Ladies Camera Club

5 Mar 2015

Rainbow Cake - part 1

Long post - grab hot beverage and hide under your desk, if at work ;)

I make no excuses - I'm not the best baker.  I can cook, mind and I would say I'm pretty adventurous in that department.  But baking requires a jolly decent oven, precise measurements with equal amounts of precise timing and a whole bucket load of patience.  As general cooking comes with poetic licence and tolerances for the odd faux pas, I'm afraid baking and therefore my cakes, generally turn out like terracotta bricks.  I don't wear pinnies, I don't have designer bake wear and I do not... I repeat DO NOT spin deftly across the kitchen looking anything remotely like a fifties housewife, about to serve up a super whippy light offering to her bunch of fake smiling, stepford wife-like friends.  And if I'm totally honest, there is nothing more sickening than blogger who claim they can bake when you know they can't.  And boy, I can't.

Actch, if I may interject, I do make fab pastry.  But rubbish pies.  Go figure.

As it just so happens, I work for a quality food ingredient company whose goods give catering and bakery companies the most amazing helping hand to make bloody gorgeous finished products.  From fillings to topping to finishes and bread mixes to cake mixes to pastries to buns.  Whips and creams and and and so much more................the worst part of my job (not HR related) is that we are fortunate to sample the test bakes - far too often for my thighs to deal with, if truthful.  But the BESTEST part about working for this company is that I get to buy product as part of a staff benefit. Marvellous.

So, working to a challenge, I am going to try three projects using some of the company's extremely popular "pop up cake" mixes.  My aim is to give the appearance that I am 100% awesome in the kitchen whilst fully road testing these handy packs; to the best of my cack-handed baking abilities. When really, all I will do is stir water and oil into a dry mix.  And of which, when reconstituted, actually tastes more fantastic than you could ever imagine.  Sidenote: Im just putting it out there that there is no way Im cracking 3 million eggs, weighing and measuring tons of flour/butter/marge into 38 mixing bowls for REAL,  especially as my first challenge is a 6 layer rainbow cake.  The cost, for starters is phenom (for that many layers) plus with each layer needing to be PRECISE in thickness - my patience to measure 6 x worth of standard cake ingredients is not worth losing my sanity over.  Hence why these mixes are so, so handy.

Before the off, I want to share my experience of food colouring.  Bloody hell, that is a trial and a half in itself.  I thought food colouring was just food colouring.  You know, spurt it in your mix and it colours your food.  HELL NO.  Its no good using the watery style food colouring for intensely vibrant sponge mixes.  Id researched that colouring gels are far superior as they offer a more concentrated colour.  But not all food gel colours are equal, it would seem **bangs head against wall already**  All I want is pop up, vibrant cake, for crying out loud.  Cue Dr Oetker and Pro-gel.  I initially bought off-the-shelf Dr Oetker because, well, it was off the shelf.  Having no yellow on that off the shelf shelf, I then searched Amazon to find one.  There was no Dr Oetker yellow in stock, so I bought Pro-gel yellow and also some delightfully yummy blue which accidentally fell in my basket. More of a premium price but I was desperate for yellow and no rainbow cake is worthy of a marathon bake-off without it.

And here they are.  Do not be fooled by Dr Oetker's vibrant tube colours, by the way.  More on that later.

Now to mix the cake - yay!  This gives me the best excuse to use a hand whisk and I love hand whisks.  I feel like Im a mad scientist when i get one of those buggers in my hand.  But before that, I poured an entire 1kg bag into a bowl

Added to that was 600g water and 100g oil - yes, oil.  People often gag at that.  Oil is a fat.  Like butter.  Its just liquidy fat.  It still clogs your arteries, pound for pound........Get over it.   Despite that, look at how pretty it is - all globuley and textured.

I stirred it in first because, as you know, using a hand whisk at this point would be catastrophic.  And I really want to stay in my housemates good books!  It's she, Sally, who is actually helping pour the liquid in this pic.  Cheers, Sally.

Then to mix and whisk to a pretty, bubbly consistency.  I mean, come on???  Cake batter in seconds???  I could cry with relief after years of curdling cake batter and using flour of differing quality etc etc yadder yadder.  Best of all, no stray egg shell in these mixture and for me, that's a:  less crunchy and b: less salmonella-y

I used 300g in each cake pan.  So in a separate bowl, I measured 300g out and drizzled some Dr Oetker gel in.  The red one.  You know, RED.  Looks red when it strickles out but when mixed it into my batter.....................

It turned out pink :(
Having faith in Dr Oetker (and Doctors tell the truth, right?) I bunged the mixture in the oven for 18 minutes on 200 degrees and thought "It will turn out red, im sure of it".

And the pink stayed pink.

I had a real pout on about it, not going to lie. I live in the sticks and I mean THE STICKS.  The chances of finding strong, decent colour gel, like Pro-Gel (this day) was not possible.  And anyone whom says anything is possible is worthy of thump.  I really was not possible.  Cry sob wail.

Still, I had faith in the other colours and thought, to compensate for the crappy red effort prior, id put MORE Dr Oetker gel in the mix to concentrate the colour.  Meaning the more e numbers, the more doolally my testers would become. Tee hee.

Anyway..... I chose Dr Oetker green next but that turned out pale green.  So I added Pro-gel blue and Pro-gel yellow (genius!) to make it this shade of green.

Then I used the Pro-gel blue on its own.  Isn't this colour spectacular?

My mouth fell on the cake and made that hole.  Not kidding

Then yellow.......sigh.....sunny, happy yellow.

Sadly I did not have the creative heart to take a picture of the Dr Oetker purple which turned out pale lilac. My mojo had diminished at that point plus daylight ran out as well (Im at the top of Scotland, it gets darker, quicker here).  My quest to find decent gels was to be decided Sunday.  Poor me, I live 24 miles from Hobbycraft.  Twenty four flaming miles?  The fact that I drove that far (to pick up a red and a purple) drives me to distraction as I type.  Saying that, I managed to bag a few more goodies to compliment the next session but still.  Twenty four buggering miles (forty eight when you think of there and back) for gel colouring? My heart is bleeding.

Ill finish up on part 2 tomorrow (to bake red, orange and purple layers) and comes with that more disasters (think hair, think cream) coupled with a huge success.  And I mean "punching the air" success.

Right.  Bed.  Night, all.
Oh, by the way?  
Bed it may be but I scoffed that many e numbers today I shall not be sleeping.


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