Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rainbow Velvet and Marshmallow Clouds

When I was a kid, I loved Lisa Frank stationary. Remember that stuff? It was bright and colorful, and even at age nine, when you should be a little too old for stickers, I had a sticker collection which consisted mostly of Lisa Frank and Sanrio stuff. This rainbow cake reminds me of a Lisa Frank collection and of being a kid. In fact, I believe I was humming the Reading Rainbow theme song while affixing the clouds onto the sky… “Butterflies in the sky, I can go twice as high…

A cousin of a friend of a friend (right?) was planning her daughter’s first rainbow themed birthday party and had this cake in mind. I was super excited, you have no idea. Lately I’ve gotten opportunities to challenge my skills and make things that I couldn’t justify doing just for fun. Except wedding cakes. When I start getting more than 4 hours sleep a night, I realize I’m just being a lazy blub, and I start making wedding cakes. Just for fun. I kid. It’s usually 5 hours of sleep. But these opportunities actually justify all my trips to Costco for embarrasing amounts of butter. 

I’ve made marshmallow clouds before and I think the idea is really really cute and I’m so glad I got to make them again. It’s just Martha’s piping marshmallow, with a 3/8” round tip (the same one I use for macarons) piped into free form cloud shapes. They are fixed onto the fondant cake with royal icing. I was pressed for time, however, and used a toothpick to hold the clouds on as the royal icing dried. I wish I could take credit for the cake topper, but this creative mommy actually ordered this figurine to be custom made to her little girl’s photo, favorite bear and birthday outfit! It’s just so insanely cute. It hurts.

I’ve been on a red velvet kick lately and I thought to make the cake a “rainbow velvet” which would have some of the same great “velvet” complexity. I used a double batch of my wedding cake recipe, omitting the cocoa and leaving the baking soda/vinegar emulsion to the end to be mixed separately for each portion before baking. Once the batter was mixed, I portioned out into seven bowls (using a scale) and mixed my colors in. Since I only have three 8” pans, the baking was done in three batches. Yes, I waited for each batch to cool enough, re-washed, re-greased, and re-parchmented. This is also where I learned that stacking your pans on two different levels in the oven results in uneven cake layers (no convection oven here) even when using cake strips. Luckily, with the thickness I needed the layers to be, I torted off essentially all of the unevenness. With seven layers, it was necessary to really get these even and level while building on them so they would be structurally sound as well as aesthetically pleasing. I used a ruler, as cake leveler and a cake knife to do it. A thinner layer of cream cheese frosting went in between to keep the layers from sliding around or icing from oozing out from the weight of the stack, but with seven layers, I was not worried that there wouldn’t be enough frosting to cake ratio.

The cake was complemented with a set of Lemon Cupcakes and Coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream, which was a standard SMBC recipe with added reduced coconut milk.

I'll post the recipe soon-ish!...

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