Nomtastic! Technicolor Crumbs

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I think it is quite impossible to look at a rainbow, and despite how horrifically downtrodden your mood might be, not feel just a little bit happier. I really believe a rainbow is intrinsically, instinctively, chemically, a natural source of joy, for no reason other than its mere existence. The notion that something so beautiful, so vibrant, so varied, can be real...it's a little taste of hope. And I like my hope to taste fruity, thank you very much.

This weekend was my annual family reunion, and I decided to make a rainbow Bundt cake for the occasion, and it so happened I needed a little rainbow to brighten the day. My parents were suddenly too sick to make it, my cousin that I was "closest" to just moved to Texas, and the aunt and uncle I was "closest" to were also too sick to come. So that left G and I toting our cake and pasta salad to the park alone, to share a meal with virtual strangers. My other aunt and uncle that were present asked me the usual niceties...how are you doing, how's mom and dad, still working at the library, still in school? I gave the same generic, polite, palatable sound-bite answers...oh, doing fine, they're doing okay now that dad's disability claim went through, yep, still at the library, nope, done with school.

 No, family, I have no exciting news to share. Thanks for reminding me.
I also graduated college in 2006.

I suppose I'm glad we have a family reunion at all, lots of families don't, and ours has been going on for about the past 80 years. So I appreciate that I might never see certain people if it wasn't for this event. But it still smacks of bittersweet fakery. The whole structure is all wrong. I wish we were close enough that name tags were not a necessity. Some people I see every year, and know that in some removed way I am related to them, but I have no idea how. Each branch of the family tends to sit in little cliques, so we don't actually interact with anyone outside our immediate family. With the more familiar members missing this year, the reunion was somewhat depressing.

But, wait, there is a rainbow cake. And things just can't be that bad where there's a rainbow cake involved. Family that I have never spoken to actually felt compelled to ask me about it and compliment me on it.I still have no idea who they are, but maybe they will at least remember me as the Rainbow Cake Girl. And perhaps they'll smile.


This cake is actually very easy to make, and yes, even starts with a cake mix. I used one of my favorite Cake Mix Doctor recipes as the basis, Susan's Lemon Cake . I alter it in just a couple of ways. First, start with a white rather than yellow cake mix. You want the batter to be as pale as possible so as to not muddy the gel colors you're going to be adding later. I also used a Pineapple Jello package, instead of lemon. It's a little more out of the ordinary, and slightly lighter as well. If you can find an even lighter Jello flavor, like Pina Colada, try that.  To make a really bright rainbow cake, use Wilton's Gel colorings. They are very concentrated, so a little goes a long way. Wilton Gel Colors are also much more vibrant than your typical liquid food colorings, so they can most likely overcome any initial cake batter tint, but I didn't want to push my luck.


I prepared the cake batter according to the directions in all other respects, but also added the zest of one lime, because I felt like it.

Divide the batter into six bowls. Because you're going to be layering them in a Bundt pan, you will need increasingly more batter for each progressive layer. So put a bit in the first bowl and add a bit more for each bowl afterwards. Therefore, the bowl for the red layer will hold the least batter and the purple layer will need the most. I didn't do any precise measuring with this, just eyeball it.




Using wooden dowels, mix a bit of gel coloring into each bowl, mixing well (you don't want any pale streaks!) and adding gel to achieve the desired depth of color. Start out with just enough to coat the tip of the dowel and move on from there. Remember, you can always add more, but you can't take away.



Now, doesn't that make you just a little bit happy?


Starting with the red bowl, add the batter in a smooth layer to the bottom of the Bundt pan. Proceed with the orange, attempting to keep the layers as separate as possible while smoothing out the orange over the red. Keep going, adding batters lightly and evenly. If spreading them out to the edge means overmixing the colors, just skip it.  Even doing this, there will be some mingling of colors and the largest layer, the purple, may sink into the other layers a bit, but the different colors will still all be distinct and clear.

Bake as directed, keeping a close eye on it. Remove as soon as you can really smell the cake. Overbrowning would not make for a pretty rainbow.


Let cool, and then when you unmold you will get something like this:

I love how there are just a few colorful spots on the outside of the cake, otherwise it appears to be a simple cake with a slight golden pinkish cast. I made a glaze using the juice of half a lime, a few squirts of Grenadine Syrup, and enough confectioners sugar whisked together to make a smooth, pink, syrupy glaze. But then, when you cut into it...





Ahh, technicolor crumbs...the stuff of dreams and bliss incarnate! Or, at least an interesting conversation piece and a nice way to make a bummer family reunion a little less miserable. And it tastes pretty good, too.  Enjoy!


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2 comments :

  1. That looks so good! I need to try it sometime... but I'm so lazy, and it looks like so much work!

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  2. It really isn't too difficult, it starts with a cake mix so it's more just assembly than actual baking skills :) And people SWOON over it! I made one for work last week and my co-workers were simply in awe, they'd never seen anything like it.

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Please leave me comments if anything strikes your fancy or if you have any helpful suggestions. Remember, I'm no expert and am just sharing my truth. Hopefully you will find something useful to take with you!

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