We recently celebrated a second birthday for our sweet little girl. She’s not to the point of having a favorite color yet, but she’s learning colors right now and I wanted to have a colorful cake for her. Forgive the phone pictures — it was late when I baked.
Looks delicious, right? And colorful — wait, what’s that? No?
How about now?
This cake was a lot of fun to make and, for the record, my first layer cake. Here are the steps so you can make your very own.
You can use any white cake mix or recipe; I used the vanilla cupcake recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking, which is my go-to. For two layers, you’ll need to make a double batch (or just mix it up twice like I did — I only have one round cake pan). Mix up the batter and divide into six bowls. Add food coloring accordingly so that you have red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
Can you believe how technicolor that batter is?
Once you’ve got your batter prepped, add to a round 9″ cake pan. I added all of the purple first, then blue, green, yellow, orange, and red so that my rainbow would be right side up. Really, this doesn’t matter too much — it won’t go in perfect layers and will have more of a tie-dye effect.
Bake according to your recipe or package directions. If you have only one cake pan, like me, you’ll have to bake your cake and let it cool before you can remove it and then proceed with layer #2. Once layer #1 is cool, you can use a butter knife to go around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. If it’s completely cooled and you are very very lucky, it will come out of the pan clean. You’ll want to turn it upside down on your surface so that the curved top of the cake is facing down.
Voila! You can see layer #2 in the background. This picture was taken the following morning. I did this whole process in two sessions: the night before the party, I baked the cakes, let them cool, and then wrapped them individually in freezer paper and put them in the refrigerator. Then it was 11:30 and I went to bed.
The next morning, I put layer #1 on my lovely cake transporter base and then started prepping the frosting. When I say prepped, I mean I opened the tub of Duncan Hines “Fluffy White” and dumped it in the KitchenAid mixing bowl, whipping it to make it go farther and spread a little more easily. If you’re using packaged frosting, you will probably need two tubs (this will give you a little leftover for taste-testing).
Like so. I’d hoped to finish everything before this little munchkin woke up, but to no avail.
Once your frosting is ready, you’ll want to put frosting on top of layer #1 before you put layer #2 on top. I used maybe half a cup of frosting in the middle. I probably could have used more, but I wanted to be sure that I had plenty left (and I did — too much. It was delicious).
Put your second layer on top, with the curved top side facing up. I followed the directions in my cookbook for essentially doing a crumb coat. Lightly frost the sides and top of the cake and then place it in the fridge for around 30 minutes, until the frosting isn’t tacky anymore. This will help ensure that you don’t get crumbs in your frosting.
When you take the cake out of the fridge, then you’re ready to finish up your frosting. Add frosting to the sides and the top, using a butter knife (or a cake decorating smoothing tool, if you’ve got it — I don’t!) to smooth it out as you go. My motto is “When in doubt, add more frosting.”
Once you’ve got it looking pretty even and uniform, put more frosting in a plastic zipper bag and snip one of the corners, or use a cake decorating tip and bag to dot frosting around the base of the cake and the top edge. This really helped make the cake look more structured and it filled the gap at the base. Plus it added more frosting.
If you’d like, add sprinkles to the top to hint at the rainbow goodness inside.
Serve with a smile!
So my first layer cake turned out pretty darn good — and tasty, despite the ridiculous amount of food coloring that was involved.