There are a few things more impressive than a beautiful and bright rainbow cake. Unicorns and rainbows are in fashion at the moment so there is rainbow themed stuff everywhere! This fashion has come to the world of baking as well, and though it’s been a good few years since I made my first rainbow cake, I’m pleased to be seeing more and different rainbow cake variations.
I picked up Mima Sinclair’s Rainbow Bakes book last year but hadn’t had a chance to try any of the recipes in it. And so I decided that for this year’s Pancake Day I will give Mima’s Rainbow Crepe Cake a go. I had to modify the recipe a bit as the original quantities didn’t quite work for me – I’ve used less double cream and milk, medium eggs and a bit more flour and that worked very well. I found that the original quantities made the pancake mix too watery even for crepes.
In any case, it’s not a difficult recipe but it requires some time and effort. If you’ve made crepes before, basically it’s making a lot of crepe batter and dividing into six in order to colour the batter. You will make about 60 crepes so it is a lot of flipping. The challenge here is that with the darker colours it’s more difficult to tell when the pancake is ready to be flipped. Here is my variation of the recipe:
Rainbow Crepe Cake
Serves 12-14 | Prep time: 30 minutes plus chilling and cooling | Cooking Time: 1-1 1/2hrs | Requires effort and a bit of experience
What you’ll need:
For the Ganache
- 500ml double cream;
- 450g white chocolate, chopped
For the crepes:
- 1 litre whole milk, warmed;
- 175g unsalted butter, melted (+ extra for greasing);
- 12 eggs;
- 450g-500g plain flour;
- 120g caster sugar
- Zest of 2 oranges;
- Food colouring pastes or gels (I used gel) – purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red;
- 1 tbsp icing sugar;
- 1tbsp edible golden stars;
- Edible glitter.
1. Make the ganache. Pour the double cream in a medium saucepan and heat over a low heat. Bring to just below boiling point. Take off the heat and stir in the white chocolate and leave to melt for about a minute. Gently stir until the white chocolate is completely melted and combined with the double cream. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool in the fridge.
2. Make the crepes. Using a standing mixer with a whisk attachment or a handheld electric whisk, whisk the eggs and the sugar. Then add the flour and orange zest. Once combined slowly start to add the milk and butter whisking well between each addition. Keep an eye on the consistency – you don’t want it to be too watery so just add less milk/more flour until you are happy with the consistency. Crepes require a thin batter but a batter too thin will make the creps difficult to handle and turn – not what you want when you have to flip 60 pancakes! At this point, you can chill the batter until you need it (max 24 hrs).
3. When ready to cook the crepes, split the batter into six medium bowls. Stir in food dye into each bowl – start by adding a little until you are happy with the colour. The colour of your batter will be the colour of the pancake. Don’t use water-based food dyes as they will water down your batter and are usually not very strong. I used gel, and the recipe says to use colour paste. The food colouring I used was “Colour Splash” gels (picture below) and though they weren’t as strong as I expected them to be it was fine as long as you add enough of the colouring in (see tip below).
4. When the batter has reached the colour of your liking you can start making the crepes. Heat one or two 22cm pans. Melt a little butter in each of them. Pour a few tbsps of batter into each pan and swirl each to coat the pan evenly. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the edges begin to brown, then flip the crepes and cook for an addition 1-1 and half minutes. Remove the crepes and place a sheet of greaseproof paper between crepes (see tip below). Repeat with the remaining coloured batters.
5. Leave the crepes to cool completely. You are now ready to assemble the crepe cake. Take the white chocolate ganache out of the fridge and whip it until it forms soft peaks. Be careful not to overwhip it as it will curdle (see tip above if it curdles). Starting with the purple crepes, spread a thin layer of ganache and top with the next crepe. Repeat between each crepe. My rainbow sequence was: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red.
6. Before serving, dust with the icing sugar and edible glitter and top with small edible gold stars.
Here are some tips from me which might be helpful when making this impressive crepe cake:
- Test the batter before you colour it. Make one pancake to see if the crepes are turning out to be too thin and therefore difficult to handle. You can add a bit more flour to the batter if so. Don’t overdo it as you do want them to be thin!
- When adding food colouring, always start by adding a little at a time until you get the colour you want. It’s useful to colour the batter together so that you can get the intensity of the colour between each layer right.
- Orange didn’t work for me very well and I wish I had added a bit more red to it. You can try to do this to strengthen your orange a bit (but add very little as otherwise, you will end up with two red layers).
- I ran out of greaseproof paper so I ended up just piling the crepes on top of each other. They may slightly stick together, but if you are careful you can peel them off easily.
- If you curdle your ganache you can save it quite easily. Just put it in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water and stir it gently until it melts and there are no lumps. Cool and chill in the fridge. When completely cooled, whip it again.
- Finally, if you have never made crepes before, I wouldn’t start with this cake. They are difficult in the way you’d handle other pancakes so just try a basic crepe recipe before you make this.
I hope you enjoy making this!