Thursday, 22 November 2012

Taste the rainbow

Working in an office of about 20 people means there is quite a lot of birthday cake on the go. I've worked in offices where you have to bring in the cakes if it's your birthday (a rule I personally quite liked) but in this office thanks to just one person having a but haha! I actually wrote but there when I meant to write NUT allergy, the cakes that get bought in are... well, they are rank. Last week there was Madeira cake that smelled like fish.
I could stand it no more and so when I realised the next birthday was one of the girls I'm friends with, I needed no excuse to crank the oven up. After having perved over a few pics of rainbow cakes on Pinterest I decided to bust out the food colouring and get involved.
It's a simple recipe but it is a little footery.  It is totally worth it though as it's a really pretty cake which got a lot of oohs and aahs once it was cut into. And, if you are anything like me, someone who revels in the cake adoration - this is the cake for you.
This is a devil's sponge cake:
  • 6 oz SR flour
  • 6 oz Castor Sugar
  • 6 oz margarine
  • 3 eggs
  • pinch baking powder
Where are the grams, you might be wondering. I know oz is pretty old fashioned but this is a typical old school sponge recipe and is the one my mum passed on to me - and she's an oz ginda gal.
I doubled the amount so I had enough for two cakes (or one double layer cake). I often do that though with a sponge cake as it's really handy to have one in the freezer which you can ice whatever way you like depending on the occasion.
Once I had thoroughly combined the ingredients I decanted about a 1/4 of it into another bowl and added in some red food colouring to give me this gorgeous pink colour. It's up to you how deep you go with your colours but I wanted to a real pastel, delicate colour and so I wasn't too heavy handed with the food dye.
I then divided the coloured mixture between two 21 inch tins, which has been generously slathered with marg. It really was a very thin layer and you need to make sure you can get it out the tin. I then popped them in the oven (160 degrees) for about 15 minutes.
My oven is fan assisted (and the door is filthy! Shameful) and is pretty damn hot and fast. I am still getting used to it (a year later) and there have been a couple of dry bakes along the way. With this in mind I whipped each cake out after no more than15 minutes. They are so thin that they really don't take long at all. I removed the baked cake and repeated this exact same process 4 times, 3 times with coloured sponge and once without any colouring.
The only difference was that with the coloured ones I added just a touch more flour as by this time it had been quite a while since the batter had been made and I felt it needed just a little more structure.

Once you have 4 layers of different colours and they are completely cool it's time to get the icing on the go. I actually made these cakes about 5 days before I needed them (it was my last opportunity thanks to a bonkers week) froze them and iced them straight from the freezer. It's really preferable to ice them defrosted so the cake is in it's finished shape  - you can see the ridges in mine.
There is only one thing better than icing and this is cream cheese icing. In fact, I may be drooling while simply typing the words. It's case of beating together very soft butter, full fat cream cheese and icing sugar. This is a lovely recipe from The Pink Whisk. Then simply build up your layer of cake and icing.
Please excuse my Celebrations tub lid. I really need a proper cake carrier but until such a thing falls into my lap (from Santa maybe!) I have to make it on the lid of my tub so I can then easily carry it to work while sealed in the upside down box. You can see my cake is still frozen as it's sitting at rather a jaunty angle. It soon calmed down a a bit and I iced the edges too. I finished it off with some old style silver balls to make it look just that wee bit special.

PS) The only pic I have of inside was hurriedly taken at the birthday girl's desk so it's not really the best.

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