Tasked with doing my bit for a bake sale at work to raise money for Birmingham Children‘s Hospital’s Great Cake Bake, I pondered what the best option would be for me to make. I decided against the futility of trying to produce the perfect sponge or the ultimate brownie and instead focused purely on aesthetics with a ridiculously brightly coloured batch of rainbow cakes. E-numbered out of my mind.
I made a few batches to test the theory and to experiment with colour. My first batch used red, blue, yellow and green food colouring (I hunted high and low with no success for Cochineal pink food colouring up to this point) and although the cakes looked pretty snazzy, I think the colour scheme looked a bit angry.
If you live in Birmingham city centre and have ever tried to find pink food colouring you’ll know that it’s oddly absent from most baking sections you peruse. I did eventually pick some up from Sainsburys though (hallelujah!) and project rainbow cake was back on.
For anyone who would like to make these and doesn’t know where to start, it’s actually very easy.
Simply make your sponge mix as normal and then divide it equally into 4 bowls (or more, depending on how many colours you want to include) then dye each pot a different colour.
Next, spoon the mixture out into a tin or muffin tin, layering one colour at a time until you’ve used up all of your mixture.
Then pop them into the oven and wait to see how they turn out…
As you can see, the pink colouring makes the world of difference (see below). My final batch were the exact mix of beautiful colours I wanted.
My top tips would be to avoid mixing red with blue to make purple (for some reason this only really worked for me with pink) and to make sure that you have put enough dye in each pot and mixed it in thoroughly enough to get a bold and even colour in your cakes.