Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rainbow Cakes

Here's a funny story. I'm full of them lately. Funny how most things I make are the collision of two wholly unrelated events that one day, due to stars and planets unexpectedly aligning, suddenly make perfect sense together.

Event #1: Months ago, the internet collectively gasped upon seeing this beautiful rainbow cake. Well, the part of the internet I read, anyway. We oohed. We ahhed. I promptly did not think about it until almost a year later, because apparently that's how long it takes me to process things.

Event #2: Funny thing. Just before my friend's birthday, for which I had made our special pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, I got sick. I've been living pretty high-throttle lately, so it's not that surprising. Anyway, I had the box sitting on my desk at work but was not there to deliver it, and by the time I did get back they just weren't fresh. Also some of the oil had leeched out into the paper box, causing my coworkers some concern. Anyway.

I used my from-scratch cake recipe, that so far has only failed me when I tried to deviate from it. This time I didn't, but the butter wasn't soft enough. Not really a big deal, but it made the batter kind of lumpy. But, it was important to under-mix it, since there would be significant mixing later.

I have exactly six of these pretty amber ramekins. There are six colors in the traditional rainbow. Coincidence?

The most daunting part of this cake is evenly distributing the batter not once, but twice. It came out to be about two generous soup spoons plus a little extra. If you're looking for an exact recipe ... you have come to the wrong place. Ultimately you end up with this:

Kind of reminds me of those watercolor paint kits from grade school.

Dropping the batter into 12 muffin cups was, by far, the hardest step. Although I wouldn't say it was particularly hard. By the time I got to yellow I was doing pretty well - it took about a regular table spoon's worth of batter to make it through (and the last one I used a spatula to scrape the ramekin, so I think I measured pretty well). I even rotated which muffin cup I started with. I am not obsessive at all.

I checked them at the 30 minute mark, and they were still really bubbly, so I set them for another 15. Ten minutes would have been better (total cook time, according to my oven, 40 minutes). It took me a long time to distribute the batter, though, so I wasn't very confident that the colors hadn't bled together at the bottom.

Obviously everything came out just fine. They make a huge visual impact, which is really cool. Imagine bringing these to your kid's school bake sale. You'd be the coolest mom (or dad) ever.

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