Rainbow Layer Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

As I’m sure you all know by now, rainbow cakes are in. To surprise my family at my 19th Birthday party, I decided to make one and keep it top secret. While it was time-consuming and challenging and, I admit, I had a few diva moments where I wanted nothing more than to throw the darn cake out the window, it was definitely worth it for the squeals of surprise and delight and the warm fuzzy feeling it gave me. I had, ambitiously, pictured it covered with perfect snow white roses. But it wasn’t to be when my rather overpriced Wilton star tip exploded and I was left with a huge mess and a 2-minute noodle effect. Still I persevered, and when topped with some flowers it didn’t look too bad. I have attempted to make this recipe idiot-proof (if I can do it, you can!) and so have used a packet cake base and converted all measurements. Good luck, this cake isn’t for the faint of heart!

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Ingredients (serves 12-16)
Rainbow Cakes
2 boxes Betty Crocker SuperMoist vanilla cake mix (cheating, I know!)
Milk (as directed on the cake box x2)
Eggs (as directed on the cake box x2)
Red, yellow, green & blue edicol food dye powders

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
12 egg whites (split over 2 batches – 6 per batch)
480g caster sugar (split over 2 batches – 240g per batch)
600g unsalted butter (split over 2 batches – 300g per batch)
4 teaspoons vanilla extract (split over 2 batches – 2 tspns per batch)

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Method
1. Heat oven as directed on the Betty Crocker cake box. Spray three 20cm round cake pans with cooking oil spray.

2. In a large bowl, beat cake mix and other ingredients as directed by the cake box (I have stupidly thrown mine out and can’t remember exactly but I’m pretty sure there were eggs, unsalted butter and milk) *remember to double the quantities as you’re using 2 boxes worth* until well combined.1170685_10151734990259463_1454942815_n

3. Divide batter evenly among 6 bowls.

4. Using food dye and a small quantity of water, make a red, orange (using red & yellow), yellow, green, blue and purple (using red and blue) paste. Add one colour to each bowl and mix until all the dye is incorporated. It might take a few goes to ensure your colours are really vibrant, but it is definitely worth making sure they are for the finished product.

5. Refrigerate the green, blue and purple batters until ready to bake. Pour remaining 3 colours into the 3 prepared cake pans.

6. Bake for 18-20mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean and the cake has started to pull away from the edges of the pan. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans and gently place onto cooling racks to cool completely.

7. Wash and dry cake pans. Lightly spray with cooking oil and then pour in the remaining 3 batters and repeat the baking process.

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8. To make the first batch of buttercream, add egg whites and sugar to a large metal bowl and place over a pot of simmering water, whisking constantly but gently until the mixture reaches 70 degrees C or until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

9. With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip the eggwhites until the meringue is thick, glossy and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (NOT WARM).

10. Switch to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time until incorporated and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if it curdles, keep mixing and it will eventually come back together).

11. Add vanilla, continuing to beat on a low speed until well combined.

12. Trim rounded tops off cakes to level (if necessary). Place the purple layer on the plate you wish to serve the finished cake on. Spread with buttercream to within a quarter of an inch of the edge. Place blue cake on top and repeat. Then add green, yellow, orange and, finally, red.

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13. Spread a light coat of buttercream on the top and sides of the cake to seal in crumbs. Then place the entire cake into a freezer while you make the second batch of buttercream.

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14. Repeat steps 8-11.

15. Remove cake from freezer, prepare a piping bag with a Wilton star tip (I used 2D) and fill piping bag about 2/3 full with frosting.

16. To make buttercream roses, starting at the bottom of your cake, hold your piping bag perpendicular to the surface you are icing, starting the centre of your desired rose and with a small amount of pressure, pipe in clockwise spiral around your centre, about 1 1/2 rotations or until your rose is of the desired size.

17. Repeat for the whole bottom row and then start a new layer, with the centre of your roses between the two roses below. Continue until the cake is fully frosted. Alternatively, just spread the buttercream thickly over the cake and decorate as desired. Enjoy!

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Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe adapted from Dessert Design Life.

Snickers Cupcakes!

The exclamation mark in the title is necessary because these are the best cupcakes I have ever eaten (and I’ve sampled A LOT of cupcakes in my time). I made them for a family birthday party by combining a number of different recipes so that these cupcakes are like a deconstructed Snickers. Everyone went crazy for them, not that I blame them, because who doesn’t love Snickers? With a dense, fudgy chocolate base, a light and fluffy peanut-nougat icing and oodles of caramel, these cupcakes are to die for and I can imagine them becoming a firm family favourite.
EDIT 2015: Still a winner! I made these for my 21st birthday celebrations with family & friends and the went down a treat 🙂 
Elise August 2015 182

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Ingredients (makes around 30)
Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes
350g butter
450g dark cooking chocolate, chopped
2 ½ cups caster sugar
1 ½ cups almond meal
2 cups cocoa
10 eggs
2 tspns vanilla extract

Peanut Nougat Frosting
1 cup smooth peanut butter
250g butter, softened
4 tspns vanilla extract
4 cups icing sugar
2 tblspns milk
Salted peanuts (chopped), remaining caramel, melted dark chocolate & chopped snickers, to decorate

Caramel
100g butter
⅔ cup soft brown sugar
¼ cup golden syrup
½ cup cream

Method
Preheat oven to 140°C. Line 3 12-hole muffin trays with patty pans (about 30).

Combine butter, chocolate and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Mix continuously until melted and smooth. Sift the almond meal and cocoa into a large bowl. Add the chocolate mixture and beat for 1min on a low speed. Add eggs two at a time, beating after each addition until combined. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Divide mixture evenly between patty pans (filling each about ¾ full) and then bake for  30mins or until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from the tray and let cupcakes cool on a wire rack completely before icing and decorating.

As cupcakes are baking, make the caramel sauce. Combine the butter, sugar, golden syrup and cream in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and boil for at least 5 mins. Take off the heat and cool to room temperature.

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Once the cupcakes are cooled, dig a small hole at the top of the cakes with a teaspoon.

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Fill the holes with the cooled caramel.

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To make the frosting, beat peanut butter and butter until smooth. Add vanilla and slowly add the icing sugar. Add the milk and beat until just combined.

Using a piping bag with a star attachment, pipe the frosting in a circular motion onto the cupcakes, starting around the edge so that you form a soft-serve ice-cream effect. Drizzle with remaining caramel sauce, melted dark chocolate and then top with salted peanuts & chopped snickers. Enjoy!

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Elise August 2015 182

Cupcake recipe adapted from the Crabapple Cupcake Bakery Cookbook.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

This is probably my most requested frosting/icing/addictive substance that goes on cakes. It works beautifully on cupcakes and large cakes and is a favourite with both children and adults!

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Ingredients
Note: This makes HEAPS and I often halve or only use 3/4 of the recipe, however if you want really thick icing or will make a second batch soon after, the full recipe is the way to go (it lasts for about a week)
200g butter, softened
½ cup milk
1 tblspn vanilla extract
8 cups icing sugar
A few drops of food colouring/flavouring as desired

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Method
Cream the butter for 1-2 mins in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Add the milk, vanilla and half of the icing sugar and beat for at least 3 mins (until the mixture is light and fluffy). Add the remaining icing sugar and beat for a further 3 mins or until of a spreadable consistency. Add extra milk if too dry or extra icing sugar if too wet. Add  colouring/flavouring and beat in until combined and the desired colour/flavour has been achieved.

Using a knife or piping bag, apply buttercream to cupcakes or cake and decorate as desired.

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Adapted from the Crabapple Cupcake Bakery Cookbook

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