I know, it's awful, we ate so much in New York and I keep interrupting Colin's progress with the New York Eats series but I could not wait to show you a spectacular surprise! We were very honored to be asked to make a 1st birthday cake for P's daughter, A. this past weekend.
P was an ideal client, she gave us lots of notice (essential for home bakers) and really good direction. In fact, there was only one kind of cake that she had in mind, specifically and we were happy to oblige (and have the chance to document the baking process).
The cake itself is self-explanatory. Even the crumbs are colourful. When I was little, I would have thought this cake was just absolutely perfect. I remember that I had this instant attraction to rainbow colour, markers, post-its, files, what have you. Anything multi-coloured, was amazing to me.
What I should say is that yes, if you're wondering, it does take a lot of colouring. We used food gels, which are I think, better than liquid food colouring and have less of an after-taste. And yes, the cake is still light, fluffy and very tasty. How?
Well, that's our little secret. We use only quality ingredients and unlike most bakers, we don't use shortening (yup, that plastic stuff) or bottled flavouring in our cakes or frosting. The cake and buttercream are all made using pure sugar, french butters, vanilla pods, lemon or passionfruit cream. For this cake, we make it in a butter cake, as opposed to a sponge cake, so the crumb and flavour is really good!
The cakes were lovingly baked by C, in separate tins. This cake is deceptively simple but it's actually very time-consuming, as you have to do everything, from papering the tins to cooking each layer separately, to sandwiching the buttercream frosting, 7 times. The layers were then cooled, wrapped and re-stacked, this time with butter cream.
For those who make cakes often, crumb-coating this cake, was a $&#*^ affair. Just slightly. It was really fun to watch those colourful crumbs come through the cream but if you even contemplate making this without the crumb coat... freeze that thought right there.
Even after it stood in a proud, straight cylindrical cake, I was still, obsessively, scraping away at the buttercream, which, thanks to the cold crumb coat and my efforts to lighten the cream with the mixture of whipped fresh cream, was starting to pull away from my under-coat layer. Blast, blast, blast, I thought darkly to myself, several times through this process.
We made A. a 6-inch stacked cake and 36 orange sugee (semolina) cupcakes, frosted with a light passionfruit-mango Swiss meringue buttercream and loads and loads of colourful sprinkles. This is such an immensely happy cake, I cannot even begin to describe the cuteness.
The cake was also very tall. This was due, I admit, entirely to my over-reaching nature. Why trim it into a shorter cake when you can keep all the layers? Well, after all the frosting was added, the cake was at least a good 8 inches high, as opposed to the usual cake height of 3.5 inches. For reference, that's 3/4 of a long ruler. Or the diameter of a medium pizza. It's high. And heavy. Luckily, it stood tall and proud all the way home and all the way through the party.
And then finally, the big reveal. I love it! The layers were straight, what a relief. The kids loved it (there was an audible cheer, although it could have just been general dessert-sugar-driven happiness). The cake was surprisingly easy to cut through, but it was slightly hard to manage, given my over-zealousness with the height and we wound up slicing each piece in two.
There were lots of compliments for the cake texture and the moist orange sugee cupcakes. I have to say that is one of the biggest satisfactions- to combine loveliness with tastiness and to make the parents and the little ones happy on their big day but to do so with product that is fresh, wholesome and good in every bite. It's a real blessing to be able to spend the day in the delightful company of whipped cream, sweet butter and my dear friend C, without whom this cake and much other deliciousness definitely wouldn't be possible!
* If you are interested in purchasing a rainbow cake or have a request for other celebration cakes, do drop us a line with a three-week lead time. We bake from home, which means that capacity is limited and we do need more notice, as we will only bake fresh, as close to the time of delivery as possible. Our charges are $120-$150 for a 6 inch or 8 inch rainbow cake. A cake as tall as the one featured in this post, double the usual height, is $200 for a 6 inch. The cupcakes are $3 each.