay pride meets my little pony - magical. Imagine, brightly colored lanterns, a large brightly colored rainbow ball hanging from the ceiling, photos scattered across the house of my dog wearing a sombrero and poncho, a pinata in the shape of a llama, skittles, sour kids, jelly fish, tequila, fake moustaches, and one skittle covered rainbow cake. The party was a huge success. The Margaritas got drank, the salsa got eaten, and the pinata got smashed. My living room is still in one piece and my dog still has all his fur. Total success.

Now lets get down to business - the cake. I know you want me to tell you that it was super easy, that I hardly made a mess, that not one swear word came out of my mouth during the process, and that my dog didn't get covered head to paw in icing sugar and flour. Well, I'm not going to lie. I value our friendship too much. You see, I made two cakes. One of the cakes was meant for taking pictures in the nice natural daylight, and one was meant for eating with a Margarita or two. I didn't think I could capture the beauty of a six-layer rainbow cake at night, and am definitely mostly glad I mad two. I figured I needed some good pictures to convince you that it was well worth the 8 hours spent in the kitchen on a super gorgeous sunny day. I'm pretty sure that while I was making the cake, sugar was seeping into my skin through osmosis. By the time I had finished the cakes, I felt as though I had already eaten several slices. Did I mention that I made the cake batter and icing from scratch? Twelve layers of cake wasn't ambitious enough, I decided I needed to take on another challenge. I'm gonna tell you a little secret. If you're making a six-layer cake, it's ok to buy boxed cake mix and icing. No one will judge. They will be so damn impressed with your cake that it won't even matter.

This cake was some serious eye candy. A major flavor explosion for your eyes. In order to pull this magic together, I used a classic vanilla butter cake recipe with a vanilla butter cream frosting. The cake was sweet, perfect for a child's birthday party or a husband's surprise Mexican themed party. It was a fluffy, moist, melt-in-the-mouth kind of cake. If I had to sum it up, I would say it tasted like a rainbow is supposed to taste.



RAINBOW CAKE RECIPE (print)
makes 6  6" round cakes
cake recipe adapted from Sweetapolita

CAKE INGREDIENTS
10 large egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
4 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
5 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
3 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
3 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
red, yellow, green, and blue food coloring

ICING INGREDIENTS (makes 5 cups) 
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
10 tbsp butter, room temperature
4 tbsp milk
1 tsp pure vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a bowl, combine the egg whites, 1/2 cup milk, and vanilla with a wire whisk. Set to the side.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, with a hand mixer on low speed until ingredients are combined.

Add the butter and the remaining 1 cup of milk to the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until all ingredients are moistened. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 1 1/2 minutes. The batter should start to stick to the beaters.

Add the milk/egg mixture in 5 - 6 separate batches, mixing until combined, approximately 20 seconds each batch.

Separate the cake batter into 6 bowls. Add enough food coloring to make one red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple cake. To make orange, use red and yellow food coloring. To make purple, use red and blue.

Next, spray the cake pans with cooking oil and then line with parchment paper. If you only have a couple of cake pans, you made need to bake in batches. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the pans from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pans, and let cool on a wire rack. Continue the process until all 6 cakes are done. Once the cakes have cooled, wrap them in Saran wrap and place in the freezer for one hour. They will be much easier to handle when icing.

To make the icing, beat the icing sugar and butter until smooth. Add the vanilla to the milk. Slowly drizzle in the milk and beat on high speed for at 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

With a piece of cardboard, trace a 6"circle. Place the purple cake on top of the cardboard and top with a layer of icing. Continue layering with the blue, green, yellow, orange, and then red cake with icing in between. Cover the top and the sides with icing and then decorate as desired.


34 comments:

  1. Wow, the cake is very impressive looking! And the surprise for Brent sounded awesome! Happy belated birthday to him!

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  2. Martha Jones06 September, 2011

    WOW. Impressive. I love it!

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  3. Thanks Jenn. Wish you could have been here.

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  4. Stunning! Those colors are so perfectly bold and bright. Rainbow cakes have always caught my eye...I'm going to pin this on Pinterest to make sometime soon!

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  5. Thanks nicole. I love pinterest and cakes!

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  6. Replies
    1. Hey this cake lokks great

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  7. I am beyond impressed! This cake looks just amazing!
    I love that you went all out. The party sounds like a blast!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. It was a serious blast.

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  8. This cake is seriously awesome!! I love it!

    Sounds like it was a great party....love the fake mustaches, sombreros & llama pinata!

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  9. Thanks guys. Rainbow cakes are totally awesome.

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  10. love the cake, love the colors, love your photos!

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  11. After looking at a lot of websites for this idea I like your the best because it's the prettiest! Can you explain the parchment paper part to me. I've never lined a pan with it before. Also, your colors are great! You used the old fashion color drops? I am excited to make this for my daughters 1st birthday next month!!! Great cake!

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  12. I like to line my pans with parchment paper to ensure the cake will come out intact. I often have difficulties getting the cakes out of the pan, despite my use of oil and flour. I did use the old fashioned color drops, for the simple reason that I had them left over. I had to use quite a bit of liquid color, so I would recommend using the food coloring gel if you can get your hands on some. I am super excited for you and your daughter. Best of luck :)

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  13. Hi,I'd just like to ask you about the recipe you're using to bake the cake cause I compared yours with another one since I'm looking for the best,easy cake to bake. How come you're using a lot of egg whites and no egg yolk at all? And does it takes a lot of time to bake one cake? Oh and here's the other recipe that I was talking about! http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/27679/homemade+buttercake

    And yours looks really great btw,love the colours and the layering :)

    p.s I hope you could answer asap since I have to bake it today! :p Thank you!!

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    1. I used a standard white cake recipe from www.sweetapolita.com I absolutely adore this white cake recipe, and will consistently fall back to it every time for the white color, taste, and moistness. The yellow from the egg yolks will give a cake a yellow color ie. yellow cake, which seems to be the recipe you have provided. Therefore using only egg whites will result in a white cake. I choose a white cake, because I thought it would be easier to get the desired colors I wanted. It takes 15 - 20 minutes to bake each cake, so if you bake them in 3 batches it should take an hour including cooling time.

      Have fun!

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    2. Appreciate it a lot! And I'll definitely give yours a whirl :)

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  14. Hey Nathalie,how did you make your icing to be so white? Mine comes out yellow-ish

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    1. The longer you beat the butter, the paler it will become. Try beating it longer. Also, when choosing your butter, look for one that is a lighter color. Is your vanilla very dark? Just a thought.

      p.s although Nathalie is a lovely name, mine is Heather.

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  15. Anonymous08 June, 2012

    sorry for bothering you, actually i've opened the website you were talking about. i saw the ingredients for the white cake. the recipe said the cake adds 1 whole egg and i see you changed some of the ingredients, did you?. im looking forwad to making this cake for my niece ;) heheehehe. so i need your information. thanksssssss :D

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I definitely tweaked some of the ingredients, and I doubled the cake recipe. The original recipe calls for 5 large egg whites and I doubled it to 10.

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  16. I plan to make this cake next month for my 17th birthday. I adore rainbows and this looks amazing. It'll be my first big baking project so I'm excited. C:

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  17. Hi there, I want to make one of these for my daughter’s first birthday next week and am debating what icing to use. Did this actually taste good-not too sickly? I don’t want to make something that looks amazing but people don’t finish!

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    Replies
    1. It was definitely a very sweet cake. Everyone had small pieces, and they cake went in about an hour. So I think everyone liked it, or they just stomached it to be nice ;)

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  18. Hi - this cake looks amazing. I want to make it for my daughters birthday but she is allergic to milk. How do you think it will go using dairy free margarine and soy milk instead? Thanks

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    1. Hi Simone,
      I don't see why it wouldn't work. You may get a slightly different taste from the soy milk though. I would try a small batch first, before going ahead with the whole recipe.

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  19. Hi Heather,

    I'm making the cake right now (but with pink ombre for Easter), and my first batch of 2 have been in the oven for 25 min now and could probably go another 10 min before they're cooked all the way through. I have my oven at 350 and haven't had probs with other recipes' time/temp. Thoughts? Just wondering what I should do different when I make the rainbow version for my son's first birthday party. Obviously only the grown-ups get this one b/c it's too pretty to have him smash!

    Thanks!

    Nicole

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  20. I figured it out! My layers are thicker than yours - next time I won't use all the batter. Thanks for the good recipe!

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you got it sorted, and glad you liked.

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  21. I've tried your recipe today and it turned out horrible.
    It didn't say how long you need to whisk the egg-white and the milk and which structure it need to be. :-(

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    1. Can you explain the horrible-ness, and maybe I can problem solve with you? You do not need to whisk the egg whites to a particular structure, they only need to be combined. I specified wire whisk to combine, because it is quite challenging trying to combine egg whites with any thing else.

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