Fun with food

Through poking around some random sites last week, I came across the recipe for a rainbow cake that looked like fun. So I decided to take it on, making my own adaptations to suit my purposes (like making them as cupcakes, because there was no way I was going to be able to easily transport a cake).

In the grand tradition of my friend’s blog, Ali Does It, I even took pictures all the way through — which is something I usually never remember to do until I’m mostly done whatever I’m making, and is therefore less helpful at that point.

The recipe at the link above is a diet cake recipe. As I’m not overly concerned about dieting at the moment, I opted to go with the full-fat version of everything. In short, I followed the directions on the box.

Step one: Assemble the ingredients.

As you can see, I went with the basics: French Vanilla cake mix, buttercream frosting, and nail polish remover (just a smidge for flavouring).

I opted for French Vanilla over white as the lady at the Bulk Barn where I bought the dye gels suggested they could change the flavour of the food slightly.

I picked up the 8-pack as I wasn’t in the mood to hand-mix colours, and this way there would be fewer left out of the mix (you can buy 12-packs as well).

From there, I got out a bunch of bowls to separate out the mix. You can also see a dirty toaster oven in the background of this image. Dirty, dirty toaster oven, photo bombing me like that.

Because I am lazy when it comes to most things, dishes especially, I lined the muffin tins with paper cups. This is how a muffin tin looks when it’s lined with paper cups. Take special note of the dirty stove top. I blame the cats — their paws just aren’t usually up for proper stirring, so they tend to make a mess.

I didn’t bother to take a picture of the mixing process for the batter, just the end result (this is where my forgetfulness also comes into play). In short: add water, oil, eggs, mix according to directions. I made sure to mix it for the extra length of time as indicated, which gave me an airier batter to work with.

Somewhere during this process, I picked up a fan.

Thena, also known as Thena Demonbeast, also known as the crabby one, grey cat, and various other terms of endearment (the vet receptionist laughed when I called her Monkey Face). She’s sitting on the stool the DH refers to as the “begging stool” when the cats use it; when I use it, I think “midget stool” comes into play (I’m trying to think of how to rewrite that so as to avoid the unfortunate scat implications, but I’m coming up empty-handed. Fortunately). Anyhow, she made sure to supervise the process.

That said, when offered to taste test the results, she declined.

These were the colours I chose for the purposes of this experiment:

Blue, orange, green, purple, red and yellow — at this point, in no particular order.

This is a blurry image of what my fingers looked like after peeling the paper topping off of each of the gel packets. Oddly, the yellow only had a foil top, not the cardboard and foil the others had. Clearly this means that the yellow was the poisoned one.

I separated out the batter into the six glass bowls. Each bowl initially received about a half-cup of mix (since I was only using the one box, I cut the recommendations from the original recipe in half), then I eyeballed the remainder and shared that amongst the six dishes.

From there, it was time to start adding the gel. Each dish got its own mixing spoon, and I used one main spoon for doling out the gel — which got rinsed off between additions. Because the gel containers were fairly small, I was somewhat limited in terms of how much gel I could get on the spoon in the first place, but a little goes a long way:

From there, to here:

Making sure to stir it thoroughly, including scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. As I used glass dishes, it was pretty easy to see where there was unmixed batter. Totally a deliberate choice on my part.

Repeat times six, and you get the results above.

Next, it’s time to start the assembly process. If you want to make a rainbow cake, I suggest using the information at the link above for assembly, as it’s obviously going to be different than mine.

First, I refreshed my memory on the order in which a rainbow appears. Then, I took the equivalent of about a teaspoon and dropped it into each muffin tin. I was being a bit too generous in my serving sizes, so I had to steal a bit from some of the muffin cups to make a full two dozen at the end. With the subsequent colours, I did my best not to run into this same problem, since it would be a lot harder to steal colours once they were more mixed together.

Following the order of the rainbow, I dropped in the purple, then blue, green, yellow, orange and red. I didn’t worry too much about making sure that each layer was perfectly covering the next or anything like that: messiness leads to creativity! And also I could claim it was deliberate or something. If I’d made a double batch of mix, I would have had plenty of batter to cover things off better.

Here is how the trays looked before they went into the oven. Though you can’t really see the darker colours (mainly because I ended up with a larger portion of red for some reason), you can definitely see how the colours just sit on top of one another without any bleeding or blending at this point.

I went with the lowest end of the recommended time range, and the cupcakes came out perfectly when I tested them with a toothpick — no batter on the pick, and I didn’t find a single one to be overdone.

Straight from the oven, here they are. Some of the cupcakes had some of the lower colours bubble up to the top, but not really something I was stressing. They came out a bit smaller than what my cupcakes usually do, but I tend to over-portion batter when I do things like this and never end up with a full dozen or two dozen. In this case? Perfect two dozen.

Well, perfect two dozen save for one that didn’t have green added to it. So it clearly had to be iced and sacrificed for the cause.


Displayed (you can see how some of the colours were visible from the edges of the cupcake; this was apparent even through the muffin papers I used).

And then sacrificed so that the public could see the tasty inside:


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