eating rainbows

The most delicious one year old in all the land was celebrating her very first birthday, and I got to make the cake! Holly isn't a super fluffy pink girl, but I thought I'd indulge and make a mega-pink cake regardless, because I'd been wanting to for AGES, and I was certain Holly wouldn't mind at all. The word "ombre" has been annoying me everywhere lately, so I thought I'd be bang on trend and copy this beautiful cake and this beautiful cake (I just realised both of those are from February - once again I have failed to be bang on trend...) 

I was going for neon...

I was going for neon...

Holly's birthday cake

The recipe I used is this one and I have to say I've been looking for a really all-American white birthday cake recipe forEVER, and this ticks all the boxes. I've reproduced it below, doubled for the purposes of this cake, and with conversions for the UK. I've also altered it for use with plain flour (cake flour isn't available over here, anyone know why?!)

440g plain flour 
8 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
8 egg whites (i bought a carton of liquid egg white and used 240g)
675g caster sugar
340g butter (room temperature)
1 pint/473ml milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract

Heat oven to 170C, line four 9in round pans (I only have one so I had to do four rounds in the oven! Fun.)

Measure the sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Then sift together three times. Beat the egg whites until they are foamy, then gradually add half a cup of the sugar until soft peaks form. 

Cream the butter and once it's definitely creamy add the remaining sugar and cream them together until light and fluffy (this can take a while.) Alternate adding the dry mixture and the milk a little bit at a time, beating until smooth in between each addition. Mix in the almond and vanilla and then beat in the meringue until all is well combined. 

Weigh your mix and then use the scales to split it evenly between 4 bowls. Add varying degrees of gel food colour and mix each thoroughly (I used Americolor Electric Pink). Pour each different colour into a different tin and bake 30-35 minutes. Leave to cool in tin for 10 mins before transferring to a wire rack and cooling completely. 

Once the cakes are completely cool you can begin to ice. I wanted a reliable, yummy buttercream so used Sweetapolita's whipped vanilla frosting - it's super easy and delicious and perfect for birthday cakes. The link above gives you exactly the right amount for this four layer cake. Once made I iced the cake between layers with a little vanilla frosting and a little raspberry jam, to offset the almond in the cake. Then I stacked and crumb-coated the cake and sat it in the fridge for an hour or so.  

To do the rainbow swirly icing I split the icing into three bowls and mixed each with different colour gel icing (Americolor Electric Pink and Electric Blue, I think, but barely any of each). I started with the top of the cake, smoothing it so that the icing hung over the sides a little, then I very roughly added rows in different colours to the sides. Once the icing was on, I vaguely followed these instructions from Apt 2B Baking Co to swirl the icing upwards using the end of the palette knife and the cake turntable. Topped with some garish sprinkles and edible gold stars it was pretty much PERFECT! 

We had to miss the party and zip off on holiday to Wales, but I hear Holly ate the entire cake, and loved it.