So the rainbow cake is amazing, right? But to get such vivid colors you need to use a lot of artificial coloring. So I figured I would do something a bit different for Ruby's smash cake. And since I deal with plants, and have used plants to dye fabric, I thought I would take the next step. Plants as food dye. It took a little bit of tweaking, and running up until 2 weeks ago I was baking fruits and veggies into anything I could imagine. Joe and Ruby, and even the extended family, had their fair share of purple and blue and pink and red cakes, pancakes and muffins.
First trial went pretty well.
Although the color of beet was awesomely awesome, the flavoring definitely came through as BEET. I meant to try it again with non-pickled beets, but that just didn't happen. Plus, I wanted to make sure there was an equal amount of sweet in this cake. It was her first birthday, after all. So when it came down to go time, I had my color choices made: strawberry + rhubarb, sweet potato + carrot, pineapple + curry, spinach, blueberry and blackberry.
My method was not very scientific. I would steam and puree each color in the Beaba food processor/steamer/blender I have on loan from my sister. (Seriously, without her where would I be in this entire birthday party?)I measured out one cup of the puree (adding water if needed). Then I took my Duncan Hines super moist white cake mix (dry mix, not made) and scooped it in until the puree reached a cake batter consistency. Sometimes it took a lot of batter (strawberry-rhubarb) and sometimes it took only a little (sweet potato-carrot). Here is how each color looked before going in the oven.
I blasted my 6x2 inch cake pan with Pam for baking spray and put it in the oven at 375°. I baked until a bamboo skewer came out clean. When they were done, I flipped them onto a wire rack to cool. I needed them to be completely cold because I made these a week before the birthday party, so I was going to need to freeze them. I was most nervous about this part. So nervous, in fact, I did not document this at all. I wrapped each completely cooled cake in saran wrap and then put each layer into its own ziploc freezer bag. All the bags went into a lidded pyrex dish (mostly to keep them flat and together) and this went into my freezer. And it worked! The night before the party I moved the pyrex dish to the fridge. On the morning of the party I took the pyrex dish out of the fridge and onto the counter. The cakes defrosted all morning. Once they were unfrozen, I stacked them up with a ring of cream cheese frosting between each layer.
In the background of that pic you can see the plastic bags used for freezing. The top of the cake got more cream cheese and the "1" birthday candle went on top!
I did have to do a little bit of cutting to make sure all the layers were the same diameter. And the colors aren't incredibly vibrant, but they do the trick for the purpose of this cake. And yes, I did add too many blueberries. Had I cut back my blueberries, I would have had a more vibrant blue. Next time.
It was a pretty big cake for such a little girl.
so she got a slice of it. And she ate it up pretty well!
And so did the family!