A couple of weeks ago, we held Rosie’s birthday party at the beach. Yes, I realize that most sane people would be asking, “a birthday party at the beach in February?” But, we live in Florida and the winter has been so pleasant. In fact, the week before the party both kids were swimming in the ocean and I was on the verge of getting in.
I kept worrying that the weather was going to turn–it had been so nice for so long. It couldn’t possibly hold up. And, my worries were spot on.
The morning of her party we woke up to 34 degree weather. It was projected to warm up to 40 degreees by the end of the day. It had been in the 70′s only two days before!
When Rosie woke up I warned her not to be disappointed if none of her friends showed up.
Luckily, they all did. All bundled up with coats and mittens–but still enjoying their time at the beach playground. And, because it was so cold–we had the whole place to ourselves.
At the last minute, we decided to bring hot water and hot chocolate to the beach and build a beach bonfire (in the little BBQ grills). Both ideas were great successes! Everyone loved the hot chocolate and the guys huddled around the fire talking story.
Another success of the party was this rainbow cake. I had tried to make this in the past and that outcome was so embarrassing. I can’t believe I am even including a link to that old post. ( I guess it does show progress in my culinary skills.)
This time, I made sure to give myself lots of time to make the cake and paid special attention to the details while I made the cake.
For decoration, I went with colorful candies. All of Rosie’s favorite kinds.
The kids were excited to see the candy covered cake–and even more surprised when I cut it open and all of the colors were revealed.
One kid, who is allergic to food dye said, ” I bet that cake sure has a lot of blue dye in it. I’m not having any.”
I don’t feel that I can really give a recipe for creating this cake. For one, I used a white box cake mix (Ahhh! The horror!) to save a bit of time. For two, most of it is about assembly. So, instead of a recipe–here are a few tips that I learned between the first and second time.
1) You must use high quality food coloring. The drops from the grocery will not work. The Wilton gels may work OK but I didn’t get very good results the first time. I used the Duff Color Gels (you know, the guy from Ace of Cakes) and got the color I wanted. I bought them at Michaels and they had some really fun colors to try for next time.
2) Buy six disposable cake tins. It is possible to just use what you have but you want all of the layers to be the same size and I found it easier to mix up the colors and then pour the mix all at once–instead of in batches.
3) Mix up the cake batter and then divide equally among six bowls. Don’t estimate–actually measure it out. You want the same amount of batter to be in each bowl–because you want the same sized layers. The layers are going to be thin. They will also bake very quickly–about 10-15 minutes.
4) Don’t be skimpy on the color. Once you add a bit of the color (a drop or so), mix it well. If the color is not as bright you want–add a bit more. They will lighten a bit while baking.
5) Let cool completely after baking. Don’t get too excited about frosting the cakes that you can’t wait for them to cool. This is almost always my issue–I have no patience and I end up messing things up. This time, after they were cooled I wrapped them in saran wrap and left in the freezer overnight.
6) Make a lot of frosting. You can use plain ol’ buttercream but I used cream cheese frosting for a little extra somethin’. I quadrupled the recipe and ended up with leftovers but would rather have left over frosting than not enough.
7) Frost then layer, frost then layer. Repeat 6 times. (I used about 1 cup of frosting between each layer.)
8) Apply one layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake. Allow to sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and re-frost. That crumb layer really works to making a cake free of imperfections.
9) The refrigerator is your friend. I was so worried that the frosting would warm up and slide off the cake–there is a lot of gravity at work here. But, luckily (I guess) the weather was cold and we didn’t have that issue.
10) Decorate with candies or colorful frosting or just leave it plain white. The beauty is really on the inside. (My next attempt will include me cutting beautiful slices with no weird mess on the knife or cake stand. There has to be a trick to that, right?)