daily meal

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Rainbow Cake Tutorial

This post is going to be a little different compared to my usual recipe posts.  As some of you may know, I also like to make cakes on the side for fun, and I am often asked how I got into it and how I actually make the cakes themselves.  So I decided to dedicate this post to a little tutorial!
During college I began making cakes on the side for some extra money.  After graduating, I continued to grow my side business and began adding weddings and other catered events to my repertoire.  Now that I am done school though and am working full time, I ended up slowing down once again, and am only making them occasionally.  However, I still often get asked how I bake the cakes, how I come up with designs, and how I actually carry out the designs.  To be completely honest, I have no actual cake decorating background.  I just kept on practicing and with each cake, the finished product became better and better.  I also do my best to stick to the ideas and designs that people request, and if people do not have any specifications, then google search becomes my best friend! 

Normally I do not take photos of my cakes and pastries until they are completed, because once I am in the zone, I just trudge through until I am finished.  However, with one of my more recent cakes, that was actually for my little sister, I decided to photograph it (when I remembered) and create a step by step tutorial since this cake was honestly fairly simple and a lot of fun to make!

Rainbow Cake Tutorial

What you will need:
-1 vanilla or white cake recipe (choose your favorite), doubled
-About 5-6 cups frosting (I used my own vanilla frosting for this recipe, but it does not matter if you want to use chocolate or any other flavor frosting that your prefer)
-Satin Ice fondant in white, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple.  You can either buy all of these colors individually, or make them yourself by mixing the white fondant with the proper color. 
-Piping bag or plastic sandwich bag with a corner cut off
-Confectioners sugar for rolling out the fondant
-9in round cake pans (I have several of them, but if you only have one or two, just keep rotating them out).

Please Note:
Many people do not like fondant.  In fact, I do not even like fondant.  However, when I discovered Satin Ice, it honestly changed my outlook on fondant! Normally fondant can taste really chalky and chewy, but I love using satin ice because you can get different flavors, and I find that it is the most pliable and easiest to work with.  However, if you have a fondant recipe or brand that you like, then stick to that, but I would definitely recommend trying out satin ice. 

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to the temperature that your cake recipe calls for. 

Prepare the batter of your favorite vanilla or white cake recipe, and make sure to double it so that you have enough batter.  Divide the batter evenly amongst 6 bowls (or do 3 at a time, which is what I did to save dishes).  Dye one bowl red, another bowl orange, another yellow, etc etc until each bowl represents a color in the rainbow. 

Step 2:
Once the colors are all mixed, add each batter to a round, greased pan and place in the oven.  There will be less batter in each pan since it was divided, so don't worry if you think you have less - that is correct!  Just keep in mind that the cooking time will be less.  My cakes were done in 14 minutes, so keep an eye on them. 

Step 3:
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans.  Once cooled, flip each cake out of their respective pan.  I then immediately wrap the cakes up in tin foil or plastic wrap and place them in the freezer to chill for awhile.  Don't worry, they will stay perfectly moist! In fact, people are often shocked after eating one of my cakes when I tell them that I always freeze them after taking them out the pan.  although they are in the freezer, cakes do not really freeze all the way through anyway, and it makes cutting and decorating them A LOT easier!

Step 4:
After a couple of hours (or the next day, whenever you are decorating), remove the cakes from the freezer and cut off their tops to even them all out. 

Step 5:
Use a flat, clean surface for this next step (I just used a cutting board).  Take the purple cake and place it cut side down.  Pipe a layer of frosting on top.  Piping the frosting helps to give a nice clean layer of frosting when you cut into it later.  Once the layer of frosting is piped on, even the frosting out if needed.  Then, take the blue cake and place it cut side up on top of the purple cake.  Make sure you have the blue layer cut side up and not cut side down like you did with the purple layer.  Basically, what you will be doing, is rotating each layer of cake, cut side up and cut side down.  This helps to keep everything even and clean. 

Frost the top of the blue layer, and then place the green cake on top, cut side down.  Continue frosting each layer and placing the cakes on top of one another, rotating the cut sides, until you have this: 

Step 6:
Take a long, sharp knife, and cut part of the cake off.  I did not cut it evenly down the middle, but rather, I purposely cut it unevenly so that I had a larger piece to work with and would waste less cake.  
Once you cut the cake, you can either eat the smaller piece, save it for another use, make cake pops out of it, etc etc.  Just make sure you save the larger section since this will be your rainbow! Take the larger section, and wrap it up again with tin foil or plastic wrap, place in the freezer, and freeze for a few minutes. 

Step 7:
While your cake is in the freezer, take a cake board and cover tightly in tin foil.  I always use cardboard cake boards so that is why I wrap them, but you could use a flat serving dish if you have one.  Once the board is wrapped, take a dollop of frosting and place it in the center of the board.  This will act as glue and help to keep your cake in place once you place it on the board. 

Step 8:
Remove the cake from the freezer and carefully unwrap it.  Place the cake, cut side down, on the cake board, and press it down slightly to make sure it sticks into the frosting.  Once the cake is centered on the board, evenly frost the entire outside of the cake.  

Step 9:
Roll out a chunk of the Satin Ice white fondant and use powdered sugar to keep it from sticking.  Roll it out until it is nice and thin and then drape it over the entire cake.  Slowly start to lightly press and smooth out the fondant on top of the cake.  The frosting will act as the glue for the fondant, so make sure when you start to press and smooth it out, that it is placed on evenly. There will be extra fondant hanging off of the side, so just use a knife to cut that off.  

Once the cake is completely covered in fondant, roll out the red fondant just like you did with the white, only this time, cut it into a long rectangular shape.  Take a damp paper towel and lightly wet the top of the cake before placing the red fondant on top.  The water helps to hold pieces of fondant together.  Place the red fondant piece just over the top of the cake (the top of the arch) and allow it to slightly go over the edge as well.  Lightly press down to seal.  Continue rolling out each color of fondant into thin strips, lightly wetting the cake, and then placing each strip down one at a time. 

Step 10:
When all of the strips are on the cake, take a clean, damp, paper towel and lightly rub it all over the entire cake.  This will help to remove any of the sugar that was left from rolling and help to give the cake an overall shine. 

Using your piping bag and frosting, pipe little twirls and circles around the bottom to create the clouds in order to complete the look.  Then, after all of your hard work, dig in and enjoy! :)

Please feel free to leave comments and/or contact me if you have any other questions! Also, feel free to check out some other cakes that I have made...

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  1. You are SO talented, Elyse! Your rainbow can is a stunner...as are all the cakes you showcased. I will be checking out Satin Ice...thanks for the tip :)

  2. My mother made fancy cakes.
    The Rainbow Cake is wonderful.
    The Rainbow Cake can go well for any occasion.