Although baking is a science, the cakes, pastries, and desserts produced can also become works of art. Cakes especially require style since they can't fully stand out with just their textures. That's why bakers also learn how to decorate them in fondant, glazes, icings, creams, and sculptures. However, the cosmetics don't necessarily stop there. Thanks to ingredients like food coloring, internal decoration for cake is possible. One fine example is Ribbon cake.

Similar to a rainbow cake (already covered here), a ribbon cake's design uses food coloring to produce elaborate patterns for the mold but takes it further by inserting colorful swirls or ribbons.

Those who are still new to baking might perceive these designs as complicated, especially those that appear almost perfectly uniform. However, this is far from the truth.

In reality, all one has to simply do is take a portion of the batter, tint it with the food coloring, and arrange it with the untinted batter in a pan. Simple lines, dollops, or swirls are efficient enough to get the job done. With that in mind, this recipe should be simple and fun to do. It calls for a simple vanilla pound cake formula (all the ingredients weigh the same) and will utilize a combination of the dollop and swirl methods for up to three colors. Included is a simple buttercream frosting recipe.

The recipe

Cake Ingredients:

  • 6 oz cake flour
  • 6 oz sugar
  • 6 oz eggs
  • 6 oz unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 various food coloring (preferably pink, green, and yellow)

Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 1 lb unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 lb powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp fine confetti

Cake Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Grease a 6x8" rectangular cake pan and line with circular parchment.
  2. Sift the flour in a bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and the sugar together in a bowl attached to a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until it turns pale, and forms ribbons when dripping from the whisk.
  3. Crack open the eggs and beat them into the butter/sugar mixture one at a time to prevent the batter from curdling. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  4. Fold half of the flour into the batter. Do the same with the remaining flour until fully combined.
  5. Divide the batter among four bowls. Assign one food coloring and a spoon to a bowl of choice, setting aside the remaining bowl and batter. For each bowl chosen, add a teaspoon amount of the assigned color to the batter and twirl it around to create colorful swirls in the batter. Do not stir to combine.
  6. Transfer dollops of batter from the bowls to the to the cake pan using separate large spoons. Arrange the dollops in random order until the pan is full. Run a spoon through the batter, once in every different direction to create swirling color patterns. Do not mix the colors.
  7. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean when removed. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes, then place the pan on a cake rack to fully cool.
  8. To remove the cake, run a sharp knife or spatula around the edges of the pan, then place a rectangular shallow pan on top, and invert it. Remove the deep pan, then gently peel off the parchment from the cake.

Frosting Directions:

  1. To make the buttercream, put all the ingredients except the confetti in a mixing bowl and beat with the stand mixer or hand mixer until smooth and fully incorporated. Don't overbeat.
  2. To glaze the cake, apply 2/3 of the buttercream on the surface and smooth it down evenly. Spoon the remaining buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped tube and pipe while twisting the tube line the sides of the cake with twirled mounds. If some practice is required, start by piping shapes on a table covered with some parchment. Sprinkle the buttercream evenly with the confetti.

Serves: 12

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