Who doesn’t like rainbows? I cooked this cake for a coworker’s birthday and the result was described as “magic” and “the most amazing cake I’ve ever seen.”
I’ve had this idea in my head for a while. I had seen a picture of a rainbow cake, and was just trying to decide what flavor would be the best to make it in. And then it came to me: Red Velvet! My thought was, if you are already dying the bejeezus out of a red velvet cake, why not use other colors?
I’m an old pro at red velvet cake, by they way. Every year for Christmas since I can remember Mom has made it with pink buttercream icing. We light candles and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. Odd? Yes. Especially since we aren’t even really religious. Delicious? Absolutely.
In my recipe below I make a simple vanilla icing instead of butter cream. I always thought the buttercream was a bit too rich for my taste. Try to get butter that is pale if you can, so it doesn’t affect the creamy whiteness of that icing.
I know it’s a lot of ingredients, but you have to triple the recipe in order to get enough batter for six layers, or else the layers will dry out. Also, make sure to use 8-inch instead of 10-inch pans, for the same reason. And like my mom always says “Make sure to follow the instructions EXACTLY!” (I’m bad about that.)
Recipe for Alden’s Velvet Magic Cake (Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Remixed)
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 5 boxes of food coloring (the kind with red, yellow, green and blue .25 oz squeeze bottles. Found in any grocery store)
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups shortening (like Crisco)
- 4 1/2 cups white sugar
- 6 eggs
- 7 1/2 cups all purpose flour. (the recipe says sifted, but all flour is pre-sifted these days, so no worries on that.)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
(Note: this is what the cake looked like when I only doubled the recipe. Yes, the layers were a bit dry. So you’ll want to triple instead.)
For the icing:
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- good dash salt
- two teaspoons vanilla
- 4 tablespoons milk
- 4 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar (Note for your shopping trip that that’s almost two bags worth of sugar.)
- Grease three 8 inch round pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Divide cocoa evenly into 6 medium bowls that are lined up in a row. (Cereal bowls are NOT quite big enough.) In bowl 1, put 3 bottles of the red food coloring. In bowl 2, put 1 bottle of red and 2 bottles of yellow. In bowl 3, put 3 yellow bottles. In bowl 4, put 3 green bottles. In bowl 5, put 3 blue bottles. In bowl 6, put 1 red and blue bottle each. Mix each bowl to make a paste.
- Combine the buttermilk, salt and vanilla. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add flour at a little bit at a time.
- Combine baking soda and vinegar, then add to mixture.
- Divide the mixture evenly into the 6 rainbow colored bowls.
- Into each bowl, met out a heaping spoonful of flour and the buttermilk mixture. Mix it up. Repeat until all of flour and buttermilk mixture is mixed into the bowls. (Make sure to do this gradually, not in one big dump!)
- Pour batter from the purple, blue, and green bowl into the cake pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Flip them out, purple first, onto your serving tray. Put the last three colors into the now empty pans to bake, and then stack them on top. (Notice in the top picture that I mixed up my orange and red layer. Whoops! Gotta be careful!) You want it to be, from bottom up: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange red. The colors will be brighter once you slice into the cake, so don’t worry if the crust looks dull. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To Make Icing: mix up all ingredients. Generously slather (when the cake layers are completely cool!) between each layer and all on the outside. Don’t let any color peek through.
- Don’t tell anyone it’s a rainbow cake until you slice into it and deliver a little piece of magic onto their plates!