I did it! And with no major disasters, upsets, re-dos or tears. Thank goodness. I’ve been looking for an excuse to attempt a rainbow cake for a while. My nanna’s 78th birthday was the perfect occasion – mainly because she loves anything and everything I make. I used Whisk Kid‘s recipe and instructions; go to her blog to watch her make the cake on the Martha Stewart show. I baked the cakes yesterday afternoon and made the first batch of icing last night. Then, I stacked the layers and did a crumb coating of icing and let the cake sit overnight. Most recipes suggest only gel colouring will do for this cake; however, I used liquid food colour and the results look vivid enough to me. I have ordered a full set of gel colours from Little Betsy Baker’s stocktake, sale so I will use them for my next rainbow cake. The only container big enough to hold the cake and stand was my cupcake courier, with the trays removed.
This morning, I made the second batch of icing and finished the cake. (The recipe specifies the quantities for each batch). The icing is Swiss meringue buttercream. This is the first time I’ve made it. It is a combination of sugar, egg whites, butter and vanilla. The recipe wasn’t too tricky and the first batch was perfect. There was enough to spread generous amounts between each cake layer and for the crumb coating. Batch number two was smaller and enough to cover the cake. This batch was a little problematic and I was afraid it wasn’t going to turn out properly, as the mixture took a while to come together in the mixer. Eventually, though, the icing turned out fine as the trusty Kitchenaid did her stuff. I would not have been able to make the icing without it. The second batch of icing has more of a yellow colour than the first. I’m not sure why yet. I’ll definitely make this type of icing again. I need to invest in some decorating tools and a larger cake plate but I managed with what I had.
And yes, Nanna loved it.
Click here for the recipe, instructions and video from Whisk Kid
Click here to see another awesome rainbow cake from Sweetapolita
These are my two basic frosting/icing recipes. I don’t usually measure the ingredients but here is a basic method:
Cream Cheese Frosting
About 400g cream cheese, softened
4 cups sifted icing sugar mixture
1 cup (about 230g) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.
250g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Icing sugar mixture
Beat butter with electric mixer until soft and whipped.
Add sifted icing sugar mixture 1 cup at a time and mix until well combined. Keep adding icing sugar until you get the consistency and taste you like. If it gets a little dry add some milk.
Seven poor little un-iced white chocolate mud cupcakes sitting in a container feeling unpretty. What to do? Turn them in to koalas of course! The directions are in the current issue of New Idea magazine, but the basics are grey buttercream frosting, coconut, marshmallows, black jelly beans and brown mini M&Ms.
White chocolate mud cupcakes with buttercream frosting.
Update: And the winner is…
Q: What do you do with a chocolate mud cupcake that is just a little too crumbly?
A: Mix it with vanilla ice cream, top with peppermint buttercream frosting and enter it into December’s Cupcake Hero contest!
Cupcake Hero is a monthly cupcake baking competition, with a different key ingredient each month. Read about December’s theme here.
I decided to enter this month, however my poor chocolate mudcakes where just too crumbly for me to be happy. So I whipped out some vanilla ice cream and Voila! Chocolate and ice cream and peppermint and buttercream, er, cupcakes!
1. Take cool cupcakes and crumble into pieces. Mix the pieces with soft (but not too soft) vanilla ice cream.
2. Spoon ice cream mix into ramekins or small bowls.
3. Make buttercream frosting with a dash of peppermint essence and a tiny dash of green food colouring.
4. Pipe frosting onto the top of your “cupcake” and eat with a spoon!
Santa also brought a new tip for my piping bag. The No. 2110 (1M) is the attachment you need to create great big swirls of icing to pile on top of your cupcakes. It usually requires a large coupler (the plastic part to attach the tip to the bag), however, you could probably get away with not using one — just slide the tip into your bag. Here is a good explanation of how to make swirls with your No. 2110.
For Wilton products in Sydney, try The Essential Ingredient in Crows Nest, Peters of Kensington in Kensington or eBay. Unfortunately, Wilton’s online store does not ship internationally.
Santa came early to Katie’s Kitchen, bringing with him some Wilton Icing Colors. They are small jars of colour paste, for colouring icing and fondant. A small amount of the paste will create a more vibrant and deeper coloured icing than supermarket-bought liquid food colouring. I find the paste is convenient when making coloured fondant, as you need only a small amount of paste, which means less colour ends up on your hands. For some tips on colouring icing click here and here.
The red and green fondant balls on the left (in the picture below) were coloured using Wilton Icing Colors “Red Red” and “Kelly Green”. The red balls on the right were coloured with a large amount of Queen Pillar Box Red Food Colouring. The Wilton colour is warmer than the pinkish tones of the Queen food colouring.
I found this coffee cake recipe in my late mum’s cookbook, so I have no idea where it originally comes from. I made it a few years ago, in loaf tins, with chocolate icing. I personally don’t like coffee flavour so I haven’t tasted this one. Coffee drinkers seemed to approve!
Today, I used a different version of the same recipe; it was given to me by Liz, who was a good friend of my mum. My mum gave her recipe to Liz sometime back in the 1980s, when we were next-door neightbours. Liz has modified the recipe slightly over the years. Back in March, before I got married, my cousin/bridesmaid held a kitchen tea for me. Each guest was asked to bring a recipe to add to my collection. Liz gave me this coffee cake recipe, along with the cake tins, serving plate, instant coffee and Cadbury flake to make it. I’m sorry Liz had to leave the kitchen tea early and didn’t get to see my open her gift. There were tears!
My husband/taste tester says the cake is light and moist. Today, I did not ice the top — only between the two layers — and served it warm, with vanilla ice cream.