What’s better than a cupcake, you ask? How about a Teeny Tiny Rainbow Cake?
You’ve probably seen many full-size rainbow cakes (here’s one with White Chocolate Buttercream and who can resist this Vanilla Rainbow Cake?). But there’s something special about having a tiny little rainbow cake of one’s own, which is why I’m making these for a friend’s birthday later this month. They’re just the ticket to bring a smile to anyone’s face, especially a slightly birthday-weary guest of honor! These are easy to make, and a fantastic candidate for “make-ahead” due to the freezer time involved.
The parchment paper is actually, I believe, the most important part of the recipe—the layers are so thin that there’s no other way to handle them. The parchment paper provides both stability AND mobility!
Measure out six sheets of parchment paper to line your 9”x13” pan. You’ll want a couple inches of overhang on the long sides of the pan. Set the sheets aside, and stir up the two boxes of cake—I used Betty Crocker SuperMoist—according to package directions.
Divide the mixture evenly into six bowls. (Precision is important here, so be diligent!) Then, add liquid food coloring for the rainbow action. I used a classic food color set for the red and yellow, a 2:1 yellow/red ratio for the orange, blue and purple from a neon set, and a custom mix of the neon and classic green on the green layer. You’ll need about 20 drops total in each bowl to get nice, vibrant colors.
Preheat your oven, and prepare the first layer. Place one of the parchment sheets in the pan. Secure the sides to make spreading the batter easier. I used binder clips, which worked great. (Or, if you have a light touch with a spatula, you might not need fastening.)
Pour the batter into the pan, and spread it just to the edges of the pan with a spatula. When you pour the batter in, it won’t look like much. Not to worry. Just spread it out on the parchment as evenly as possible, and pop it in the oven.
Bake the layer for about 10 minutes. Then, allow it to cool on a cooling rack (in the pan) for 10 minutes. Next, grab the parchment handles (see, aren’t you happy about the parchment now?) and remove the layer from the pan. Place it back on the rack to continue cooling. Repeat with your next layer.
Once you’ve baked all six layers, and allowed them to cool completely, grab a couple tubs of white frosting. Give the frosting a thorough stir so it’s nice and loose. Grab your 9”x13” pan. Pick up your first layer with the parchment handles and place back in the pan (my layers started with red and ended with purple). Spread about 1/3 of a tub of the white frosting evenly on the layer.
Grab the next layer in your line-up. Use the parchment to position it, lay it face down on the frosted first layer, and then just peel the parchment off.
Note: the layers are thin. You may have a layer accident/incident/disaster at some point in the assembly process.
Don’t worry! Just assemble the layer pieces, jigsaw puzzle style, on top of the previous layer, mash them together a bit, and exercise a little extra caution when frosting that layer. Repeat the process with the remaining layers, until you get to the last layer. Don’t frost that one.
Next, wrap up the pan for the freezer. First wrap it with a layer of parchment paper and then heavy foil. Place a small cutting board and/or pan on top of the wrapped cake, and add a couple pounds worth of heavy freezer-friendly items. I used three tubs of frosting and frozen squash. You want to compact the cake a bit, as this will help you make even layers. Let the cake freeze for several hours or overnight.
The day you’re going to serve the cakes, take the bundle out of the freezer, unwrap, grab the cake slab out of the pan with the parchment handles, and get ready to cut.
Cutting is best done when the cake is frozen! I used a tall, 2 1/2” diameter round biscuit cutter—keep in mind that you’ll need a cutter with tallish handles that don’t get in the way. After cutting, push the cake out, gently but firmly.
Once you’ve cut all your rounds, top each with a little frosting, and a few sprinkles. Or, you can go the classic route and ice the sides, too. (Personally, I thought they were too brightly colored and cute to frost!)
Hope you have fun with these Teeny Tiny Rainbow Cakes!