Did you know I’ve never made a layer cake before? It’s true. Cupcakes, jar cakes, cake doughnuts and once many years ago, a sheet cake shaped like a bat with hot pink icing (unfortunately no pictures of this exist), but never a layer cake.
I decided it was time to remedy this and I also decided it was time that I, as a rainbow enthusiast, try my hand at that internet classic: RAINBOW CAKE. I know, what better way to make my first layer cake a success than by making it six layers?
Since I didn’t know whether my attempt would be a disaster or not I decided to use a boxed cake mix so that if I had to toss the whole thing in the trash I wouldn’t have wasted a ton of ingredients and time. I used Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Classic White, but feel free to use your own favorite white cake (what kind of cake is “white” anyway? Or “yellow” for that matter. When I was growing up cake came in two varieties: chocolate and vanilla). Preheat your oven & mix the batter according to the box instructions or your own recipe.
Once you cake batter is mixed up you need to separate it into six smaller bowls for tinting. To colour the batter I used Wilton Icing Color– it’s super concentrated and gives really bright colours, although I’ve also heard of people having good luck using regular food coloring in neon shades. The icing colour is a pastey gel, so to get it into the batter without staining the crap out of my hands I “poured” it; the colour would sort of ooze out really slowly and I’d scrape the emerging pea-sized blob into the batter with a toothpick. To mix the colours in I used forks.
Anyway I used four colours: Red-Red, Golden Yellow, Royal Blue and Petal Pink, and mixed them thusly:
for the red layer, two Red-Red
for the orange layer, one Red-Red + one Golden Yellow
for the yellow layer, two Golden Yellow
for the green layer, one Golden Yellow + one Royal Blue
for the blue layer, two Royal Blue
for the purple layer, one Royal Blue + one Petal Pink
The purple layer didn’t turn out as I wanted; it was much too dark. I should have used two blobs of pink and just a dab of blue.
Bake the layers in 8″ cake pans. I have three so I made the layers in two batches. To make sure the layers wouldn’t stick (since they were very thin and would have torn very easily) I sprayed the pans with non-stick spray AND floured them. I poured the batter in and spread it with a silicone spatula to cover the bottom of the pan- it was only about a half and inch thick but that’s fine. I baked them on the middle rack at 325°F for fifteen minutes, rotating after ten, and they came out perfectly. After they cooled for ten minutes I turned them out onto a floured surface and let them cool upside-down while I washed the pans and made the second batch of layers.
Even though I used cake mix, I wanted to make my own frosting; I don’t really like the canned stuff. I used this recipe from Martha Stewart, substituting lemon juice for the vanilla. I think I used seven cups of icing sugar, and had exactly enough frosting to cover my six-layer cake.
Once all the layers cooled I assembled the whole thing, from red to purple. Since I’d never made a layer cake before I’d obviously also never frosted one so I didn’t do a bang up job, and my layers also weren’t totally flat and I didn’t want to top them (cut the curved part off) because they were already so thin, so it was fairly dome-shaped. All in all, however, I think it turned out pretty well for my first attempt!
I can’t make anything without putting bunting on it, SUE ME. Of course, with rainbow cake it’s what’s inside that counts:
PERFECTO. As a bonus this cake was also really delicious- the cake itself isn’t sweet, which is a nice offset to the INTENSE OUT OF CONTROL SWEETNESS of the frosting. All in all I think this was a big success!