“Wow! That’s nearly all the colours of the gay flag!” was not the exact reaction I was expecting when I sliced into the cake, revealing the multicoloured layers within.
I may have been having a brief lapse into insanity when I decided to make this cake, my baking usually being limited to smaller and more rustic items than dramatic celebration cakes.
When my Aunt asked if I could make the cake for my cousin’s 8th birthday last weekend though, I instantly knew what recipe I wanted to attempt. Caítríona who writes the blog, Wholesome Ireland, has whipped up some fantastic creations recently (I also loved her spaghetti and meatballs cake) and I had particularly admired her Jellybean Rainbow cake for it’s sheer outlandish excess which sums up precisely what a birthday cake should be. It had the potential for exactly the wow factor I was hoping to achieve.
Caítríona’s excellent recipe, and gorgeous photos, can be found here. I am just going to share my modifications as, like me, you may not feel brave enough/have the stamina to tackle all 8 layers! The recipe itself is very easy; just lots of time and patience required. I will warn any fellow washing up haters that the multiple batches, and the mess that ensues, is a little bit torturous.
The excitement at the novelty of it made the time spent baking, assembling the layers and the painstaking construction of the jellybean wall worthwhile. I was delighted at my cousin’s initial reaction, a sure sign that she’s growing up in a different generation to my own, though one where the simple pleasure of making a fuss of someone at their birthday is still very important.
What I did differently:
*I weighed my large mixing bowl before I started and then again when the batter was mixed but before I added the colouring. I then weighed out half the mixture into a separate glass bowl and added 1 tsp of colouring to each half which was enough to give nice, bright colours.
*I borrowed two cake pans from my Mum which were a little large (22cm instead of 20cm) and I was worried at how thinly the batter was spread across the bottom of them. However, I watched the first batch like a hawk and, after 12 minutes at the temperature Caítríona advises, they were perfect. My cake just ended up wider rather than taller.
* My cake required one and a half batches of buttercream icing and just over 3 packets of the Lidl brand of jellybeans (a great discovery) which means that the larger kids in your life will be happily supplied in leftover beans. I possibly would have gotten away with only needing 3 bags of jellybeans if I hadn't consumed a significant number of them myself, but you have to sustain yourself when undertaking a task like this.
At a recent cookery class, the teacher demonstrated a fool proof way of lining a pan that is so simple I wondered why it had never occurred to me before. I took some pictures so that I could share it with you:
Place one pan close to the edge of the parchment and trace a circle around it in pencil, repeat this for the second pan, leaving only a small gap between the circles. Cut out the circles just inside the pencil line. Measure a long strip by placing a small pencil mark inside your pan, line this up with the edge of your paper and roll it along the paper until the pencil mark has completed one revolution and then cut one inch beyond this. I had a roll of parchment that was 40cm wide. The strip left at the edge of my two circles was wide enough to line both my pans. Fold the strip in half lengthwise and then use a knife to cut it along this fold. Fold each strip up until it’s only about 10cm long, snip a short ‘fringe’ into it using scissors. Dot small amounts of butter into your pan to act as glue for your parchment. Place the strip around the edge of the pan with the ‘fringe’ parts flat on the bottom, towards the centre, they will overlap slightly to allow your strip to sit neatly around the edge. Place the circle inside the strip, on the bottom of the pan. Voila! A perfectly lined pan.