All the cool kids are doing it. And I'm not talking about smoking pot or getting your belly button pierced or giving *cough* unnecessary levels of affection to boys at parties or drinking bourbon/vodka/whatever the week's "in" drink is until you spew or pashing your bestie's boyfriend.
No. We've (okay, they've - I was never a cool kid) all reached a higher level of maturity now (one hopes) and baking is cool again. Did ya get the memo??
(I would like to go on the record as saying that I was baking before it became cool again, so perhaps it is I who is responsible for the resurgance... Yeah, I don't buy it either...)
And these ladies are doing it in style -
Rosie, aka Sweetapolita
Susan, aka ChocolateSuz
Kaitlin, aka Whisk Kid
If you happened to click through you'll notice a glow that I think Kaitlin started and Rosie fanned into a healthy flame. Actually, Martha made it really famous but Rosie brought it to the forefront of the bloggy world, as far as I'm aware. (And, on the side, how awesome would it be if Martha found something she liked on my blog and re-published it??? That would be AWESOME!!!)
That's right, I'm talking about the rainbow cake. It has been on my 101 Things list, mocking me, for around 350 days... And I finally made it! It was for my BFF Kaye's birthday and due to a few dietary issues amongst the consumers I made it gluten and dairy free. So yes, I was a Betty Crocker Cheat because hey, when you need to muck about dividing your cake batter into six precise batches and then dye them you don't really want to be mucking about with from-scratch baking. Actually, I was a Basco Cheat, but let's not split hairs.
2 boxes of Basco sponge cake mix, 6 eggs, 1c water, 200g dairy and gluten free white chocolate, 1 small carton lactose free cream (UHT), 1 bag frozen raspberries, 1 tub Nuttlex and 2 bags pure icing sugar. Oh plus essence of your choice to make the Nuttlex buttercream you will make taste less feral. And food dye - I have the Americolor student kit.
Make up cake mix, divide into six bowls evenly by weight, dye whatever colour you want (I went red-orange-yellow-green-blue-purple, using my Americolour student kit, and put about 2 drops in each, with the exception of the purple/violet which I added a drop of fuschia to in order to give the colour a bit of depth), and cook in pairs in greased, lined sandwich pans (I used industrial Pancoat but assume the usual grease/line business is the go. Follow the directions on your cake mix box!). Bake for about 30% less time than the mix specifies, because the cake is much smaller and will dry out much faster.
Meanwhile, make the ganache. Heat up cream until bubbles form, then remove from heat/microwave and add chopped white (lactose free - Woolworths stocks it, at least, they do online) chocolate. Allow to sit for a moment, then stir until of a consistent texture. Now, I was winging this step so there was a bit of trial and error involved. I ended up tipping off a whole lot of cream that I shouldn't have, and ended up with a solid mass when I left it overnight. So, back to square one and luckily I had a second carton of lactose free cream on hand! I used about 1/3 of the second container so I imagine you need at least 1/2 a container, if not 3/4. Anyway, allow this to set in the fridge. It shouldn't be rock solid, just pleasantly thick and stirrable. You can whip ganache which was my original plan, but my first lot was too hard and the second lot was too runny!
Meanwhile-meanwhile, defrost the packet of raspberries (i.e. leave on the bench) and once they've thawed, cut the bottom corner off the bag and balance it on a heavy whiskey tumbler (or similar) to drain the juice out. Once that's done, add the raspberries to your white chocolate ganache and smoosh around. Resist the urge to eat it because even though it's lactose free and has that distinct, sweet, soy flavour about it, it still tastes really nice!
Meanwhile-meanwhile-meanwhile, make up some buttercream. Mine was dairy free, using about 2/3 of a tub of Nuttlex and close to 2 bags of pure icing sugar. I was too lazy to sift it so I didn't. I just whipped the Nuttlex up with it and kept adding icing sugar until it tasted right and had the texture I wanted (fairly fluffy). I also added a big spoonful of vanilla bean paste to take away the icky Nuttlex flavour, which gave my cake a grainy, rustic finish which I quite like.
Brush cooled cakes with a bit of the raspberri juice to moisten them (because I bet you overcooked it like me). Don't go too nuts - you don't want soggy cake. Then, using a #12 tip (large-ish round), pipe a dam with buttercream because you know your ganache is too runny to stay put!
Use 1/5th of the raspberry-white chocolate ganache per layer. Repeat the process, starting from the bottom layer and working your way up (purple-blue-green-yellow-orange-red) like so: brush with juice, pipe a dam, fill the dam with ganache, add the next layer. Repeat. I cheated in coating the cake because I have a large plastic piping tip that looks a lot like the narrow slot hairdryer attatchment which makes it far easier to cover the sides of a cake - you pipe the icing on, and then smooth it out. Have a friend take a photo of you smoothing icing at the kitchen table which is clearly too low a work surface for you, where you can't quite tell which part of the photo is in focus but suspect it may be a polka dot on your apron.
Decorate with cute li'l flowers you learned to pipe in royal icing the day before. (I'll write a tutorial on that one day, I promise!) Admire your handiwork.
And when you cut into the inside, prepare to be amazed. Even though you know exactly what's inside you will still be amazed.
Now, don't forget that you need only eat a verrrrrry skinny slice, because it's basically two cakes stacked atop one other. And you'd better believe that people will volunteer to bring cake home with them, and that all that will remain is a shattered, desolate slice.
Not to bad for gluten free, lactose free cake! And now I've checked another thing off my 101 Things list. Whoohoo :)