Have you seen the multi-colored cakes all over the internet? They are generally enrobed in white buttercream so that the first slice is a surprise. I made my first technicolor rainbow cake for the kids second birthday, when they were way to young too appreciate the awesomeness of this:
Making these cakes is deceptively simple. Basic reliable cake recipe (box mix, even) and good quality food coloring (like Wilton’s gels). Think about the colors and patterns you are looking for. For a psychedelic rainbow cake, divide the batter into small batches, color separately and then add each color into the very center of the tin on top of the color before. The batter will push the colored layers out and do all of the work for you. The same method will produce a great vanilla/chocolate zebra pattern. Or football team colors.
No swirling. Just 2 colors in 3-4 layers. I tend to make this cake tall, because I just think it looks festive that way. Make a double batch of reliable vanilla cake (box mix, even). Separate 1/3 of the batter to dye blue. Dye the remaining 2/3 red. Strong color will require more food coloring than you might think. Carry on anyway. Pour the blue batter into in cake tin — it will be a thicker layer than the others. Split the red batter between 3 cake tins. When they appear done (set on top, pulling away from edge of pan, toothpick inserted comes out clean), leave the blue layer in the oven for a few additional minutes to account for the additional thickness.
There are two further keys to a successful color cake. First, a domed cake won’t look as sharp when cut, so go to the trouble to trim the top of the cake. Second, you need LOTS of fluffy white buttercream: this is a double cake and it requires at least double icing. You want to be able to see icing between the layers for the full effect. C’mon, tell me this isn’t more fun than the same old strawberry+blueberry sheet cake:
For my British friends who are understandably less rah-rah over American Independence Day, if you have a go at this Union Jack Battenberg Cake, let me know how it goes.