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By Edd Kimber. Published by Kyle Books, 2012.


I am a compulsive collector of all cookery books, but baking books are my particular obsession, even if the books I often buy end up having similar renditions of recipes I have already written myself. But I don't mind: along with Mae West, I really am of the opinion that too much of a good thing can be wonderful!
As it happens, I've had quite a few queries about Rainbow Cake on Twitter, and up till now have not felt able to answer. So it is with great gratitude to Edd Kimber, aka The Boy Who Bakes, that I present this recipe now. Frankly, I fell in love with it the minute I saw the picture, taken by the rightly acclaimed food photographer (and onetime colleague of mine on Vogue) Georgia Glynn Smith.


White Chocolate Rainbow Cake

This cake is a monster – it has six layers and uses a lot of butter, but do keep in mind that it will serve a lot of people, and it will make a spectacular cake for a birthday or any other occasion. The beauty of this cake is that, apart from being rather large, it looks quite innocent from the outside, because the white frosting hides the multicoloured rainbow inside. Imagine people’s reactions when it is first cut into – it’s well worth the effort.

Serves 18

225g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
325g plain flour
50g cornflour
41/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
400g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 medium eggs, lightly beaten
300ml whole milk
gel food colouring in red, yellow, orange, purple, blue and green

For the white chocolate Italian meringue frosting
150g white chocolate
300g caster sugar
6 medium egg whites
540g unsalted butter, at room temperature

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) mark 4, then grease and line three 20cm round cake tins with baking parchment, greasing the parchment too. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt together to combine, then set aside.
  2. Put the butter into a large bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat on medium–high speed until smooth and light. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, then add the vanilla and mix to combine. With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating each until fully combined before adding the next. With the mixer on low, sift in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk, starting and finishing with the flour.
  3. Put the egg whites into a clean, grease-free bowl and whisk until they hold soft peaks. Add the whites to the cake batter and gently fold together until just combined and there are no streaks of white. Divide the batter equally between six small bowls. Add a small amount of each colouring to each bowl, enough to make it a vibrant colour. Add the first three bowls to the prepared tins and bake for 15 minutes or until they spring back when lightly touched. Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining three portions of batter.
  4. To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  5. Put 190ml water and the sugar into a pan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and have a sugar thermometer ready. Meanwhile, put the egg whites into a clean, grease-free bowl (this is best done using a freestanding electric mixer). Start whisking the whites on high speed when the syrup in the pan reaches about 115°C on the sugar thermometer. Cook until the syrup registers 121°C. With the mixer still running, pour the syrup in a slow stream down the side of the bowl containing the whites, avoiding the beaters. Continue whisking on high speed until the meringue is at room temperature. With the mixer on medium–high speed, add the butter a few pieces at a time, beating until fully combined. When adding the butter it can sometimes look curdled; if this happens don’t worry, just keep mixing and eventually it will smooth out to form a light buttercream frosting. With the mixer on medium speed, pour in the melted chocolate and mix until fully combined.
  6. To assemble the cake, put the purple cake layer on a cardboard cake board or serving plate and top with a thin layer of frosting. Repeat the process with the other cake layers in the order of a rainbow (purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red) and then spread the remaining frosting across the top and sides of the cake.