rainbow-cake-1It was my niece’s 8th birthday last week.  As the unofficial family baker, the very essential birthday cake (no skipping cake for an 8 year old!), to devour at the family celebration was up to me.

As we are in the warmer months of the year, cake selection is critical.  Or more specifically, frosting selection.  I have attempted delicate meringue buttercreams around this time of year in the past, only to immediately regret the decision.  Too hot.  Too delicate.

This year, I limited my frosting choice to ganache (we’ve been having some very warm days!).  Ganache is resilient for me in all sorts of weather, and is delicious, too!

For the cake, I originally had decided on a marble cake, but I was unsure of the randomness of the coloured batter.  Instead, I decided to stay with the ‘Neapolitan’ theme, but in nice neat layers.  I stumbled upon this recipe for a Rainbow Cake which sounded like it would fit the bill.  How could an 8 year old not like a cake filled with vanilla, strawberry and chocolate?  Bon Anniversaire!

{ Rainbow cake }

* Ingredients *

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
2 cups self-raising flour
50g unsalted butter
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp rose pink food colouring
1 tsp strawberry essence
2 tblsps cocoa powder
Extra 1/4 cup milk, warmed
300ml carton thickened cream
1 tblsp icing sugar mixture
1/3 cup strawberry jam
250g dark eating chocolate, chopped
Hundreds and thousands, to decorate

Grease 3 x 20cm round cake pans.  Line with baking paper.
Place eggs in large bowl of electric mixer.  Beat until frothy.  With motor operating, gradually add caster sugar, beating well after each addition.  Beat for further 5 minutes until mixture is thick and creamy.  Fold in sifted flour until just combined.
Place butter, milk and extract in a small saucepan.  Stir over low heat until butter melts.  Gently fold warm milk mixture, in two batches, into egg mixture until combined.
Spoon one-third of the mixture into one of the prepared pans to make vanilla cake layer.  Divide remaining mixture between two bowls.  Add colouring and essence to one portion.  Stir to tint pink.  Pour into second prepared pan.  Blend cocoa and extra warm milk in a small bowl to form a paste.  Stir into remaining portion to make chocolate cake layer.  Pour into remaining prepared pan.
Cook pans, on two shelves, in a moderate oven (180C) for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked when tested, swapping pans halfway through cooking.  Stand cakes in pans for 10 minutes before turning onto wire racks to cool.
Place 1/2 cup of the cream and icing sugar mixture in a small bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer until firm peaks form.
To assemble cake, sandwich chocolate cake and vanilla cake with half the jam and half the whipped cream.  Spread vanilla cake with remaining jam and whipped cream.  Top with strawberry cake.  To make icing, place chocolate and remaining cream in a heatproof bowl.  Sit bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Stir until smooth.  Cool at room temperature until spreadable.  Spread icing over top and side of cake.  Decorate with hundreds and thousands.