This week seems to have been my week for trying out new things that I've been wanting to do for ages but never got around to!! So I have been seeing quite alot of rainbow cupcakes around the blogging world and decided I wanted to have a go at this! I knew it was going to be quite alot of effort so it needed to be for a special occasion. Some of my school friends decided a few days ago they wanted to come visit me today which I was super excited about, as now that I've moved away from the town where I grew up I miss out on alot of the fun my friends are still having so I always love any chance I get to see them. They also hadn't been to our new place yet so I wanted to make it extra special! I decided I'd make afternoon tea for everyone (minus the tea of course!) and so this seemed like an exciting enough occasion to debut the rainbow cupcakes!
I whipped up Martha Stewart's white cupcakes from her cupcake book. I hoped that with them being 'white' they would soak up the colours better...although my batter didn't end up looking so white so I'm not sure if I did something wrong or if it's not a literal title like white chocolate which isn't ever actually white but more yellowy cream.
Here is what they looked like after adding some gel colour:
The batter actually coloured up really nicely with only the tiniest drop. I thought you might have to add quite alot, and was worried about how that would affect the taste of the cake but it wasn't a problem. Now the layering of the cake cases before they go into the oven is what takes the time, I didn't time myself but I'm pretty sure I spent at least an hour doing this. Adding two teaspoons of each colour, patting it down to an even layer and then repeating with the remaining four colours. I'm pretty sure you could just put blobs of different colours randomly in the cases and it would still come out like a rainbow but I wanted to go for the straight lines look. Here are the cakes fresh out of the oven:
It was pretty late by this point so I popped them safely in my cupcake courier to keep them fresh and went to bed. This morning I woke up and whipped up some vanilla buttercream courtesy of Hummingbird Bakery's cookbook. I was considering making rainbow frosting but I didn't have enough time with all my other tea party preparations!
Byron thought they should have rainbow sprinkles on too but I liked the contrast of the white against all that colour and just having a little smarties egg on top but I did a few sprinked ones to keep him happy:
and that all important cross section shot:
I love what it does to the wrapper!
From Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
3 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
1/2 cup plus 6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
5 large egg whites, room temperature
Gel paste in various colours: yellow, red, purple, blue, green
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt. Stir vanilla into milk.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter until smooth. Gradually add sugar, beating until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low.
Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until just combined after each.
In another bowl, with electric mixer on high speed, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form (do not overmix). Fold one third of the egg whites into batter to lighten, gently fold in remaining whites in two batches.
Divide batter evenly among 5 bowls and use a few drops of gel colour in each bowl until you reach the desired colour. Layer each colour, 2 tsp at a time, in cupcake cases. Repeat until all 5 colours have been used. Do not fill cases more than 3/4 full. Firmly tap the tins once on countertop to release any air bubbles.
Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean - about 18 to 20 minutes. Let cupcakes cool in tins for 10 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes enough to frost the above
From The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
500g icing sugar, sifted
160g unsalted butter, at room temperature
50ml whole milk
a couple of drops of vanilla extract
Add half the icing sugar and half the butter to a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the remaining butter and sugar and beat again until it is all combined.
Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.
Pipe frosting onto cupcakes using a closed star tip. Decorate with rainbow sprinkles or smarties mini eggs.
Here is our afternoon tea table...sandwiches, crisps, scones and cupcakes, and some cupcake bunting for decoration - it can't get better than that!