Homemade birthday cakes are a tradition in our house and rainbow cakes are the hot favourite. I tried out my first rainbow layer cake 3 years ago for my daughter's birthday, and it was such a huge success that it's been in demand ever since.
This year, my almost 4-year old made a simple request for a "rainbow dinosaur waterfall cake". I thought long and hard on this one but decided ultimately to go with the tried and true rainbow layer cake. But it needed to be high for the waterfall and that gave me another idea...
A double rainbow surprise. Can you ever have too many rainbows? I think not.
So, the pinata cake is, as the name suggests, a cake with a bunch of yummy treats hidden inside. When you cut into the cake, the treats spill out. Here's a good pinata cake recipe, and an awesome picture too.
Naturally my cake was never going to be all neat and perfect inside but it's a kid's birthday party. Also, it probably would have helped if I'd practised beforehand but where's the fun in that?
I've blogged about making a rainbow swirl cake before and I did the same this time round. I prefer the swirl style to the traditional rainbow layers because it's a bit more random, and you don't need 5-7 different layers - that's a lot of baking!
Don't be intimidated by this cake, it is really easy to make. You can also make the cakes the day before and then ice them a few hours before the party.
What you need:
- 2-3 Cake mixes - if you prefer to bake your own, go for it. For me, this just simplifies things. I like to use the Betty Crocker white cake mix (the white mix holds the colours better)
- Wilton Icing Gels - These are by far the best icing colours. No, you can't buy them in Laos. Borrow mine or try Thailand.
- Icing sugar
- M&Ms or other lollies
- Shredded coconut (optional)
It's up to you how many layers you want but I chose a simple 2. Mix the batter for both cake mixes according to the packet instructions and divide the mixture into 6 bowls. Then it's time to mix in the colours and get creative!
Once the different colours of mixture are ready, it's time to pour them into your greased and papered cake tin. I strongly recommend using a springform tin or one with a removable base.
Pour the colours in any which way, they won't mix up so you may as well have fun!
Then pop the tin into the over according to the packet instructions. Note that if you peer into the oven during the cooking process, it won't look that great; only once you've cut into the cake can you see the awesome colours!
When the cakes are out, they need to be cooled completely. They're much easier to work with when they're cold. You can even wrap them in clingwrap and pop them in the fridge overnight. Then, with a sharp knife, level the cakes so that the tops are completely flat.
If you want to make a waterfall cake like I did, then you'll need to make one cake smaller than the other. Otherwise leave them both the same size.
Place the bottom layer on the cake board or plate you're using to present it. You can't move it after this! Cut out a good sized hole in the middle and fill it with M&Ms or other lollies.
Then, pop the other layer on top of this one, keeping the back edges flush.
Phew! Almost done. Time for the icing. I used a basic buttercream icing because it's really easy to make and to work with. I split the mixture into 2 lots, the bigger one was green and the smaller blue.
First I slathered on the blue icing for the waterfall. This is pretty easy because the nature of the "frothing water" means you don't have to be neat!
Then I lathered the green icing all over the rest of the cake. To keep this neat, you'll need a spatula and some hot water too. I have a few tips on this in my rainbow swirl cake post.
I pressed on some more M&Ms to make a rainbow, some marshmallows as an attempt at clouds, and I used coloured shredded coconut for the grass below.
It was a great success! Like all 4-year olds, the recipient had completely forgotten her original request but was elated to find dinosaurs standing on her cake.