If you haven’t seen the Facebook and Twitter pages, you won’t know that I’ve gone back to work full-time, and have closed my cake business. As much as I loved creating some fantastic cakes over the years, life at home was taking a back seat and after sitting myself down and having a good long, hard think about things; I knew what I had to do. And I did it!
I have a few fabulous weddings coming up, between now and the end of the year, but life is a lot more carefree again. I get to see more of my husband rather than be ships that pass in the night, spend time with my beautiful family, catch up with my friends and have a little summer holiday. I couldn’t be happier!
Rediscovering the weekends has meant that I’ve been able to take full advantage of the glorious summer weather; outdoor dining, feet up, G&T in hand; there’s been plenty to celebrate. And for the first time in 5 years, I’ve had chance to bake birthday cakes for my family.
With everything back in full-swing life-wise and starting the new job, my Sister-in-law’s birthday sort of snook up on me, and I also had a beautiful cake table to create for a wedding in the mix. So when the family get-together finally came round, I wanted to create something simple but a little bit cool and funky, with a strict brief of being vegetarian and gluten-free, as H is coeliac.
It was time to whip out the trusty £3 Aldi bundt tin again. Secretly I’d been hankering to use it for ages, but just didn’t have the right occasion, but this was the right time. What would be more appropriate for a significant xx-something birthday other than a bright, colourful rainbow cake and sprinkles!
This is really the simplest recipe going; proper flour or a gluten-free flour mix, the only fiddly bit is the colour layers; but even then it’s nothing really more than weighing out mix, colouring it and popping it in the tin. Trust me…
But for a moment, let’s talk about the whole gluten-free and vegetarian thing. The cake batter recipe is vegetarian, so that’s not too much of a problem; its really the sprinkles that hit the nail for both of them. I’ve an arsenal of all sorts of sprinkles, big ones, little ones, glittery ones, letters, animals, hearts and flowers; most of them contain flour, quite a few of them aren’t vegetarian… But trusty ol’ Dr Oetker sugar strands off the supermarket shelf, tick both dietary boxes as well as having that old school decoration that is customary for a runny icing coated rainbow cake!
Gluten-free and coeliac-wise, there’s lots of different alternatives to a wheat flour, including using almonds; but with my nut allergy (yes, this really was a cake that was this, that and everything else free; except for dairy) I went for an off-the-shelf self-raising flour from Doves Farm. I’ve used the flour as a replacement a few times and it’s always held up really well, still giving a spongy and light texture. The only thing I find is that it sometimes has a slightly coarser texture on the tongue, but it seems to be something that’s inherent with gluten-free cakes. The flour blends are finely ground, but they’re just not the same as a wheat flour. But never mind, it worked and tasted good.
So now that’s out the way, it’s rainbow time! For that beautiful, bright arch of colours when you slice open your cake, there’s just a little prep-work involved which means your colours sit on top of each other rather than all merging together into a marbled effect. You’ll need to have 6 bowls ready, your colourings and a set of scales. As usual I’d recommend using gel colours, either Sugarflair or Progel; add a tiny more than you think you should as they will fade down when baked. That said, use a cocktail stick to add the colour; yep that little. You’ll be surprised at how well the gels work to colour the batter. You can use the liquid food colourings, but you’ll be adding excess liquid to the batter mix which is never a good thing (puff up and shrinkage, oops). So if you can get your hands on the gels do it. Lots of the supermarkets now stock gel colours at reasonable prices, keep an eye open for them. Right then, get weighing…
- Red – 170g (6oz)
- Orange – 140g (5oz)
- Yellow – 115g (4oz)
- Green – 85g (3oz)
- Blue – 55g (2oz)
- Purple – 25g (1oz)
Now you’ve got the weights for the colours; here comes the recipe…
- 125g Unsalted butter
- 180g Golden caster sugar
- 1tsp Vanilla extract
- 2 Eggs, medium
- 180g Gluten-free self-raising flour
- 1tsp Gluten-free baking powder
- 125g Greek yoghurt
- Gel food colours - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple
- Icing sugar
- Cold water
- Lightly grease an 8 inch diameter Bundt pan, then dust with gluten-free flour. Tap off any excess.
- Preheat oven to 180C or 160C (fan).
- Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and caster sugar, until pale and fluffy. Alternatively, you can make the cake batter, in a large mixing bowl, by hand or with an electric hand whisk.
- Add the vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, to the butter and sugar, and beat until well combined.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder together.
- Add half the flour to the mixture and gently fold together.
- Add half the yoghurt to the mixture and gently mix through.
- Add the remainder of the flour, and fold through. Add the remainder of the yoghurt and mix through.
- Divide the mixture into six bowls using the measurements above and colour accordingly.
- Leave the remainder of the mixture as 'normal'.
- Put each of the coloured mixtures into either individual piping bags or plastic food bags, with the corner snipped off. This makes it easier to layer the colours in the bundt pan.
- Add the 'normal' batter mixture into the bundt pan, Then pipe the red batter on top, making a wide ring. Then add the orange batter but keep it within the ring of the red batter. Next add the yellow, and so on. Each time keeping the batter within the ring of the one below it.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a skewer or toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
- When cooled, mix together a runny icing with the icing sugar and cold water; so that it will dribble over the top and sides of the bundt cake, but not completely run off.
- Decorate with the sprinkles, then slice it to check out the rainbow!
The cake can be kept in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days, or can be frozen, for 1 month.