28 November 2012

Vodka Rainbow Cake

This is part two of my three part series on the three-tiered cake I made for my friends' birthdays last weekend. To read about the immense preparation that the cake required, read part one: Mudslide Cake.

The Vodka Rainbow Cake was made for M. The sponge is similar to my original Rainbow Cake, but this time I added a considerable amount of vodka to it. The icing is vodka flavoured Swiss meringue buttercream, though I was careful to keep the vodka levels tolerable enough that the icing could still be enjoyed - I'm not sure anyone would describe vodka as tasty.

Unfortunately, the vodka flavour didn't come through at all in the sponge, though it did contribute to giving the cake a texture that I can only describe as 'smooth'. The icing had a hint of vodka flavour to it, though, which was very pleasing.

As my previous post describes, I made the cakes and icing in advance and assembled them on the day. The cakes shouldn't be allowed to defrost before decorating so that icing them is easier; the icing should be allowed to reach room temperature and then can be whisked to return it to its smooth and spreadable consistency. I would recommend freezing the buttercream rather than keeping it in the fridge if you are making it more than a week in advance, as when I whisked my icing it separated out from some of the liquid and I had to drain it off before continuing. I know that this doesn't happen if the icing is frozen instead of  refrigerated.

Curiously, as the cakes defrosted the smarties that I decorated the cakes with lost their bright colours and turned a more pastel shade, so if you intend on decorating the cake as I have I would recommend that you wait to add the smarties for 1-2 hours after adding the icing to the cakes.

For the sponge:

200g Self Raising Flour
200g Butter
200g Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Tsp Baking Powder
50mL Vodka
Gel Food Colouring (Red, Blue, Green, Indigo and Yellow)

For the Vodka Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  • 450g Butter
  • 6 Egg Whites
  • 50mL Vodka
  • 90g Caster Sugar
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan and line two 9" cake tins with parchment paper.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating until the batter is smooth.
  • Seive the flour and baking powder into the batter, then fold in until well combined.
  • Add the vodka and gently fold into the batter until smooth. If the batter is still a little stiff, add some more vodka.
  • Separate the cake mix between seven bowls. To each bowl add some food colouring so that there is one bowl for each colour of the rainbow, then stir the colouring into the batter.
  • Next, take a cake tin and spread the red batter over the base. Add orange, yellow, then half of the green. Take the second cake tin and add the second half of the green batter, then the blue, indigo and violet shades. Make sure each layer is evenly spread around the tin so that all of the colours have their own layer.
  • Bake in the oven for 22 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove the cakes from their tins and leave them to cool on a cooling rack.
  • To make the Swiss meringue buttercream, put the egg whites in a small bowl with the sugar.
  • Place the bowl over a pan of hot water, making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Put the pan over a low heat.
  • Stir the mixture with a fork until the sugar has dissolved - you can check for this by dipping your fingers in and rubbing the tips together: a grainy feeling means that the sugar hasn't dissolved yet.
  • Pour the egg white mixture into a bowl and whisk to a stiff peak consistency.
  • Make sure the butter is room temperature. Chop it into small chunks, and add it to the whipped egg whites (meringue) a chunk at a time. At first the meringue will deflate and turn into a soupy mixture, but do not despair! Once most of the butter has been added the buttercream will take on a more solid appearance, and once all of the butter is added it should be smooth and silky with no liquid in the bowl - if some still remains, just add more butter.
  • Whisk the vodka into the buttercream to taste.
  • Once the cakes have cooled, take a plate or cake stand and place one of the cakes, top down, onto it. spread some of the buttercream on top of it and put the second cake on top, making sure that the colours are still in order. Finally, cover the cake in the remaining icing and decorate as you wish.

I will be back at the weekend with the final installment of the series: Chocolate Beer Cake. Look out for the Baking With Spirit December challenge announcement on Saturday - I think you'll like it!


  1. The cake looks beautiful. When baking with spirits, like rum, I would add after the cake has baked, as the alcohol cooks out during baking. Hope this helps . x


Did you try this recipe? Let me know what you think! Comments are always appreciated. Unless they are spam.