easy desserts & recipes: oh, look! a rainbow! (cake)

easy desserts & recipes: oh, look! a rainbow! (cake)

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky…
~William Wordsworth

It isn’t often that we gaze upon a rainbow. And, when we do we want to share what we are seeing with whomever is standing near us, “Oh, look! A rainbow!” We are humans and we have a need to share with each other when we witness something of note. We know that rainbows have been a part of many cultures myths and legends since ancient times and we might guess that these myths and legends, before the written word, were handed down from oral traditions even older still.

We find rainbows woven into cultures from around the world. In America various Native American peoples have legends in which the rainbow is present. Rainbows make an appearance or are the central theme in legends from Australia, Guam, Hawaii, Germany, Ireland as well as Babylon, Persia, Silesia, Africa and Greece.

Iris was the Greek goddess of the rainbow and the messenger for the Gods of Olympus. Many Greeks resided near the coast. Most often the rainbow’s arc was seen spanning the distance between cloud and sea. Iris was believed to fill the clouds in the sky with the water from the sea. Therefore, Iris was a goddess of both the sea and the sky.

Most people are familiar with the Irish folk tale of finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This pot of gold, guarded by the mythical leprechaun, belongs to the fairies. The leprechaun is a cunning creature who often outwits any human trying to claim the gold.

This Irish folk tale is not the only myth regarding a pot of gold. In Silesia, a historical region of central Europe (partly in Poland, Czech Republic and Germany) there is a legend stating that angels placed gold at the end of a rainbow and only a man, a nude man, can retrieve it if he is worthy.

Many cultures view the rainbow as a bridge between heaven and earth. It is a sign of hope and symbol of good luck. It is also a symbol of promise. “I will put my rainbow in the clouds to be a sign of my promise to the earth.” (Genesis 9:13)

Scientifically speaking, the mystery of the rainbow is no longer. “We have not the reverent feeling for the rainbow that the savage has, because we know how it is made. We have lost as much as we gained by prying into that matter. “Mark Twain (A Tramp Abroad) “Rainbows are seen when raindrops, falling in the distance, bend and bounce sunlight back towards your eye.

Raindrops reflect sunlight, like a mirror. However raindrops also bend, or refract, light, like a lens. The reflection is spread into a cone of light. The edge of this cone is bright, because sunlight is concentrated at this angle (called the rainbow angle).

Each color of sunlight is bent and bounced in a slightly different direction. The colors separate around the bright edge of the reflection. The collection of raindrops that send the same bright color towards your eye is curved. The centre of the curve is the shadow of your head (called the anti-solar point). The rainbow always appears at the same distance from this central point, at the rainbow angle.” (Scientists and Discovery, Museum Victoria)

It is hopeful, despite our scientific knowledge, that we can maintain a reverent feeling for the rainbow. Can we not embrace the scientific knowledge as well as find ourselves in awe of its existence? Albert Einstein once said, “…If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

Fortunately for us we can reveal the mystery of this beautiful rainbow cake without much ado in a scientific laboratory. This cake is fun for many occasions and when you cut into it your guests will say, “Oh, Look! A rainbow!”

Bloggers We Adore: MyFudo’s Editors Choice award goes to…

SweetAPolita is an adorable blog. We love everything about it from the Swiss polka dot wallpaper the banner picture and the font she used. But, mostly, we love her remarkable treats; mouthwatering sweets that are beautifully photographed making you want to jump right through the screen to have a taste. We are smitten with her take on the rainbow cake. The colors jump out at you in all their glory and the doodle cake decoration is beyond cute. Sweet Polita’s version of the rainbow cake is one of our favorite children’s birthday cakes and the beautiful 4 year old birthday girl is very lucky to have a mother who bakes such lovely sweets!

Chef Dennis, we are quite smitten with his blog. He has a clean layout as well as clean, crisp photos. We enjoyed learning that Chef Dennis is Director of Dining Services at an all girl academy. He is responsible for feeding 560 high school girls. Oh, my! Could you imagine having to listen to 560 different opinions from notoriously highly opinionated high school girls? We can’t and we are grateful for Chef Dennis’ of this world who take on that task. We saw the rainbow cake on his blog, but alas, he had a guest blogger who made the rainbow cake so we must include the lovely blog, Pip and Ebby-Messy Kitchen who took produced a vibrant rainbow cake. Best of all, Pip and Ebby made fantastic rainbow cupcakes with left over batter and frosting. These cupcakes remind us of tie dye t-shirts. Fun, fun, fun!

Don’t you just love the name, Call Me Cupcake? Well, we do, too. We love Linda, aka Cupcake’s exquisite blog. Her photos are charming and warm doing justice to her impeccable baked goods. Thank goodness for Google Translates because we are able to also read her wonderful text. It continually amazes us that we can connect with someone in another country, speaking another language. Not, only does the text translate easily, but so does Cupcake’s version of the rainbow cake. You will quickly understand that her style is soft and elegant when you see the ethereal shades of pink; so subtle. The frosting is a heavenly cloud beckoning you to find the pink rainbow beneath

Rainbow Cake (Recipe from Kaitlin Flannery)

Ingredients for the Cake

Vegetable shortening
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/3 cups sugar
5 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple gel food coloring
Lemony Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe below)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush six 9-inch-round cake pans (or as many 9-inch cake pans as you have, reusing them as necessary) with shortening. Line bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper; brush again and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Slowly add egg whites and mix until well combined. Add vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Add flour mixture and milk in two alternating additions, beginning with the flour and ending with the milk. Mix until well combined.

3. Divide batter evenly between six medium bowls. Add enough of each color of food coloring to each bowl, whisking, until desired shade is reached. Transfer each color to an individual cake pan. Transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, about 15 minutes (working in batches if necessary).

4. Remove cakes from oven and transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto a wire rack; re-invert and let cool completely.

5. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the purple layer on the cake plate. Spread a scant 1 cup buttercream filling over the first layer with a small offset spatula so it extends just beyond edges. Repeat process with blue, green, yellow, and orange layers.

6. Place the remaining red layer on top, bottom-side up. Gently sweep away any loose crumbs with a pastry brush. Using an offset spatula, cover the top and sides with a thin layer of frosting (also use any of the excess frosting visible between the layers). Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

7. Using an offset spatula, cover cake again with remaining frosting.

Ingredients for the Filling and Crumb Coat

9 large egg whites
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure lemon extract
Ingredients for the Frosting
5 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract

Directions

1. Make the filling and crumb coat: Cook egg whites and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly until sugar is completely dissolved. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; mix on high speed until mixture is room temperature. With the mixer on medium-low, add butter, one piece at a time, mixing well after each addition.

2. Remove whisk attachment and switch to paddle attachment. Increase speed to high and beat until buttercream comes together, about 5 minutes; beat in lemon extract.

3. Make the frosting: In a clean saucepan and bowl of an electric mixer, repeat process in step 1.
Decorations for the cake: Have fun! Use multicolored sprinkles and other adornments. Make little flags from different colored construction paper and hang using thin culinary string.

Fun Fact: Want to remember the basic colors of the rainbow? Try this mnemonic: Roy G. Biv Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet.


How to get this shot:
Featured Guest: Olga Franco
ApertureFNumber: f/22.0
Make: Canon
Model: Canon EOS 50D
ExposureTime: 13/10
FNumber: 22/1
ExposureProgram: 1
ISOSpeedRatings: 100
MaxApertureValue: 4/1
MeteringMode: 5
Flash: 16

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24 comments

  • February 5, 2012 at 10:28 pm //

    thank you so much for the mention! and rainbows due brighten our lives, especially when they come in cake form!

    • February 6, 2012 at 8:05 am //

      You are very welcome Chef Dennis, thank you so much for commenting = )

  • February 5, 2012 at 11:03 pm //

    This is such a beautiful cake! I love the addition of the stars on the cake itself. It looks soooo scrumptious. Nicely done.

    • February 6, 2012 at 8:04 am //

      Thank you Tia, please decorate to your hearts desire, most important, have fun with it.

  • February 6, 2012 at 4:18 am //

    Delightful post and such a beautiful cake!

    • February 6, 2012 at 8:04 am //

      Thank you = )

  • February 6, 2012 at 5:04 am //

    Simply gorgeous! I love love how beautiful each layer is, this cake sounds amazing! Hugs, Terra

    • February 6, 2012 at 8:04 am //

      Thank you Terra = )

  • February 6, 2012 at 6:13 am //

    I love this cake! I just have one question. The directions say to split the batter into 6 equal bowls, but in the picture there are 7 layers. I assume it’s just a typo? But I am wondering if dividing them up into 7 would affect the baking time?

    • February 6, 2012 at 8:03 am //

      “Thank you for your question. The batter is sufficient to make 7 layers. Yes, the baking time would change. If each layer is thinner they will not take as long to bake. We like to use the toothpick test: Insert a toothpick in the center of the cake when you feel it is finished. If it comes out “clean”, meaning without wet batter, the cake is finished.” Please let us know if you have any questions and we’ll do our best to answer them.

      Thank you so much for commenting and enjoy the recipe!

  • February 6, 2012 at 9:00 am //

    Simply beautiful! I love all of the colors in this cake, and it makes me happy to look at it :)!

    • February 6, 2012 at 12:22 pm //

      Thank you Amy = )

  • February 6, 2012 at 11:35 am //

    I wish I had the patience for this… Its so cute!! I love your rainbow star sprinkles too. My friend made this for her babies first birthday. Love it!

    • February 6, 2012 at 12:22 pm //

      Thank you so much Lindsey.

  • February 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm //

    I still remember seeing this cake on Chef Dennis’ blog. It really is a beautiful cake. I love your cake stand too, very cute!

    • February 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm //

      Thank you so much for commenting Alyssa = )

  • February 6, 2012 at 5:19 pm //

    Your rainbow cake looks beautiful and cheerful! It definitely put a smile on my face seeing it.

    • February 7, 2012 at 7:45 am //

      Glad we could put a smile on your face Amy = )

  • February 7, 2012 at 7:07 am //

    That is one delicious looking cake! And it looks so happy, too :-)

    • February 7, 2012 at 7:44 am //

      Thank you so much for commenting = )

  • February 7, 2012 at 8:42 am //

    Oh my, perfectly executed! And the little stars on the icing are the perfect touch!

    • February 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm //

      Thank you Kiri = )

  • February 8, 2012 at 2:54 am //

    My younger son was asking me to make him rainbow cake for his birthday next April (yes, he always plans waayyy ahead), so this recipe came at perfect timing. I’m bookmarking it right now. Thanks for sharing.

    • February 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm //

      Oh what Fun Priscilla! Will you post the cake and recipe? We’d love to feature a link back to your site when you do? = )