Tag Archives: cake

Basic Mille Crêpe Attempt

When we said this mille crepe was basic, we didn’t mean drinking Starbucks and listening to Taylor Swift. It’s a classic mille crepe recipe made up of layers of crepes filled with vanilla custard cream in between.

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Mille crepe literally means “a thousand crepes” in French. It’s like a cake, but it’s made with very thin layers of crepes instead. It was something that was on my baking/cooking bucket list for quite a while now, but I didn’t want to attempt making it until I tried a store-bought one. I wanted to make sure I knew what a good mille crepe was supposed to taste like!

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A few weeks ago, I finally got to try the mille crepe from Millie Creperie at Kensington Market. It definitely lived up to the positive reviews I’ve heard about their crepes. Their mille crepe had the right amount of sweetness with a creamy filling. The filling tasted like pastry cream mixed with some whipped cream. Now that school’s over and I’m on the verge of unemployment, I figured it’s about time I try making a mille crepe.

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I used this recipe as a reference for making the cream filling. I highly recommend using vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste for the cream; it makes a huge difference! I also increased the amount of sugar because I felt that the cream wasn’t sweet enough. As for the crepes, I stuck with my go-to crepe recipe. I love the addition of using a citrus zest to the crepe batter as it adds a subtle flavour to the crepe. I tripled the amount of the crepe recipe and added about 3 tablespoons of sugar for a sweet crepe. That yielded me about 16 crepes. I used 15 crepe layers for the mille crepe because I messed up the last crepe. I nibbled on it while dipping the crepe with the remains of the cream filling stuck on the bowl. It was delish.

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I was initially going to leave the crepes plain with a dusting of powdered sugar, but I ended up garnishing the mille crepe with strawberries and cream.

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Verdict: I really enjoyed the cream filling and it tasted similar to the mille crepe I tried at Mille Creperie. However, I felt like there wasn’t enough cream or perhaps the cream dried up after leaving the mille crepe in the fridge overnight. I’ll have to tweak the crepe-to-cream ratio next time I make a mille crepe again.

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Matchachoco recommended I make a matcha mille crepe next time (of course she would), so that’ll be my next mille crepe attempt!

‘Til the next blog post,

– Ricelessasian

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Easter Egg Cake

Spring is here! Here’s a food post I’ve delayed posting for a very long time because I was waiting for Spring.

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This cake was inspired by a photo of an Easter egg I saw online (does anyone know the original source?). I just knew I had to recreate it the moment I saw the photo! You’re probably wondering how I made the chocolate egg shells. And no, I didn’t use a giant Easter egg mold! The truth is, I made some culinary “shortcuts”. The egg shells are actually a giant Kinder Surprise egg that I split into half.

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I stuffed the chocolate egg shells with vanilla and matcha sponge cake, along with some sweetened whipped cream and strawberries. Since the chocolate egg shells were already sweet enough, I thought the lightness of the sponge cake and whipped cream complemented the chocolate well. I got the sponge cake recipe from Woodland Bakery. I added vanilla extract to half of the cake batter, and added matcha powder to the other half. Given the history of our previous posts on matcha, we all know that I just HAD to. But of course, you can stuff whatever type of cake and cream you prefer. The beauty of baking is that you get to be creative with the flavours that you make 🙂

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To get the spongecake fit the chocolate egg shells, I made cutouts with paper towels with the shapes I wanted. I didn’t measure anything. I just estimated and checked if the cutouts fit the chocolate egg shells. Once I got the right shape and size, I used the cutouts as a guideline to cut the cake.

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For the filling, I just used whipped cream that was sweetened with powdered sugar. I folded chunks of strawberry pieces into the cream.

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I’m just glad I finally got to post this after a long wait 😛 What are you baking for Easter?

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Happy Spring!

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– Ricelessasian

Our Year in Review (2014)

2014 went by so fast! We can’t believe it has been almost two years since we started UCL. Here’s a review of our eventful year:

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We went to Canoe for Winterlicious.

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We learned about Nigerian cuisine for a school project.

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We went on a Vancouver food trip. This was Ricelessasian’s first time visiting  Vancouver.

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Baked a giant cupcake for a special girl’s birthday party!  

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Ricelessasian made a lot of colourful cupcakes.

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Although Matchachoco stayed in Vancouver, we met again in Los Angeles a few months later. We went on a food trip…again (lol).

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We made our own birthday cakes!

Ricelessasian’s birthday cake:

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Matchachoco’s birthday cake: 

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Virtual Thanksgiving Potluck with EatPrayBake 🙂

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We had a couple of pasta posts throughout the year 😛

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Ricelessasian made an edible Christmas tree.

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Looking forward to more food experiments in 2015! 🙂

Happy New Year!

– Underground Culinary Lab Team

Chocolate Peanut Butter Birthday Cake

Happy New Year everyone! 🙂

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Last week, I decided to spoil myself to an extravagant, over-the-top 3 tiered cake for my birthday this year. I don’t usually make cakes; honestly, I’m more of a fan of French pastries like double-baked almond croissants and macarons. However, I came across fellow Vancouverite Coco Cake Land’s cake and I was immediately hooked! Both her and Katherine Sabbath are bakers that we follow on Instagram who create unique and stylized cakes that are one-of-a-kind. I wanted to feature this cake because it’s a very visual, youthful and eye-popping cake which made me super duper happy to bake and eat!

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Wishing you an amazing year of good vibes, yummy eats, and a healthy journey ahead!

See y’all in 2015,

-matchachoco

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Vanilla Layer Cake (makes three 6-inch x 2-inch round cake layers)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

2 cups cake flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups of sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (I used 1 ¾ cups of 2% milk with 3 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter all sides of three 6-inch round cake pans generously and line only bottoms with parchment paper.
  3. Prepare “buttermilk” by adding fresh lemon juice to the milk. Stir to combine and set aside for 15 minutes.
  4. Sift together both all-purpose and cake flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  5. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla.
  6. Add eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.
  7. At low speed, beat in the milk mixture and add in the flour mixture, alternating with dry and wet mixtures (ending with the dry). Mix until just incorporated.
  8. Pour batter in each pan (half way) and spread evenly with a spatula. Drop pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles.
  9. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown and test doneness with a toothpick . Make sure there are no crumbs on the toothpick (a denser cake is desired for clean cutting).
  10. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pans.
  11. Invert onto separate plates to cool and set aside the layers of cakes.

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Peanut Butter Frosting (makes enough for one – 3 layer cake)
Adapted from Coco Cake Land 

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup of smooth peanut butter
2 cups of icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp. of milk
Pinch of salt

Directions

1. Using a stand or hand-held mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter on high speed for 1 minute.
2. Add the icing sugar, vanilla , salt and milk, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minute.
3. Remove the first cake layer from the cake pan. Frost generously with peanut butter frosting. (Repeat for 2nd and 3rd layers).
4. Spread the frosting on the outer sides and smooth out the entire cake with an offset spatula.

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Chocolate Glaze
Adapted from Coco Cake Land 

Ingredients

½ cup dark chocolate, broken into pieces (I used Trader Joe’s 70% cacao Dark Chocolate bars)
¼ cup unsalted butter, diced
1/8 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1 tsp of whole milk

Directions

1. Fill a small pot with water and boil. Place the butter, chocolate, and vanilla in a heatproof glass bowl on top of the pot. Stir slowly until melted. Remove from stove and slowly stir in the milk (try to avoid curdling).
2. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
3. Pour glaze on top of the peanut butter frosting. With the assistance of an offset spatula, spread glaze to the edges of the cake and slowly let the chocolate drip on only a few sides of the cake.
4. Let cake set for 20 minutes.
5. Decorate the cake with meringue kisses, chocolate bark or sprinkles.
6. Serve immediately or cover and wrap the cake in saran wrap to prevent drying up in the refrigerator.

For the pretty chocolate bark decorations and cute meringue kisses, follow Coco Cake Land’s easy peasy recipes here and here!

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DIY Basketweave Birthday Cake

Back to food blogging! August has been quite an eventful month for me, so I didn’t really have that much time to play around in the kitchen. Fortunately I had a free day on my birthday a few days ago, so I took the opportunity to bake myself a DIY birthday cake. I settled for a small chocolate cake dressed up as a basket case with flowers on top :).

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This was my first attempt of doing a basket weave cake design, and although it had a few flaws, I was pretty content with how it turned out for a first try :P.

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I used a Swiss meringue buttercream technique for the frosting, while I stuck with my go-to chocolate cake recipe from Add a Pinch.

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The chocolate cake turned out pretty moist even after I refrigerated it, but I thought there was too much frosting for the amount of cake. Oh well, I’ll keep that in mind next time I make a cake :P.

Here’s a step by step demonstration in photos of how to make basket weave patterns:

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Keep repeating until you’ve gone all over the cake.

Hope you’re having a great summer!

– Ricelessasian

Giant Birthday Cupcake!

This month has been an incredibly busy time for us! After final exams in April, we headed to Vancouver for a very special celebration and our first cupcake order. The birthday girl, Samantha, was turning 1 and her mother requested a gigantic ‘smash’ cupcake to celebrate the occasion.

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A few weeks prior, Ricelessasian and I made a prototype of the giant cupcake for practice. I’ve made many regular-sized cupcakes before, but I was really excited to finally make such a massive cupcake! Luckily, Ricelessasian has had experience making one before so, we weren’t so ‘lost’ in the whole baking and molding process of the cupcake.

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Aren’t these funky and vintage-y cake stands so cute? For the party decor, our client also requested that we integrate the new OhJoy! decor line from Target. We happily obliged because all the pieces are incredibly adorable!!

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We decided to use this recipe , one – because of the enticing title and two – because vegan ingredients were requested for the giant cupcake (with the exception of the sprinkles). Personally, I think I will definitely use this recipe again one day. The title of the recipe did not lie! The texture of the cupcake was moist and chewy – which was very different from the cupcakes we have made in the past, in a positive sense. I must admit – we had a good chuckle during the baking process because of the unique baking method 😉 (refer to Step 1). For the frosting, we made vegan buttercream using this guide.

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The other regular-sized cupcakes (chocolate cupcakes with matcha frosting) were for the guests of the birthday party. We used our go-to chocolate cake recipe with a matcha cooked frosting.  I think they were a bit hit, as some of the friends took a few cupcakes to-go!

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The birthday girl, Samantha, didn’t end up smashing the giant cake, after all. She may have been too lady-like to ruin it or perhaps she thought it was too pretty to eat like I did. Haha!

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H-o-o-r-a-y!! These were the perfect decorations for the simple yet sophisticated matcha cupcakes.

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We made certain improvements to the giant cupcake we served after making the prototype one. For instance, we made the frosting colour more vibrant (more green and pink), created more defined ruffles at the bottom of the cupcake and added flowers made from vegan frosting to the top of the cupcake. Organizing all the little details that were involved with putting the cupcake together were well worth it 😀 Needless to say, we were happy about how the end product turned out. We hope all the guests and the birthday girl enjoyed it as well!

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Thanks for reading and hope you had a wonderful Victoria Day long weekend,

-Matchachoco

Christmas Yule Log Cake (Buche de Noel)

It ain’t Christmas season without some serious baking!

The idea of a Yule log cake has fascinated me since I got into baking as a hobby, and after watching Gretchen’s tutorial from Woodland Bakery, I was finally inspired to make it. After all, roll cakes are easier to make than layered cakes, and what fun is it to dress it up like a log!

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To make the Yule log stand out, I added edible cake toppers using Santa strawberries and meringue mushrooms. I also added some raspberries. The “Merry Xmas” sign was made with chocolate and white chocolate with freeze-dried strawberries. I like to have all the decorations in my Yule log edible, and what I like about them is that they don’t require artificial food dyes.

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Until now, I’m still so amused with the meringue mushrooms. The ‘dirt’ is actually cocoa powder. You can probably trick people into thinking they’re real mushrooms 😛

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For the roll cake, I used Cooking with Dog’s roll cake recipe as a reference, and substituted the matcha powder with cocoa powder. The cake turned out to be light and not too sweet, similar to those cakes sold in Asian bakeries. Did I mention that Matchachoco and I are huge fans of light Asian style cakes?

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This was my first Yule log attempt, and although it was quite time consuming to make, I really enjoyed making it. I honestly had a difficult time photographing the Yule log as it seems like I can’t find the perfect Christmas-themed background for it. I can’t wait to make another Yule log (maybe next year?), and hopefully by that time, I would have improved the Yule log baking and photography.

Happy baking and happy holidays,

-Ricelessasian

IMG_1217Chocolate Roll Cake
Adapted from Cooking with Dog

Ingredients

4 eggs, whites and yolks separated
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tbsp. cocoa powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees F.  Prepare a 17”x 11” baking sheet with parchment paper.  Grease parchment paper with oil.
  2. Combine cake flour and cocoa powder, and sift them together 2-3 times.
  3. In a bowl, beat egg whites with an electric beater until foamy. Continue to beat, gradually adding half the sugar (1/4 cup), until stiff peaks form.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and the half of the sugar (1/4 cup) until the egg yolks have increased in volume.  Whisk the cake flour mixture to the egg yolks.
  5. Fold 1/3 of the meringue (whipped egg whites) into the egg yolk mixture until fully incorporated. Do this repeatedly with the rest of the meringue, 1/3 at a time, until fully incorporated.
  6. Carefully spread the batter to the baking sheet with a spatula, making sure the batter does not deflate. Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway, or until the cake springs back when it is touched.  Make sure you do not overbake or the roll cake will crack when you roll it out.
  7. After baking, immediately transfer the cake to a flat surface and cover it with another baking tray. This will prevent the cake from drying out and maintain its flexibility. Cover until the cake is cool enough.

Chocolate custard cream (used as the filling for the Yule log)
Adapted from Cooking with Dog

Ingredients

2 egg yolks
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup milk, warm
~50 g chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

  1. Sift together flour and cocoa powder.
  2. Pour about 1/4 cup of the milk to the egg yolks, and whisk them together. Whisk the flour mixture. Add the remaining milk, and whisk until fully incorporated. Strain the mixture and transfer to a sauce pan.
  3. Heat the mixture in a sauce pan, continually stirring, until you get a thick consistency. While the custard is still hot, add the chocolate and mix it to the custard until the chocolate fully melts.
  4. Transfer the custard to a shallow bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, with the plastic wrap touching the top surface of the custard; this will prevent a ‘skin’ from forming on the top surface of the custard.  Refrigerate the custard until chilled.
  5. In a bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream to the chilled custard until fully combined. Fold the remaining whipped cream to the custard. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Chocolate Ermine Frosting (used to frost the Yule log)
Adapted from Yoyomax12

Ingredients

1 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Directions

  1. Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add vanilla extract. Continue beating until most of the sugar has dissolved.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together milk and flour. Heat milk and flour mixture in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir the mixture continuously until the mixture thickens into a paste.
  3. Transfer milk and flour mixture into a bowl and let cool. Stir it occasionally to make the cooling process faster.
  4. Once cooled, add the milk and flour mixture to the creamed butter and beat them together.Add cocoa powder and continue to beat. The frosting should have a light fluffy consistency.

TIP:  If you end up with a runny frosting, refrigerate or put the frosting in the freezer for a few minutes.  Beat the frosting again after taking it out of the fridge until you get a light fluffy consistency.

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To assemble the roll cake, spread the filling all over the top surface of the cake. Tightly roll the cake. Wrap the roll cake with parchment paper and plastic wrap, so that it remains tight. Freeze the roll cake.

Once frozen, cut the sides of the roll cake to make it shaped like a log. Attach the sliced parts of the cake to the side and top of the roll cake, using frosting as the glue. Frost the cake with the frosting, copying the texture of a log. Attach the edible designs to the cake, and dust with cocoa powder and powdered sugar.

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Instructions for the santa strawberries can be found here. Gretchen from Woodland Bakery has a very informative tutorial on how to make the meringue mushrooms. She used a Swiss meringue method for making the meringue, but if you don’t have a candy thermometer or don’t want to go through all the trouble of heating the sugar and egg whites, you can use the French meringue method, which is what I usually do when I make meringue cookies.

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Natural Colour Rainbow Cake Experiment #1)

Would you believe that it’s possible to make a vibrant rainbow cake without using any artificial food colouring?

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I couldn’t believe it myself until I saw this recipe online. I thought it would be a fun idea to try it out around this time of the year because of Toronto Pride Week.

It was a very time consuming cake to make because we had to make our own food dyes by juicing beets, carrots, spinach, blueberries, and blackberries. I made the cake with Daisy, who was Matchachoco’s replacement for the month of June 😛 This was our first attempt at making a rainbow cake, so we didn’t make any changes to the original cake recipe (we didn’t want to screw up on our first attempt which required a lot of work!). For the frosting, we used a cooked frosting recipe, which Matchachoco and I both love. It has a very fluffy consistency, tastes similar to sweetened whipped cream, but it’s not as sweet as the typical buttercream recipe.

We were really amazed with how the colours turned out for the cake. I hope that this post will inspire you as well to experiment with natural food dyes for baking.

– Ricelessasian

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Natural Colour Rainbow Cake Experiment #1

*Please check the recipe from Itsy Bitsy Foodies*
  
Natural food dyes we used:
spinach juice (green), carrot juice (orange), egg yolk (yellow), beet juice (red), blackberry juice (purple) and blueberry juice (blue)

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We divided the white cake batter into equal portions and mixed in about 1-2 tbsp. of the food dye to each cake batter portion. Since we were using 7 1/2 inch cake pans (larger than what was used in the original recipe), we divided the cake batter 3/4 cups each instead of 1/2 cup each.

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TIP: Use disposable aluminum cake pans if you don’t have cake pans for each colour.

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Results: The colours were definitely not as vibrant as artificially coloured rainbow cakes, but considering that the use of natural food dyes in baking is tricky, the results were really impressive. The taste of the fruit and vegetable juices were also undetectable.  However, we found that the cake was quite dense and too moist for our liking. We’d prefer it if it was a lighter cake. We would definitely try experimenting with natural food dyes again, but we would use a different white cake recipe if we were to make another rainbow cake.

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Cooked Frosting (enough to frost and decorate the entire cake)
We doubled the recipe from Yoyomax12

2 cups butter
2 cups milk (we used 2%)
2 cups sugar
8 tbsp. flour
1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract

  1. Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add vanilla extract. Continue beating until most of the sugar has dissolved.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together milk and flour. Heat milk and flour mixture in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir the mixture continuously until the mixture thickens into a paste.
  3. Transfer milk and flour mixture into a bowl and let cool. Stir it occasionally to make the cooling process faster.
  4. Once cooled, add the milk and flour mixture to the creamed butter and beat them together. The frosting should have a light fluffy consistency.

TIP:  If you end up with a runny frosting, refrigerate or put the frosting in the freezer for a few minutes.  Beat the frosting again after taking it out of the fridge until you get a light fluffy consistency.

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If you noticed, my pictures started with baking the cake at daylight and ended with photos of the finished cake at night. That’s because the whole cake was really that time consuming to make! I usually prefer taking photos of food with natural lighting (e.g. near a window during daylight), but I couldn’t finish making the cake before the sun went down. Ohh well 😛