Rainbow UN-birthday Cake
My heart skipped a beat when Heston Blumenthal, experimental chef extraordinaire, brought out a completely edible insect-filled garden and vibrating absinthe jelly at his Alice in Wonderland themed feast. My own Mad Hatter Tea Party had been planned for some time and now the bar had been raised and I had to do something special. My head was filled with images of psychedelic, towering, toppling cakes exploding with colour… but it had to be achievable. And it had to give up a special secret at the last minute.
So I made a cake, smothered it in pink icing and stuck cards all around the base. And I kept the surprise all to myself. So as the cake was brought out to me and people sang me a happy UN-birthday, I was sniggering inside knowing I had my Heston Blumenthal moment to come. With great mischievousness, I cut the tall cake open to reveal…
Rainbow UN-birthday Cake | a zillion calories per serving | Serves 20-25
It was incredible to see the astounded faces of my guests. I can now completely understand the feeling Heston gets when he makes someone fill with childish smiles over the food they’re about to eat.
It was completely worth the effort, especially as it was straight-forward to make, and I recommend it to anyone. It was just a Victoria sponge, a WHOLE jar of jam to stick it all together and a slathering of butter icing to hold it all together and make ‘operation: wonderment’ complete.
Admittedly, there was some special food-paste dye (which can be bought online and is worth the investment as it is vivid and doesn’t alter the texture of the cake mixture) but there was a lot of washing up… Luckily my mock-turtle kitchen assistant took care of that 🙂
Ingredients – for the cake
For the cake
- 450 g self raising flour
- 450 g unsalted butter or margarine
- 450 g caster sugar
- 8 eggs
- food dye
For the layering & icing
- 1 jar of raspberry jam for sandwiching the layers together
- 250 g unsalted butter
- 500 g icing sugar
- dash hot water
- food dye
[Lots of people have asked me where to get the food dye from. I got mine from a local kitchen shop at a hefty £2.50 per tub, but you can get all the colours you need for a rainbow cake in this Set of 8 Wilton Food Colours.]
How to Make the Rainbow Cake
- Cream the butter and sugar together until soft and white.
- Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.
- Alternate adding the beaten eggs and the flour in to the butter and sugar mixture.
- Mix until combined, but not totally smooth.
- Separate between six large bowls, add the relevant food dye and mix/beat until smooth (if you beat till smooth first and then added the food dye and beat again you’d probably get rid of all the air).
- Pour into sandwich tins (I think mine are 23cm).
- Cook the sponges, two at a time, in the middle of an oven preheated to 190 Celsius. Cook for 15-20 minutes, depending on the amount of mixture (you’re bound to have somehow misjudged the batter for one of the layers).
Leave the layers to go absolutely cool before sandwiching together with LOTS of jam. Don’t worry if it’s a big mess, it will be fine once covered in icing.
To make the icing, beat the butter and sugar together, adding a little water if needed and the food dye of whatever colour you like. Ice the cake from the bottom up using a knife. Don’t get too neat.
Decorate the outside however you like and then wait out the moment of the big reveal!
p.s. A special mention should be made of my mother who, though she can’t cook, is an outstanding seamstress (a skill that sadly eludes me) and made me a fantastic costume:
Also thanks to dad who scared the rain away by spending hours putting up tarpaulin, and a big hello to people visiting because I outed my blogging habit after a little too much sparkling wine (and absinthe?!) drunk from teacups!