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Rainbow birthday cake – two ways

16 Mar

Rainbow cake

K1’s 8th birthday sleepover was One Direction and red/black/white themed, so I had planned to make a matching cake – round, chocolate layer cake (tinted black) with white frosting and filling.

However, the sleepover was the day after her actual birthday, so I still had to make a cake for her birthday.  I decided on a rainbow cake because I love how they look.  She suggested a heart shape, and because I only have one round tin, but two heart-shaped ones (I prefer cupcakes…) and I’d be baking six different cakes, I figured hearts were the way to go.  Anyway, I made the six different cakes, then realised that if I just stacked them as they were, plus filling, the end result would be a cake about 8 inches wide but about 15 inches tall – not a good look… so I sliced them in half and just used half of each cake.  It was still pretty tall.  I used Solite as a filling and covering, then changed the colour of some leftover Whip ‘N Ice and piped basic borders and threw some sprinkles on.  Easy.

Here’s the finished product for the birthday cake (it was night-time when we cut it, so I couldn’t get a nice photo of the first slice coming out – everyone just wanted to eat it!):

Rainbow cake with Solite and Whip 'N Ice

Rainbow cake with Solite and Whip 'N Ice

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The damage (food styling was not my priority at this point in time…)

Remember I had only used half the rainbow cakes…  I didn’t want to have them hanging around in the freezer so I decided to use them for the party cake as well.  So I went through the whole bloody process again.  I already had a One Direction rice-paper topper, but it was of course round, and didn’t really fit on the heart, but I’ve seen worse cakes so I’m not having a tanty about it.  The kids at the party all ooh-ed and ahh-ed when they saw the rainbow slices come out, and people loved the frosting (all Solite, baby).  Black glitter and white sprinkles tied it all in with the black and white theme – I don’t care that the inside wasn’t black and white, too, since the kids seemed to like it so much.   Again, no photos once it was cut (why do I always seem to cut cakes at night?), but here’s one I managed to grab before it got butchered.

Rainbow cake

I used cheap (73c) vanilla cake mixes because they are quick and easy and I went for quantity over quality… I only used three of them to make the six cakes, so I got two full layer cakes for just $2.19 plus a few dollars worth of Solite, a little milk and 3 eggs – the whole lot would have cost less than ten bucks for both.  Bargainsville.

Yes, they look old-school, but that is the intention… the outside looks plain and boring, but then BAM!  Rainbow cake, mofos!

The cakes that had been in the freezer overnight tasted better, for some reason.  It was amazing.   One of the neighbours said she wants me to make all her cakes from now on, so I wasn’t the only one who thought it was awesome! I may or may not have had the last piece for breakfast.  Om nom nom.

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Basic buttercake recipe

8 Mar

This recipe is from the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book (see their Chocolate Cake recipe here).  It has always turned out really well and is what I’m referring to if I say I’ve made a buttercake.

Ingredients – for deep 15cm/6″ round,  shallow 20cm/8″ round, 18cm/7″ square (all cook 40-45 mins):

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 & 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup milk

Ingredients (doubled) – for 22-23cm/9″ round or square (cook 50-60 minutes), 20cm/8″ x 30cm/12″ lamington tin (cook 35 mins):

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 & 1/2 cups caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup milk

Ingredients (trebled) – for 30cm/8″ square (cook 1 hour, 15 mins):

  • 375g butter, softened
  • 3 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 & 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 & 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups milk

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC
  • Grease and flour, or line, the cake tin
  • Cream sugar, butter and vanilla essence until light and fluffy
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time until combined
  • Fold in flour and milk, in two batches
  • Spread mixture in prepared tin
  • Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean
  • Turn onto wire rack to cool

These are things I’m willing to get to the bottom of

23 Feb

Ten points to you if you got the movie reference.  You win the internets.  Let’s talk cake, because…why the fuck wouldn’t we?!

For an intelligent person who has eaten at least quadruple their fair share of cake, I am pretty confused about some things cake-related.

I keep seeing American recipes for “White Cake”, but I have always wondered how they differ from Yellow Cake, Pound Cake, etc  I read a comment online where someone said they couldn’t make a White Cake, so they made a Vanilla Cake – how different can they be?  I wondered what makes a White Cake white and a Yellow Cake yellow, (besides the quite obvious ‘colour’ thing) and why a Vanilla Cake isn’t either one of those, either.

So here goes.  According to the interwebs:

  • Yellow Cake:  Is yellow because it contains just the yolks of eggs, butter and wholemeal flour (i.e. slightly coloured).  It has more flavour on its own.
  • White Cake: Is white because it contains the whites of the eggs only, shortening and plain flour (i.e. white).  It is more bland, so tends to go better with more flavourful frosting/additions.
  • Vanilla Cake:  Is a combination of the two; uses the both the yolk and the whites of the eggs, butter and white flour (either self-raising or plain).  Pretty much equivalent to a Butter Cake, which I would say is the most “typical” kind of cake in Australia if you’re not making a sponge or chocolate cake.
  • Pound Cake:  It’s made with a pound each (or the same ratio, but in smaller quantities) of flour, butter, eggs and sugar.  Feels and tastes like a brick.  Basically equivalent to a Madeira Cake.
  • We all know what Sponge Cake is.

(Of course flavouring, sugar and milk etc would be added as necessary to the above ingredients, but I’m focussing on what contributes to the colour of the actual cake).

Ok, it’s not so hard so far, except I also see a lot of White Cake recipes that use butter instead of shortening (SPOILER ALERT: butter is yellow, so who the hell knows how that makes sense).  Australian butter is fairly yellow so I’m anticipating being fairly disappointed with the lack of whiteness, but we’ll see what happens.

I wanted to give it a crack because fluffy white cake with fluffy white frosting is basically my dream cake, so I’m on the search for a good recipe.  I’ve found this one on sweetapolita.com, and this one on iambaker.net and I am going to try one of them out (not yet sure which one).  I have a new frosting that I want to try, too.  Prepare to be underwhelmed.

Chocolate cake recipe

8 Feb

Generally I just use a basic buttercake recipe and throw in half a cup or so of cocoa, and voilà… chocolate!

But here is a ‘proper’ chocolate cake recipe.  It comes from the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book.

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 1/3 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa (powdered)
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 & 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC
  • Grease and flour, or line, the cake tin
  • Sift cocoa powder and flour into a bowl
  • Add rest of ingredients and stir to combine
  • Beat until mixture is smooth and has lightened in colour
  • Spread mixture in prepared tin
  • Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean
  • Turn onto wire rack to cool

Banana cake

1 Feb

Banana cake

We had some left over bananas this week, so I thought I’d make a cake to use them up.  This is a pretty basic recipe, and there’s no creaming the butter and sugar together, so it’s fairly quick, too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 2/3 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 50g butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 medium bananas, mashed

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC and line a tin with baking paper
  • Sift dry ingredients together
  • Mix together wet ingredients (excluding banana)
  • Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir to combine
  • Add banana and stir to combine
  • Pour mixture into tin (about 1/2 to 2/3 full) and spread out evenly, if necessary
  • Bake for around 30-35 minutes, until cooked

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I put the cake in the freezer for about half an hour afterwards, so that it stayed moist.  It is super moist and is very nice with a little butter.  We’re keeping it in the fridge and just cutting a slice off here and there.  The kids love it.

The kids chose to use two shallow heart shaped tins for this, but I would probably use a loaf or deep round tin next time.

There was some mixture left over and I just added a handful of mixed, dried fruit and nuts to it and made muffins – I’ll be taking those in my lunch this week!