22.5.11

How to make rainbow babycakes

Since Cameron has been back at school, he's been on at me to make rainbow cakes for his class.  We made big normal-sized ones when Sophie was first born.  While we were making them, I thought it may have not been the best idea, loading him up with sugar and additives, what with having a five-day-old and being unable to drive (stupid caesarean), I had no means of escape if he started bouncing off the walls Ricochet Rabbit-style.   Luckily, when it came time to eat them, my mother surprised us by packing Cameron up and taking him off to see some friends, so the cupcakes went with him for morning tea.  Good ol' Nanny saves the day.  Bet she was sorry she did that.  Live and learn!

This time I thought it a good idea to make baby ones.  Firstly, because I am real cheap and I can make more that way, and secondly, because I don't want to get in trouble with Cameron's teacher by making the kids too chemically hyper.  



Oooooo, pretty.
 
 

There are all sorts of versions of these on the net, a lot of which start from absolute scratch.  Not this one, though.  I don't bother making my own cake mix, because kids will be too distracted by all the pretty colours to make any scathing assessment on my baking skills.  I use Betty Crocker Vanilla cake mix (recently re-packaged as Duncan Hines, which doesn't sound nearly as homely).  One packet makes about 40 baby cakes.  Of course, any brand will do, but it's important to remember that it must be a cake mix that uses eggs and oil, not butter and milk, otherwise your colours will have a toasty tinge.  Then, mix it as directed.

 

I divide the mix into five colours;  red, orange, yellow, green and blue.  To make these, you only need your red, blue and yellow food colourings, you'll just mix your own orange and green up. Cameron never fails to remind me that I leave out two.  Well, no one cares about indigo and violet.  Not me, anyway.  Too hard.

 

 Then start by taking a scant teaspoon of red and popping it in your baby patty pan liners (which are obviously in a baby cake pan).  Remembering the ROYGBIV rule (without the IV bit), continue to layer your colours in the liners.  Just a note, cakes cook from the bottom up, meaning your bottom layers will receive the most heat. Hence, your bottom colours will form thicker layers than your top colours.  If you are a fussy thing and want evenly layered cakes, start with a thin red layer and increase the amount of mix with each colour you layer.  If you are slap-dash and you just don't care, like me, it doesn't matter.
 

 Just to see if Cameron could remember the colours in reverse, we did backwards ones too.

 

My boy knows his rainbows!  Roll on, Mardi Gras.

Now, my Betty Crocker mix is for making one big cake, but as I'm making wee baby cakes, I cook them at the recommended temperature for about twelve minutes.  Start checking at around ten, though. 





Then, for that bit of added madness, you can smother them with icing.  Use your favourite recipe, or use mine.

250g butter (room temperature)
2 1/2 cups of icing sugar
Vanilla essence 
Food colouring (optional)

Whip your butter up with your mixer (using whisk attachments if you have them, if not regular beaters will do the trick) on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until your butter looks light and creamy.  Stop to scrape the bowl once or twice so that all your butter is evenly whipped.   Reduce speed to low and gradually add your icing sugar.  Once all the icing sugar is mixed in, increase the speed to medium again and add the vanilla.  Add a few drops of your food colouring, if your using it.  Continue to whip until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes), scraping the bowl when necessary.  Use a piping bag to decorate your cakes or just spread it on with a butter knife.

Then, if you like, sprinkle on some sprinkles.  Because, let's face it,  at this point, a tiny bit more sugar and a tiny bit more food colouring is not really going to make a scrap of difference.

Then send them off to school and share the love.  Don't forget to pack extra ones for the teacher.  She is going to need LOTS of energy to keep up with all of those hyper kids.

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