We’ve all done things we are not proud of. The other day Mara ate a very expensive french macaron in front of a homeless man. Catherine recently backed her car into a cop car. Cat AND Mara both got too busy with their dumb jobs and and completely ignored this great project that is a constant challenge and inspiration.
We are sorry for not being there for you and we’re sorry for second guessing ourselves.
But all that is going to change soon. Because something happened while we were knee deep in dough rolling, espresso making hell. Some of you kept bugging us about not posting. Which means that someone is reading all this jibberjabber. Which also means we need to get our shit together because something is working here. In the midst of all the running around from job to job we both realized that we were missing the whole point of why we had each gotten new jobs in the first place. We were trying to legitimize our cooking experience so that we were more than just experienced home cooks. We wanted more clout and respect from the supposed “real” chefs who cook professionally. A few months into our insanity of bouncing back and forth six to seven days a week between money making job and passion/learning curve job, we realized we were missing the whole point of this new journey because we didn’t have time to work out new skills on our own projects. We were learning a bit, sure but not making as much progress in other people’s kitchens as we do in our own. We also both realized that we need to have more confidence in our skills because we are talented (new year’s resolution self affirmation!) and it’s not about what other people think. This is our own path and we need to stick to it so that we can see the evolution.
We’re sorry. We got distracted being mindless worker bees and weren’t giving you the attention you needed and weren’t giving ourselves the chance to succeed at something we love to do.
So we baked a cake, a showstopper cake. A cake to win over disapproving in-laws, dazzle curmudgeonly coworkers, celebrate a gay wedding or perhaps use as a tool to beg forgiveness for your transgressions. Of which we have none.
It is not advised to make this cake alone. We didn’t realize what exactly we had gotten ourselves into until we were in the throws of rainbow overload. But the reasons you shouldn’t bake this cake alone are the same reasons we love cooking together. Because not only will there be an outrageous number of dishes to do, but you’ll need someone to consult with when weighing out batter, tinting the multi-colored tiers and deciding just the right ratio of filling to layers. More importantly, there’s so much love that goes into this cake, it’s something you’ll want to share as you slice into the stark white frosting to reveal quite possibly the greatest rainbow you’ve ever seen.
We’ve pulled out all the stops for you. We are sorry. Sorry to you. Sorry to us. Sorry to our boyfriends who have been near starving since we’ve stopped recipe testing at home.
Enjoy this virtual cake then go make it for someone special and watch the look on their face when they cut into the big plain white frosted mass and see what’s hiding inside.
Rainbow Cake, recipe via Whisk Kid, adapted slightly
You will have to make this recipe twice, unless you have a large capacity stand mixer. This is where your baking partner comes in, so this is the final warning about making this cake by yourself.
2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 1/3 cups sugar
5 egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple food coloring. We used a mixture of both gel and liquid.
Preheat oven to 325. Gather as many 8 or 9 inch cake pans as you can find. Prepare appropratie sized parchment circles to line the bottom of the pans. (Don’t skip this step!) Grease and flour.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add egg whites one at a time. Add vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Alternating between wet and dry, add the milk and flour mixture in two parts.
Divide the batter among six bowls. We weighed out 18 ounces of batter for each layer. (If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can use a ruler to measure how far the batter goes up the side of the cake pan.)
Tint your layers the colors of the rainbow.
Pour into prepared pans and bake for a total of 20-30 minutes, rotate pans after 15 minutes, front to back top to bottom.
***We lowered our over temperature for this recipe to fight the cake’s urge to dome when baking. It worked out great, and we only had to do a minimal amount of trimming.
Remove from oven and let cool on cooling rack.
Wrap layers individually and freeze for at least a half hour.
In the mean time, make frosting.
7-Minute Frosting (aka Marshmallow Fluff) from America’s Test Kitchen
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 egg whites
6 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine first 6 ingredients in bowl of a stand mixer. Set that bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (you can use another bowl if your stand mixer bowl won’t fit over your favorite saucepan) Make sure water does not touch bottom of said bowl
Heat mixture while whisking constantly until it reaches 160 degrees. This could take as long as 10-12 minutes. Make sure your thermometer isn’t going to crap out on you (THANKS SUR LA TABLE).
Remove bowl from heat and whip on medium speed until soft peaks form. About 5-7 minutes.
Add vanilla, increase speed to medium high and whip until stiff peaks form. If you can hold the bowl upside down and nothing moves, you’ve achieved stiff peaks. Keep at room temperature until you are ready to frost the cake.
Lemon Cream Filling (optional, but strongly encouraged) straight from Dorie Greenspan.
This frosting is a bit too slick to layer in between the cakes. We decide to use lemon cream instead. This really brightened up the cake and paired very nicely with the frosting. Super simple and keeps well in the fridge.
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 3 lemons
4 large eggs
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces
Make sure you have: instant read thermometer, strainer, and either blender or food processor at the ready.
Bring a few inches of water to simmer in a saucepan, set a heatproof bowl over it, without letting the bottom of the bowl come in contact with the water.
Rub sugar and zest together until sugar forms clumps and smells very fragrant. Place in the bowl which is sitting on the saucepan and whisk in eggs followed by lemon juice.
Cook until cream reaches 180 degrees, whisking the whole time. Be patient, it could take as long as 10 minutes. Cream will begins to thicken and leaves tracks from the whisk as it gets closer to 180 degrees.
Remove cream from bowl and strain it into a blender or food processor. Let the cream cool down to about 140 degrees.
Turn machine on high and add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down sides of container as needed. Once all the butter is in, continue to mix for 3 minutes to get the light, airy texture of lemon cream heaven.
Put the cream in a container and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface and chill for at least 4 hours.