We loved these rainbow swirl sugar cookies so much I decided I would ‘cake it’! For this recipe I adapted my everyday butter cake (which has its roots in a pound cake recipe), separated the batters into five bowls and added five different flavors to each.
The result is a gorgeous swirled ‘rainbow’ of colors in each slice, each color tastes a little different but the overwhelming taste is citrus and berry – and it’s truly lovely, encased in this tight crumbed (perfectly moist) pound cake.
Butter: No need to soften it, salted or unsalted – just halve the amount of salt listed in the recipe if using salted. American or european.
Sugar: fine granulated sugar. The fine granules will dissolve quickly into the melted butter.
Base pound cake flavorings: fine sea salt and pure vanilla extract. If using a table salt, or salted butter, halve the amount of salt listed. For the vanilla you can also use vanilla paste.
Eggs: It’s best if these are at room temp before you start cracking them into the batter, just place them in a bowl of warm water before you begin making the cake and they’ll be ready.
Flour: Cake flour is great here; it produces a fine tight crumb which is ideal for pound cakes. If you don’t have it, use all purpose, and swap four tablespoons of it for cornstarch.
Yogurt or Sour Cream: In the original EBC I used sour cream but for this version I opted for a lowfat yogurt. I knew the tanginess of yogurt would complement the lemon, lime and berry flavors plus I wanted something with more water content so that the batter, which takes a full hour to bake, wouldn’t dry out.
Choose five from the below; you can also do six but I find it isn’t necessary and you’ll have too thin of colors. Four colors will work just fine.
Raspberry powder: to get this ready, you’ll grind up freeze dried raspberries and then sift them to remove the bigger bits and seeds. If you like you can use strawberry for this layer instead.
Orange: Orange zest, orange zest is very flavorful but if you want to amp it up you can add some orange extract.
Lemon: A combination of lemon zest and lemon extract will give this wonderful lemon flavor.
Lime: Lime zest (use two or three) and lemon extract. If you happen to have and like lime extract that will work too !
Blueberry: the same as the raspberry, you’ll grind up some freeze dried blueberries and sift them to remove the bits. Both of these powders tend to clump if left open so as soon as you have your powder, put it in an airtight container and seal it.
Mixed berry: This is just a combination of the raspberry and blueberry (or strawberry if you are using that). It’ll be the ‘purple’ of our rainbow.
A note on color: Without the food coloring there is no difference in color between the lemon, lime and or orange. The blueberry powder turns the batter a dark purple, raspberry powder a mauve. The pic below, shows the cake with minimal food coloring.
There’s a lot of whisking involved but it’s quite straightforward: you’ll melt the butter, then add the ingredients in slowly, whisking as you do. I do this by hand with a whisk, it needs a vigorous whisk but you can also do it in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer. Most importantly, don’t overmix it once the cake flour is in.
In the recipe you find below, I’ll ask you to divide the batter into five separate bowls. To each you’ll add flavoring and the corresponding color. You don’t need to use the food gel if you don’t care about the colors showing.
To make it easy for you, I’ll suggest weighing your mixing bowl before you begin. That way you can find out how much the batter weighs without having to dirty another bowl.
There is a particular order I’ll suggest you stir in the flavorings; this is because the berry flavors tend to thicken when left. In the cake pictured, I did the raspberry first and because it had thickened it sunk quite a bit within the lemon layer which wasn’t as thick (ok it’s a cute teardrop/heart shape in some of the slices but I *was* going for distinct layers!).
So basically it’s like this: mix the lemon and lime, then start doing the berry batters and layering them into the pan.
If you want distinct layers, starting at the bottom with purple and working up to red carefully spread the batter in an even layer without disturbing the layer below. You’ll likely get a horseshoe shape but the layers won’t blend.
If you like yourself a pretty swirl then go ahead and layer, don’t worry so much about being careful with the layering, and once all the batter is in get a butter knife and gently but swiftly swirl the batter a couple of times (don’t overdo it). You could also just alternate adding the batter to the pan and you’d get a pretty design!
A pound cake is done baking when: a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not rely on the color of the cake to tell you when it’s done, pound cakes brown quite a bit in the oven (and more in this case because it’s a darker batter due to the coloring).
Top the pound cake with: I chose an orange glaze, because it was the one color I left out of my rainbow! Plus it is delicious. Lemon would work wonderfully as would a plain vanilla glaze.
Store a pound cake in: an airtight container, but wait for the glaze to have set before you do so. It’ll keep for a few days (and oddly tastes magnificent the day after baking).
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