Rainbow Cake Flop

As I mentioned in the last post, a new person from Michigan State University moved here last Saturday night.  Nicky is holed up in a hotel temporarily as she hunts for housing and awaits her air shipment.  We had her and a few colleagues over for dinner tonight and I thought I’d make this cool “Super Epic Rainbow Cake” in her honor.

First I made the batter and split it into six equal weight bowls.  Then I added the gel food coloring (liquid won’t work, they say).  My oven is so tiny and misshapen that I could only bake three layers at a time, and they came out totally tilted because the oven’s tilted.  I didn’t realize until later how important it was to have level, flat layers.


But look at those beautiful colors.  That gel coloring really makes them intense.






I followed the instructions and carefully cut out parchment papers to lay at the bottom of the cake tin.  Good thing I did — everything would have stuck despite a heavy spray of Pam and the layers are so thin I would have lost most of the cake.






Next, I had to make a cream cheese/buttercream frosting and a meringue frosting (to add stiffness).  The cream cheese/buttercream came out as expected.







But the meringue refused to meringue!  I beat it for over 20 minutes with a mixer and it never got stiff peaks, only this thickish glossy stuff.  Maybe it was the altitude (4200 ft.)?  Or, should I have added more egg whites?







Our guests were supposed to have arrived 20 minutes ago so I was feeling stressed because I wanted the cake frosted.  I wanted them to think it was a traditional (boring) plain white coconut cake so they’d be surprised (nay, delighted!) when they saw the rainbow.  So, I went ahead and blended the two frostings, as directed by the recipe.







Next, I set about to frost the cake with the 1000 calorie/tablespoon extravaganza.

I quickly slapped a thick layer of frosting between all six layers and on the top and sides as well.  All I had to do was smooth the top and edges to perfection with the new handy dandy smoothening tool Ryan brought me from the states.  I  turned my back and opened the drawer to get it and turned around just in time to see the top three layers tilt over in slow motion and glide gracefully off the counter, down the cabinet, and onto the floor faster than I could say super epic rainbow disaster.   Now, I had used about four cups of frosting so you can just imagine the spatter pattern from a quart of butter/cream cheese frosting flopping and dropping.  Thom said the only other time he had heard me let out a scream like that was when I saw a rat in the kitchen.  I had been working on this cake since 10 am and now it was all over a good part of my kitchen!

I quickly snatched up the layers (thinking five-second-rule) before the actual cake had a chance to touch the floor, scraped off all of the frosting (making sure it was clean and pristine!), and then re-frosted and layered the cake.  (Fortunately, I had made a double batch of frosting because I knew I’d have to do it thick if I were to get it to look like the photo.  Oh, and I promise, NONE of the actual cake touched the floor.  Thom’s my witness.  Remember, I’m a public health expert.)  This time I inserted skewers to keep the layers from sliding, with minimal success I might add.

Problem was, I now had a huge buttery mess everywhere.  Our guests still hadn’t arrived but were expected any minute so Thom jumped in and cleaned up the frosting now covering the cabinets and a five-square-foot area on the floor.

Just as our visitors walked through the door, I slopped the last bit of frosting around the sides to cover the rainbow, threw the cake in the fridge, and prayed that the refrigeration would harden the frosting quickly to prevent further sliding.




Okay, can you guess which of the cakes below is mine, and which one is from the cookbook?  I know it’s tough but the skewers are a dead giveaway.









Pretty pathetic, huh?  And the baker’s video made it look so easy!  Geez.





The good news is that our guest of honor, Nicky, loved the cake.







And, once it was cut, it actually didn’t look that bad.

Most importantly, it tasted fantastic!

p.s.  Notice something wrong with my rainbow cake?  When the pieces slid apart I somehow got the order mixed up.   Waaahhhh….


About Kimm X Jayne

Gravatar Photograph from the exceptionally talented Ben Heine. http://www.flickr.com/photos/benheine/3794765860/
This entry was posted in About Zambia, Bread and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Rainbow Cake Flop

  1. Lisa says:

    OKay, that looks pretty fantastic but I”m still laughing because I once had a peach pie and went to show jeff and it slide all of the way out of the shell flopped onto the floor and the open oven door from taking it out. we all have those moments–but I bet it tasted amazing!

  2. Amberleigh says:

    Oh, Kimm! It was beautiful even if it gave you trouble! I’ll tell you, I can appreciate cake troubles and I just had to giggle at your runaway layers. I’m glad you were able to save them.

  3. Amy Bowden says:

    That is awesome. Fun.

  4. Cheryl Tomandl says:

    I’m rolling on the floor laughing–not at you, but at the many times I’ve had similar baking experiences!! I only wish you had a video of this, but your descriptions are so vivid I can totally visualize it! I think your cake is quite beautiful, and if you hadn’t shown the cookbook picture no one would ever know (by the way, which one was the cookbook pic??). I wonder if humidity might have been a factor with your meringue. I think of Zambia as very dry, but maybe not. I know it’s hard to get the egg whites to whip into stiff peaks when it’s humid. Just a thought. Altitude might also be a factor. I love your blog!

    • Kimm X Jayne says:

      It’s really dry here. Maybe the cream cheese is a different texture too. Click on the link the first time I mention the cake. It’ll take you to the blog (aka modern day “cookbook”) I took the cake from. The difference is I went back to the original recipe she referenced and made it a coconut cake again. The only modification I did to that was to add 1.5 teaspoons of coconut flavoring, because I’ve discovered otherwise you can barely detect a coconut taste. When are you and Tony coming to visit???

  5. aw, you are the best friend ever! It turned out to be beautiful!

  6. Maureen Witte says:

    Hey, you did good considering the problems you had! Looks delightful!

  7. Mikey says:

    Good try. David makes a rainbow cake by swirling colors thru a single layer of batter. Bam! Though if the cookbook version had turned out…

  8. Joanne Hutchinson says:

    You are amazing! You are always doing something. It looked great to me!
    PS You can use the adjusting legs under the stove, barrring that use some wood shims to level it.
    If you don’t have a level, fill a glass of water and put it in a frying pan on the stove to see when it is level. That is a suggestion from my carpenter husband Carl. I am sure it tasted great!

    • Kimm X Jayne says:

      That’s a great idea re the water! (and the leveling!) thanks….still waiting for those guest blogs….I keep checking Jami’s blog but NOTHING!?? Is she still going to do it?

  9. Joanne Hutchinson says:

    I think so. I just send her all of the pics on Picasa yesterday. I have started writing mine but it is turning into a book. I am trying to squeeze it in between cleaning my house after two teen age boys were here by them selves all summer and work.
    I am working on adding the video to Picasa as well but it is my first time and I am slow.
    I will send you the link. I don’t think I sent it to you yet as you already have the pics.
    Keep on bakin! Joe xo

  10. Neo & Draven, after I cut some of the cake you brought for them, very seriously and earnestly: “Aunt Kimm is a VERY good baker and a VERY nice lady!” LOL Needless to say, they LOVED it & so did we 🙂 Thanks a bunch! Was great to see you and Nicky today. Have a wonderful weekend!

  11. Pingback: Whooping Cough – Not just for children anymore… | Letters from Lusaka

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