Disclaimer: This is by no means a tutorial because it was my first time trying this and I deem this a fail! Think of it as an essay of my failures and tips that I have learned along the way. Please read or watch an entire tutorial from a person who actually knows what they are doing before attempting this. Or just hire a professional.
I love Katherine Sabbath’s cakes. Her Instagram makes me genuinely happy! She makes the most delightful, colorful cakes! I’ve even done a few manicures on myself based on her work. If you are located in Australia, she has classes where you can learn, hands on, how to make her beautiful cakes!
The local asian bakery I go to have these beautiful rainbow cakes, but it was either rainbow on the inside or rainbow on the outside. Why not both? And traditionally asian desserts aren’t very sweet, which always disappoints me. Yeah, I’m part asian, but I like my sweets to be tooth rotting sweet! It’s hilarious when asian relatives are like “too sweet!”
The thing that disappoints me about rainbow cakes is that they’re just a white cake. What is a white cake’s flavor? Nothing. Well okay, sugar and maybe a dash of vanilla. That is so boring! I wanted to make a cake with every layer with a different flavor that goes with the color. And of course the outside would have to be rainbow too! I didn’t even allow my wedding cake to be white. Who wants a boring cake?
I pretty much tried to do every trick on Pinterest! Which meant I wasn’t following a single tutorial and that’s probably one reason I had so much trouble. It was very ambitious, but I was determined to see if I could do it!
I used a Martha Stewart recipe that I printed out and I followed a video from Jemma Cupcakes, but didn’t use Jemma’s recipe because she’s from the UK and they use grams as a unit of measurement, which threw me off. But I did use her tips, and they were super helpful. But I wish I knew in advance that I’d need like 6 bowls of the same size, and I didn’t. You pretty much need a TON of bowls, and some bigger ones too. I ended up using every single bowl I owned including a salad spinner cause I ran out.
Since I only own 2 round cake pans, I had to reuse them. Instead of washing them in between, I greased them with the leftover butter in the wrapper, and had pre-cut circles and the sides with parchment paper. You have to grease the pan, otherwise, the parchment just comes off. I imagine it helps with the area the parchment misses too. I found that cutting the sides into smaller pieces worked better than having them be the entire circumference because it was just uncooperative when it was in 1 piece. Also if you make marks with a pen or pencil, make sure the marks aren’t on the side the batter will touch or you’ll get pen marks on your cake! It made switching between colors super easy. Just be sure to have enough cooling racks handy!
I think it first went wrong because I followed a recipe where the cakes turned out flat as pancakes. Even in the video I saw from Martha’s show, they were pretty thin. Because of that, I wasn’t able to trim the cakes with a cake trimmer to flatten the tops. Which meant the middle had a slight dome, and with each layer, the dome was more pronounced, which meant the very top of the cake was domed, and made the top edges uneven and ganache spill down a lot more than I intended. I would follow Jemma’s tutorial because hers looks very successful. Also, I didn’t measure the batter on a scale as advised. But my bowls were all different anyway so it wouldn’t have worked.
The flavors I used were from Capella Flavors. This isn’t sponsored, they were the first to come up on Google search results and I wasn’t disappointed! I like all the flavors I bought, especially the New York Cheesecake. I tried to go with flavors that would match well together, with berries and citrus, plus peach. I didn’t have any guide for how many drops to put in, so I did about 10 drops per, I could have done a few more for more flavor. The Lemon Sicily and Lemon Lime definitely could have used a few more drops. The Blueberry Jam was the strongest tasting of them all, and I liked that.
The cream cheese buttercream recipe I used was a real winner, but I needed to triple the recipe to have enough for this particular cake, especially since I had to divide them and use so many colors. I had only made a single batch, and it wasn’t enough for a six layer cake. I ended up making a double batch later for the rainbow colors.
I actually added Capella New York Cheesecake flavor drops to the buttercream that already contained cream cheese to give it a richer flavor. I do not regret that. I can eat this delicious stuff all by itself!
Katherine Sabbath had a tip in a video to use a concrete scraper, so I went out and got one for $14 at ACE Hardware. I think it worked out well. It’s definitely a useful tool for a tall cake.
The ganache recipe from the Martha Stewart website resulted in watery ganache. The recipe of betryal is not even worth linking, if you do find it, here’s a tip: Read the comments section on the recipe’s page! The posters will have feedback with their adjustments.
I let the watery ganache set up in the fridge overnight. It thickened up and was looking good as I poured it on the cake. But it’s July, and 80 degrees and it started MELTING. The drips became too much and the top was transparent. I put it in the fridge but it wasn’t enough to save it. And there’s aqua chocolate all over the fridge!
The next round of ganache making resulted in a too thick Play Dough looking ganache. Nope, needed more cream…. Ganache appears to be an art that needs to be mastered.
I tried making the marbled chocolate bark. But I had it in my head that I was supposed to add cream. No, that’s for the ganache. I added cream to the bark. It ended up looking like curdled cheese. It was then I knew that I had the recipe wrong and my ganache was going to be a disaster.
So I made a second round. The second one turned out much prettier. I added berry flavor drops to the pink and lavender colors. It certainly makes the bark a lot more interesting to have flavors. Based on tutorials I have watched, the microwave method looks a little more successful than the double boiler method. I think it’s too easy for it to get too hot and then the white chocolate seizes up when it’s in the pot.
The trick was not to swirl the colors in circles, but make vertical, and then horizontal lines. It made for a cleaner looking marble effect.
Before the chocolate set, I sprinkled the sprinkle medley on top in an organized mess fashion. You don’t want it to be too even!
I watched these videos for how-to’s:
The meringue drops, or unicorn poop, as I’d like to call it, was a little more successful, but not that much. I have no piping technique so they don’t look as good. But they tasted fine and I assume the consistency was fine. I was able to get the stripes in by streaking in gel food coloring inside the piping bag with a butter knife. It washed out easily, no stains. I also added lemon flavor drops.
But I do not know how people manage to make these without getting meringue all over the place, including themselves. It was a huge mess! And it’s raw egg!
I also topped the cake with pink and white marshmallows. I only had the jumbo size, so I had to cut some of them to they would vary in size. I chose to use marshmallows since they were a solid color and not to textured, so you eye could visually rest since the rest of the decor was so chaotic.
I also sprinkled on some pink pearl pareils, and used Disney princess candles I just found at the grocery store. They’re pink, blue and yellow wands with silver stars. I thought it went nicely with the theme.
There was no way I could place the sprinkles on, one by one, not with these nails. I pretty much threw them at the cake, shielding the top with my other hand so they wouldn’t go too high. The star shaped ones stuck in there like ninja stars. I also corrected some boo-boos in the buttercream with the larger circular sprinkles.
I got a little too generous with the sprinkles, they ended up covering my two favorite colors, blue and purple.
And finally after a week, the cake was finally done. Yes, a legit week! It was mostly because I had to let certain things set in the fridge and also go back to the store for more ingredients.
I was really pleased with how the inside turned out! The cut was clean, and the colors were the pastels I aimed for.
It tasted great too! I think the lemon flavors weren’t as strong as the berries. If I were to do this again (which I probably won’t) I’d add a few more drops of the lemon and lemon-lime.
And to be critical, you can see by the green layer that the later start to curve. This can be avoided by using a different recipe that makes more batter, and thus allowing you to trim the cakes to be even. Also, by making enough buttercream, you will be able to pack in the buttercream when it’s stacked, instead of running out towards the end like me.
And how did it taste? Yeah that is the most important thing! It tastes great! I live for that cream cheese buttercream, and I can taste the fruit flavors in the actual cake. If you’re going to get fat by eating this, it better actually taste good! The first serving the cake was nice and moist. But it does dry out as time goes by. I have some vacuumed sealed in the freezer. I have no idea how the quality will be after they defrost, I’m guessing not as good as fresh.
This wasn’t for any special occasion, it was just a project to see if I could do it. So no pressure or people actually looking at it or eating it! I’m an artist, I expect a certain level of quality and strive for that. If I fail, I’ll criticize that because I know I can do better. It’s okay that I beat myself up because that’s how we artists are. We like things done a certain way. And I’ve watched many cake shows. I know what the judges would say and they’re right to criticize! But I’m not a baker. Hell, I don’t even like cooking. This being my first time making a cake this complex, I already knew it was going to be a disaster. But I think most people will be happy that it’s a cake, and you can eat cakes, therefore…. HAPPY!
If you have an upcoming party and want a cake made…. please forget that I exist, I want nothing to do with it! Baking is not fun!
Where to Buy Supplies
(besides the basic ingredients of course)
Flavor drops – Capella Flavors
Sprinkles- Sweetapolita Carousel Sprinkle Medley
Candles- Cake Mate Disney Princess Candles (I haven’t found a retailer online that sells it at a reasonable price or not in bulk, but I bought this at my local grocery store.)
Icing Spatula- Wilton 13-inch Icing Spatula
Concrete Scraper- You can get this at any hardware store.
Be sure to buy a cake board, leveler, appropriate sized pans, parchment paper, a piping bag and food coloring. It’s recommended to use an oil based food coloring for white chocolate. I used a gel, though grainy, I was fine with the pastel color it ended up being.
Also be sure that you have certain tools, like a mixer, a food scale, enough baking pans, cooling racks, a double boiler, silicone spatula and probably other kitchen supplies I may be forgetting. Just be sure to watch the videos and see what you don’t already have and may need to get. You don’t want to find out too late that you don’t have what you need. And I would buy extra ingredients just incase you mess up. I ended up buying 11 bars of white chocolate.
Second disclaimer: Any company that would sponsor this post would be a fool to associate themselves with such a novice baker! Everything was purchased by me! The links are not affiliate links. This isn’t sponsored in any way.