filed under: baking, cooking, green family, green holiday ideas for kids, green party, recipe
Rainbow Cake & Vanilla Frosting Ingredients
Ingredients for cake
- 5 large organic egg whites at room temperature
- 3/4 cup whole organic milk at room temperature
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons pure Fair Trade, certified organic vanilla extract
- 2 and 3/4 cups organic white flour, sifted
- 1 and 3/4 cups organic granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted organic butter, softened and cut into cubes
- 7 to 9 homemade natural food dyes
Ingredients for frosting
- 3 sticks + 2 tablespoons of organic, unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons pure organic Fair Trade vanilla extract
- 3 cups organic powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons organic milk
- Pinch of salt
- 1 organic vanilla bean – scraped – optional
Step 1: Learn About Natural Food Dyes
Fake chemical food dyes have been linked to a number of health risks, but it’s not that hard to learn to make homemade food dyes. Once you’ve got natural dyes down, you can use them to make a number of colored baked goods, play clay, homemade sidewalk paint, other crafts and even dye your Easter eggs with them. There are a number of items you can use to naturally color your homemade organic baked goods, such as…
- Produce: fresh or frozen berries and other fruits and fresh veggies.
- Green tea powder: This fine tea powder, also called Matcha, results in light green baked goods.
- Egg yolk mixed with milk: Results in yellow batter.
- Edible flowers: Some edible flowers can be used to dye baked goods, but may result in odd flavors.
- Herbs & spices: Many herbs and spices can be used to color food, but due to strong flavors, I don’t suggest them in cakes.
- Natural store-bought colors: It’s fine to buy food coloring, so long as they’re natural. I like Chocolate Craft colors. Cost is a downside. Homemade colors are far less expensive.
Step 2: Make Natural Food Coloring
When making natural food dyes with organic produce, the idea is to extract the juice from an item (say berries or spinach), then use a few tablespoons of the juice to color your cake batter. You can use a juicer for produce such as spinach, carrots and beets to extract juice or you can *boil veggies, puree them and strain them with a mesh cloth. Berries are easy to extract juice from. Simply choose your berries, heat them up a bit to soften them, then place them in a strainer set over a bowl. Mash the berries down to get your juice. You can also use produce purees to color food, for example, beet puree, berry puree or carrot puree. To make a puree, simply puree fresh produce in your blender with 1-3 tablespoons of water. *NOTE – spinach is a special case and should never be heated before extracting the juice. Cooked spinach gives off a horrid color, whereas fresh results in a beautiful green. See the link below for a full tutorial about making your own homemade food dyes.
Step 3: Whip Up the Cake Batter
This cake recipe is adapted from Sweetapolita and makes enough cake for one large six layer rainbow cake (use 8 or 9 inch pans) or two to three mini rainbow cakes, using 4 inch baking dishes. Oh, and if you like, you can use your own favorite cake recipe (such as vegan or gluten-free) in place of this one, just make sure it’s a white, not yellow cake recipe, so that the food dyes work better.
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Combine and stir the egg whites, 1/4 cup of milk and the vanilla.
- In another bowl, combine all your dry ingredients, using a handheld mixer or spoon.
- Add the butter and rest of milk to your dry mixture. Mix until just moistened. Mix for 2 more minutes.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is mixed well.
- Add your egg mixture in THREE separate batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition.
Step 4: Color the Cake Batter
If making one six layer rainbow cake, divide your batter into six equal parts, into small bowls. If making mini cakes, scoop out 1/4 to 1/2 cup of batter per layer into small bowls. To color your batter, do the following:
- Coloring with fruit and berry juice or puree: Start by adding one tablespoon (TBS) of color per bowl of batter and mix well. If the color is not right, add another TBS. In general, don’t add more than 3 TBS of produce juice or puree per one cup of batter, because it’ll make your batter too watery.
- Coloring with green tea powder: Add up to three or four teaspoons of powder.
- Coloring with egg yolk: Mix 1/2 to one whole egg yolk with a wee bit of milk, then mix into one cup of batter.
- Coloring with natural store-bought food colors: Natural food dyes aren’t as bright as conventional, so you’ll need to use more than usual. I usually start with a full dropper of color and work my way up from there until I get the color I want.
- TIP: If you have leftover produce juice or puree, freeze it in ice cube trays and save them for homemade smoothies or ice pops.