Thursday, April 23, 2015

Multicolor Cake Batter Tutorial

WOW!  I took a break from blogging for a bit and when I came back I had a ton of messages requesting a how to on the peacock cake.  It was insanity.
First, let me say that there are two things that I am not.  One of those is a professional blogger.  The other is a professional chef.  To wit, you are probably about to view the least technical and poorly photographed tutorial you have ever viewed.  Sounds fun, right?  Here we go!



The first thing you are going to do is whip up a batch of cake batter.  I scratch bake but you can also use a boxed mix.  I won't judge you for it.  ;-)  The important thing is that it is white.  You can use a yellow cake batter but it will cause your colors to have a yellow tint.  If that's not a huge deal to you or if you are using yellow-based colors like orange or green then go for it!  If you want a more true color, you'll need to use a white batter.
Divide the batter into bowls. You'll need one bowl for each color.  Save just a little bit of white batter in your mixing bowl (maybe a cup or so).


I was doing another peacock colored cake when I did this tutorial, so you will see those colors being used.  I prefer to use AmeriColor gel colors. Can you use regular food coloring?  I would assume so.  I never have.  My only concern would be the amount that you might have to mix in to get vivid colors and whether that would affect your batter.  I use gel colors pretty much exclusively.  You can order AmeriColor gels online or you can pick them up at Hobby Lobby.  Wilton makes a line of gel colors also and you can pick those up pretty readily at Walmart, Party City, Hobby Lobby, and some grocery stores.  My only issue with those is that you have to scoop the color out of the container so you need to have some way to measure the amounts for consistency.  And it's messy.  Ask me about the time I dropped purple gel color down the front of my kitchen cabinets.  Not cool, man.  AmeriColor has a squirt top and if Wilton went to that I would probably be more inclined to buy those.  Also, AmeriColor seems to be a bit brighter and doesn't require quite so much to get a vivid color when coloring buttercream or fondant.
But I digress, per the usual.  Cake.  Colors.  Focus, Jen.  I used AmeriColor Royal Blue, Americolor Violet, and Americolor Leaf Green.  I used three drops of each color in the corresponding bowl and stirred it very well until the color was even.  Yes, I realize it looks a little pastel right now.  Just you wait!  You should not add anything to that cup or so you have reserved in the mixing bowl.


You will want to prepare the pan just like you normally would. I use Baker's Joy spray and love it!  I have not had one single cake or muffin stick to the pan since I started using it.  I don't get anything for saying that, but if they ever wanted to send me something free I wouldn't turn it down!  Take enough of the reserved batter to just cover the bottom of your pan.  I have made these multicolor cakes many times and every. single. time. that I didn't put the plain white batter on the bottom of the pan the cake stuck.  I'm sure it's operator error on my part and I have not attempted it again since I started using Baker's Joy.  You only have to throw out so many cakes before you learn the lesson.  White cake batter on the bottom of the pan, mkay?


Here's where it gets interesting!  Scoop a bit of the first color into the pan.  There is no precision in this step.  Glob it out.  Let it ripple.  Whatever your little pea-pickin' heart wants.  You just want a bit of that first color down.   Do that same thing with the second color.  Do it again with the third color.  If you have more colors, add those in one at a time also.  Resist the urge to swirl it together.  Just add colors.


When you've gone through all of them once, go through them again.


Repeat this process until the pan is about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full (whatever your recipe calls for--some rise more than others).  If that didn't quite fill the pan up enough, add whatever white you have left in the mixing bowl.


Can I be frank with you for a minute?  Here's why I say to resist the urge to swirl the colors together.  It is VERY easy to overmix the colors and end up with something that resembles, well, vomit.  Sorry.  I'm just keeping it real here.  Don't swirl it.
Bake your cake according to your recipe or package instructions.  When you pull it out of the oven, don't freak out.  The colors on the top are going to look pretty terrible. 


But watch what happens on the inside!  Gorgeous colors, am I right?  I've done this with many colors and they always bake up brighter than the batter.


And there you have it!  If you've got questions, send me a comment.  Or if you make this cake, I'd love to see the results!

Sweetly yours,
Jen

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