Celebration Rainbow Cake

Rainbows mean happiness in my book. They are pretty, represent the sun coming out, and can even have emotional meanings (look up rainbow babies if interested, but I will note that this was not my motivation, in case you were curious). Mostly, I am just excited to see them because they are beautiful and exciting. You never know when the next one will happen.

So, I feel it is appropriate to share this cake today on a week when I have happy news to share (on Thursday). We are just finishing a Maryland trip where we had plans to see lots of family, friends, the ocean (the Fudgelet’s first visit to see it and my uncle), crabs, hot weather (we don’t get much of that here), and the like. I am writing this in advance but know I will feel both happy to be returning home and a bit sad to be leaving everyone behind for a long time. We’re hoping to have some visitors this fall/winter with plans already in the works.

The Fudgelet and I made this cake together, and it was fun. He enjoyed stirring the colors into the batter and watching me pour the colors into the pans. We made a small cake because we didn’t have any need for a large cake…just enough to eat it as our small family before it would get stale.

And of course, since he was helping me, the cake had to have sprinkles.

Enjoy all of life’s rainbows and sprinkles!

Directions for Celebration Rainbow Cake

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated March/April 2008

Fluffy Yellow Cake

  • 5 ounces cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 5 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature (I used buttermilk powder)
  • 4.5 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 egg yolks and 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • Food coloring (I recommend the gel kind)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 6-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper circles. If desired, dust with some cake flour to help prevent sticking (I skipped it, but the cakes were a bit sticky). Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, (buttermilk powder if using), salt, and 3/4 cup of sugar together in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, buttermilk (or water if using buttermilk powder), oil, vanilla, and egg yolks.

In your stand mixer bowl, use the whisk attachment to beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds.

With the machine on, add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, beating until stiff peaks form (another minute). Either use a different mixing bowl, or scrape the egg whites into a different bowl, use an empty mixing bowl, again with the whisk attachment, stirring the flour mixture on low speed. Then slowly pour in the butter mixture and mix until almost combined (leave some flour streaks). Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl and whisk, then beat until smooth and well-combined.

With a spatula, stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the mixing bowl, then fold the remaining egg whites into the batter until no white streaks remain.

Divide the batter evenly into enough bowls for your different food colors (I did 6 of the rainbow colors, leaving off Indigo). Add food coloring to each bowl, gently stirring it in to get your desired colors.

Pour half of each color into the cake pans, pouring in the centers, allowing the colors to spread out. I started with the darkest colors (purple, blue) and worked my way to red.

You can do the reverse as well, just know that the first color might get trimmed off so either mix more of that batter or don’t worry about it. Tap the cake pans against the counter a couple times to remove any large air bubbles, then place in the oven (not touching each other).

Bake the cakes until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake layers begin to pull away from the sides of the pans. This will take about 25-35 minutes. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans, loosening the sides with a knife if necessary. Invert onto the wire pan, remove the parchment paper, then invert again and cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling, you can start the frosting because it can sit for 3 hours. Otherwise, refrigerate the frosting and let it sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before you can use it.

Chocolate Frosting

  • 10 Tablespoons butter, softened (60-65 degrees F)
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

With a food processor, process the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt until smooth (3o seconds or so), scraping the bowl as needed. Add the corn syrup and vanilla, processing until just combined. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary, then add the chocolate and pulse until smooth and creamy.

You can use the frosting now, or within 3 hours. Otherwise, refrigerate it and let it sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before using it.

Directions for Celebration Rainbow Cake (without pictures)

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated March/April 2008

Fluffy Yellow Cake

  • 5 ounces cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 5 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature (I used buttermilk powder)
  • 4.5 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 egg yolks and 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • Food coloring (I recommend the gel kind)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 6-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper circles. If desired, dust with some cake flour to help prevent sticking (I skipped it, but the cakes were a bit sticky). Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, (buttermilk powder if using), salt, and 3/4 cup of sugar together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, buttermilk (or water if using buttermilk powder), oil, vanilla, and egg yolks.

In your stand mixer bowl, use the whisk attachment to beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With the machine on, add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, beating until stiff peaks form (another minute). Either use a different mixing bowl, or scrape the egg whites into a different bowl, use an empty mixing bowl, again with the whisk attachment, stirring the flour mixture on low speed. Then slowly pour in the butter mixture and mix until almost combined (leave some flour streaks). Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl and whisk, then beat until smooth and well-combined.

With a spatula, stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the mixing bowl, then fold the remaining egg whites into the batter until no white streaks remain. Divide the batter evenly into enough bowls for your different food colors (I did 6 of the rainbow colors, leaving off Indigo). Add food coloring to each bowl, gently stirring it in to get your desired colors.

Pour half of each color into the cake pans, pouring in the centers, allowing the colors to spread out. I started with the darkest colors (purple, blue) and worked my way to red. You can do the reverse as well, just know that the first color might get trimmed off so either mix more of that batter or don’t worry about it. Tap the cake pans against the counter a couple times to remove any large air bubbles, then place in the oven (not touching each other).

Bake the cakes until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake layers begin to pull away from the sides of the pans. This will take about 25-35 minutes. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans, loosening the sides with a knife if necessary. Invert onto the wire pan, remove the parchment paper, then invert again and cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling, you can start the frosting because it can sit for 3 hours. Otherwise, refrigerate the frosting and let it sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before you can use it.

Chocolate Frosting

  • 10 Tablespoons butter, softened (60-65 degrees F)
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

With a food processor, process the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt until smooth (3o seconds or so), scraping the bowl as needed. Add the corn syrup and vanilla, processing until just combined. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary, then add the chocolate and pulse until smooth and creamy. You can use the frosting now, or within 3 hours. Otherwise, refrigerate it and let it sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before using it.

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