Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Rainbow Cakes – in a Jar and more!!

I bring you the latest in rainbow cakery, baked in a jar to show off all the pretty colours.
Cakes in jars are great for a picnic or to bring to someone’s house, since they’re completely sturdy, sealable, and portable.

Here’s how you do it…

Rainbow Cakes – in a Jar
  • Buy 6 pint-sized, wide mouth jars (or 12 half-pint jars.) It’s important to use wide mouth jars so you can maneuver the cake batter around. I ran them through the dishwasher and made sure they were completely dry before getting started.
  • Preheat the oven to 375. Make a double recipe of your favorite white cake or two boxes of white cake mix.
  • Divide the batter roughly between 6 bowls. Color the batter with rainbow colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. It’s important to use gel or paste food coloring, not the liquid kind, or the colors won’t be as vibrant. 
  • Now, to layer the batter in the jars; this would make a GREAT personality test. You can either drop dollops of the colors in the jar in order, and let the colors fall where they may. That would be the “laid back” personality type. I did sort of a “Type A Minus” personality thing, by carefully spooning the batter into the jars and attempting to spread each color out somewhat evenly but not perfectly. The “Type A Plus” thing to do would be to put the batter color into individual Ziploc bags or pastry bags and pipe each layer, so you would get near perfection. Choose your style and get that batter in there! You only need to fill the jars to about 3/4 full as the cake will rise.
  • Put the jars in a pan with sides, like a 9×13 brownie pan. Put the pan in the preheated oven and pour in about 1/2 inch of water.
  • Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until a knife or skewer inserted all the way down comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven, take out of the water, and set aside to cool.
(When you open your oven, you get this visual treat:)

 On to the frosting…
  • Use a knife to cut off some of the top of the cake to make room for the frosting. If you really really really like frosting, scoop out some of the middle of the cake, too. (The pieces you cut off kind of look like psychedelic mini cupcakes–save those for a kid you like.)
  • Make white frosting. 
  • Use a small spatula to scoop frosting on top of the cakes, almost to the top.
  • Cover with a lid and brighten people’s day!

You can also try this Amazing Rainbow Birthday Cake!

How do you make this? It’s actually not as hard as it looks. You just use 2 yellow cake mixes (the yellow cake mix renders richer colors than the white.) Mix the cake mixes as usual, divide the whole lot evenly among 6 bowls and use regular food color to get the different colors.Bake each layer separately, cool, then stack, gluing together each layer with a bit of icing. There is actually a fair amount of icing between each layer, but it gets smooshed down by the sheer weight of the thing. Ice the entire outside and decorate with candles and/or sprinkles. If it starts tipping over or seeming teetery, stick some wooden skewers in it in a couple of places and take them out right before cutting. Voila! Rainbow cake!

Fluffy marshmallowy meringue-y 7-minute icing. You can use any icing but this one sets up a bit and adds some structural integrity- as long as it’s not out too long. You should definitely ice this the same day as the party if you use this type of icing. Here is the easy shortcut recipe in the appropriate amount to easily cover and fill this giant monstrosity.

No-Boil 7-Minute Icing
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • In the bowl of a Kitchen-Aid, combine everything except boiling water with the whisk attachment.
  • While whisking, slowly pour in boiling water.
  • Beat about 7 minutes, until mixture holds stiff peaks.
  • Use immediately or texture will become weird and won’t spread easily.

Or, what about Rainbow Fudge!


Makes a lot even though it looks like a little. White chocolate chips are easier to use, because you don’t have to chop them, but they don’t melt as smoothly as a bar so I don’t recommend using them. Don’t get any amount of water in the white chocolate mixture, because it can cause the chocolate to seize and harden into lumps. I say this because between colors you’ll need to wash your spatula out – so be sure to fully dry it off with a towel.

  • 36 oz. chopped white chocolate
  • 3 cups sweetened condensed milk (you’ll need to buy 3 of the 14 oz cans to get 3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
  • gel or paste food coloring
  • Line a loaf pan tightly with foil. Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Get out 6 microwave-safe cereal bowls. Into each bowl, put 6 oz. white chocolate, 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk, and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract. Set aside.
  • Put one bowl in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring well after each 30 seconds, until chocolate mixture is smooth and well combined with no lumps. (All microwaves are different but as a point of reference mine took about 90 seconds total.)
  • Add red food coloring and stir very well so there are no white streaks, scraping the sides of the bowl and making sure you get all the way to the bottom. A rubber spatula works well for this.
  • Pour into prepared loaf pan and bang the pan on the counter a few times to settle and even out the layer.
  • Place into the freezer for 20-25 minutes, until hard to the touch.
  • Repeat with remaining bowls, making orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Once the loaf pan and the layers have been in the freezer, the layer will almost immediately start to set, so you need to move quickly with spreading out the mixture and banging it on the counter so it’s not lopsided or lumpy.
  • After the final layer, put it back in the freezer for 2 hours, then move it to the refrigerator to completely set for a couple more hours.
  • When you’re ready to cut it, flip it onto a cutting board and remove the foil. Dip a sharp knife in hot water between cuts and wipe with a towel so the colors don’t smear together. It tastes better at room temperature and holds up pretty well for a few hours; otherwise, refrigerate it to keep.
 Rainbow cakes are also the perfect treat for all your unicorn friends.
“What’s that, magical horsie? Oh, you’re very welcome, it was my pleasure. I hope you enjoy your cake.”