Celebrate with an Art Cake
The challenge of making something different
Last weekend I was faced with the challenge of organizing a birthday party for a very good friend of mine. I've known him for about 13 years and we've become very close so his birthday had to be very special. Every year we usually take him out to a nice restaurant and I thought it was time to change things up a bit. I decided that I would throw a nice dinner party for him including a birthday cake that I would make by myself.
Introducing the Art Cake
So this good friend of mine is a graphic artist so it's not surprising that he loves art. As I was browsing through the internet for unique cake ideas, I stumbled upon a video on how to make a rainbow cake. It looked really colorful and fun to make but I instantly knew it wasn't going to be sophisticated enough for my friend so I decided to create a cake that would somewhat resemble abstract art. Mixing colors to get the right hue like a painter would, I actually had a blast making this cake. After putting on the frosting, I added swirls of color on the top to make it look like abstract art which unfortunately didn't turn out as good as my expectations. The realization hit me that I was just not that great of an artist! So to make the best out of what I already had,I added two types of candy sprinkles(rainbow and silver) on the top to "improve" my artwork. The end result was quite festive and cutting into the cake revealed a kaleidoscope of colors that brought smiles to everyone.
Some tips for great results
1. Make sure not to overbake for a moist cake. Insert a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean and it's done.
2. Completely cool the cake before frosting
3. Use food coloring very sparingly and add more if you need to.
4. Don't be afraid to experiment and get creative.
A perfect cake for any special occasion
Everybody at the party practically screamed when the cake came out and I've never seen my friend look so happy about a cake so I felt it was well worth the effort. To be honest, I was afraid that it wouldn't taste as good as it looked but I had nothing to worry about as everyone told me how delicious it was. The cake was such a success that I think this would fit in perfectly with any special occasion. Perhaps it's a bit over the top for afternoon tea or a fancy dinner party but for birthdays, Christmas or any other festive holiday consider making this festive cake. Your guests will be raving about it for weeks!
The great thing about Martha's cookbooks is that she makes the recipes very easy to follow so that even the beginner can achieve perfect results. I am a fan!
- Cook time: 1 hour 15 min
- Ready in: 1 hour 15 min
- Yields: 8-12
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- At least three colors of food coloring such as red, blue and yellow
- VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
- 3 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- Optional decorations such as sprinkles
This is a good and reliable cake pan and because of the non-stick surface, your cake is effortlessly removed form the pan. I have two of these so I can bake two layers at the same time.
- MAKING THE CAKE : Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). Grease a 9x9 inch pan with some butter or shortening.
- In a bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time combing well each time.
- Mix in the vanilla extract.
- Combine the flour and baking powder and add to the butter-sugar mixture and mix well.
- Stir in the milk until the batter is smooth.
- Separate the batter into 6 separate containers such as a large soup bowl.
- Make 6 different colored cake batter using the food coloring.
- Pour each color into the middle of the pan one at a time while trying to keep each color in a circular shape.
- The final batter should look like you have six rings of colored batter.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes in the oven making sure not to over-cook. The cake is ready if it springs back when touched.
- MAKING THE FROSTING : mix together the sugar and butter with an electric mixer or standing mixer. Mix on low speed until well blended. Increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes until smooth.
- Add the vanilla and cream and beat on medium speed for 1 minute more adding more cream if necessary.
- PUTTING IT TOGETHER : Cut the cake into two even layers.
- Spread a thin layer of frosting onto a layer of cake. Top with the second cake layer so that they are stacked neatly on top of each other.
- Frost the top and sides of the cake.
- Add random food coloring on the top of the cake a small drop at a time. Use a fork or a chopstick to "color" your frosting to create art.
- Top the cake with sprinkles.
- Further decorate the cake until you are satisfied with your creation.