The rainbow cake is a happy cake. We’ve seen adults reduced to acting like overexcited children whenever a pretty one is procured. That’s why this sweet, colourful fad has become a permanent fixture in practically every café. Why not whip up one for a change? Sure, baking it from scratch is not as easy as shaking out a box of Betty Crocker pre-mix, but the results are way more gratifying. This white cake recipe is easier to master than the finicky sponge cake batter that many cake shops use. While it uses only egg whites, you won’t have to whip them to stiff peaks to get a soft, fluffy texture. Instead, they are simply mixed into the batter so there’s less room for error. What you get is a light yet sturdy cake slathered with tangy cream cheese. And bragging rights.
Makes a 9-inch layer cake for 10 pax
For the cake:
488g cake flour, sifted
1½ tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
340g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
430g caster sugar
9 large egg whites
2 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
2 tsp vanilla extract
a few drops of mint, pink, peach, blue, yellow and violet food colouring
For the frosting:
500g cream cheese, softened at room temperature
180g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 180°C & position rack in the middle. Grease and line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake tins with baking paper. Cut out 4 extra pieces of paper to fit the bottom of the tins and set aside.
2. To prepare cake, sift cake flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, use paddle attachment and beat butter at medium-high speed until creamy, for about 30 sec. Gradually add sugar and beat at high speed till light, for about 2 min.
4. Reduce speed to low and add the egg whites, alittle at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
5. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla.
6. Adjust speed to low and add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions. Stop mixing as soon as the flour is incorporated.
7. Divide batter equally between six bowls — use a weighing scale if necessary. Tint each bowl with a drop or two of food colouring and stir to mix evenly. Go easy on the colouring.
8. Pour in two bowls of batter into the two cake tins (one per tin) and bake for about 10 to 12 min. The cake is done when it springs back as you touch its centre with your finger (it shouldn’t leave a dent).
9. Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool in their tins for about 5 min on a rack. Then carefully remove cakes from the tins and cool completely on the cooling rack. When the cakes are cool, transfer them to a sheet of cling film or baking paper so that they are easier to handle later.
10. Wash tins and line the bottoms with paper again. Repeat steps 8 and 9. Repeat once more with the remaining cake batter. Preferably, refrigerate cake layers for at least an hour before frosting.
11. To prepare frosting, place all the ingredients into a clean mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed till smooth.
12. Place one cake layer on a cardboard cake base and spread an even layer of frosting over it. Stack and repeat with the rest of the layers. Place layered cake on a cake turntable and spread a generous amount of frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top. Place a spatula against the side of the cake and rotate the cake, keeping the spatula in an upright position. Next, run the spatula over the top of the cake in a smooth motion, making the frosting as even as possible.
Note: The frosted cake can be kept in the fridge for up to a week. If your cake is chilled, let it come to room temperature for at least 30 mins before serving.