I found this recipe in Lily Vanillis book ‘A Zombie ate my Cupcake’. This one immediately stood out as a fun colourful recipe, so I bought the gel food dyes and decided to give it a bash. Recipe makes 16 cakes, and can be time-consuming.
For the Cake Mix you need:
- 200g plain flour.
- 1tbsp baking powder.
- 1/2 tsp salt.
- 120g unsalted butter (at room temp).
- 190g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 120ml whole milk
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- gel/paste food colouring in the seven colours of the rainbow.
For the Icing you need:
- 80g unsalted butter.
- 325g icing sugar.
- 4tbsp whole milk.
- 2tsp vanilla extract.
- 2tbsp double cream.
- Ice blue food colouring.
- Sugar strands.
For the Cake -
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line a muffin pan with paper cases.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric whisk until smooth. Add the caster sugar to the butter in 3 parts, beating until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and beat in one at a time, using medium speed, until completely incorporated.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together twice in a separate bowl.
- In a separate jug mix the whole milk and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture in four parts, alternating with the milk/vanilla. Whisk well after each addition (add flour, whisk, add milk, whisk, flour, whisk and so on).
- Once thoroughly mixed, divide the batter between 7 small bowls and using a toothpick, mix a little of each colour into each bowl, creating the seven colours of the rainbow.
- For each cupcake, spoon 1 heaped teaspoon of the starting colour into the centre of the paper case. On top of that, carefully spoon slightly less of the next colour into the centre of that, ensuring you can still see a ring of the first colour all the way around the outside.
- Continue through the colours, adding a little less of each colour as you go, forming concentric rings of colour. Once finished, the cases should be no more than 3/4 full.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
For the Icing -
- In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric whisk until smooth.
- Add the icing sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and the cream, and blend further until smooth. Colour the icing bright blue, again, using a toothpick.
- Ice the top of the cupcakes with blue icing and sprinkle with rainbow sugar strands.
- Transfer to the fridge to allow the icing to set if required.
Now sadly, where I thought I had plain flour, I actually had self-raising flour – so I thought “whats the harm?” and decided to use it, foregoing the baking powder/salt. The cakes taste awesome, they just aren’t raised as much as they should be. Next time I make these I will make sure I have plain flour and follow the recipe to the letter. They also cooked a little wonky as I didn’t have a muffin tray to hand, so as they raised and expanded, they all pushed against one another despite being spread well apart. A muffin tray (or two) is on the shopping list.
Even though the recipe suggests to spread the cake mixture evenly between 7 bowls, I think it would be more productive to try to make the red mixture larger than the others, with the violet mixture being smaller. This is owing to the fact that you will use more of the red, and consecutively less of each colour after that. Or you could do inverse rainbows, with half starting with red as the largest circle, and the other half starting as violet. It would even out somewhat. As it stands I just sort of made my colour scraps into tie dye messes with a toothpick. They all taste the same at the end of the day!
My buttercream icing did not turn out as thick as it should have been, as I ran out of icing sugar – make sure you definitely have extra icing sugar for thickening as necessary. I topped the cakes slightly differently than the recipe in the book, using sugar strands instead. Another idea that I might try for next time (there will definitely be a next time!) will be to use rainbow drops… can’t go wrong with childhood sweets on cake now can you? =]