How to make a natural Rainbow Cake!
I’ve been loving all these rainbow cakes I’ve been seeing for a year or so on Pinterest, and also on friends blogs and facebook pages. BUT even though I love the vibrant colours, I’m not too keen on EATING that stuff. Not for me, definitely not for my kids. So I’ve been wondering how to somehow or other tweak the idea to make it more family friendly, and taste friendly, and natural. Of course! FRUIT. A natural rainbow. But how?
Then I remembered that yummy banana and mango soft serve ‘ice cream’ we had at the Cape Byron Steiner School fair a few years back, all mushed up gooeyness pushed out of an expensive food processor. But without that particular food processor, I wasn’t sure how making ‘ice cream’ could be possible. Then, snap! Brainwave.
I remembered a friend of mine had used something called a Yonanas machine. So, I went straight to Mr Google to find out more, and there it was. The answer to my creative dilemma.
Last Sunday was Ned’s last official day of Winter School Holidays and I’d been promising him we’d make something fun in the kitchen. So on Saturday, in preparation, Ned and I cut up a whole bundle of fruit into small pieces and froze them in flat tupperware containers, making sure to leave a little space between pieces so they wouldn’t stick together in a big frozen mound. Sunday afternoon, the adventure began in earnest! Great fun, but what a mess!
We had dishes and bowls, and cups to catch the ice cream, and teaspoons for tasting, and spoons for smoothing, and spoons for scooping, and cake pans, and one big wet cloth to wipe it all up afterwards. Rainbow making is awesome, and easy but utensil-rich.
My top tip is to make sure you wash out the Yonanas machine in between each layer. This quick step is essential to ensure you have clean colours in each layer, and the act of washing up the machine forces you to tidy up a bit as you go along.
My second top tip would be to go slow- defrost only two lots of frozen fruit trays (eg all the fruit to make the purple layer, and all the fruits to make the blue layer) at a time. This stops you rushing and feeling frazzled that your fruit will soften too much before you get to it. Still, we did it with all the fruit layer trays out in one go, and made it with time to spare but I think it would be a lot calmer and less stressful to do it in sections.
I love this rainbow cake, and I will so make it again. It is delicious AND looks awesome! Next time, I’ll decorate the top a bit more like a pavlova too- in a rainbow mandala with ALL the fruits we used in the cake. I forgot that bit and chopped up all the strawberries and kiwi to freeze without saving any for decoration, and Ned ate the last of the frozen berries for a treat before I remembered. Oops. Next time.
So, the recipe…
How to make a natural Rainbow Cake with frozen fruit.
You’ll need a springform pan with a loose base to make the cake. You don’t need to do anything special to it, just have it sitting nearby as you make your icecream soft serve. The loose base can be pushed up after it is finished to free the frozen rainbow cake for cutting.
Each layer is a combination of frozen fruit pieces. Here are the ingredients that make up each delicious layer. Do them in this order so that the lighter purple is on the base like a real rainbow. Smooth out each new layer of icecream with a soft spatula and pop the cake tin in the freezer for a few minutes while you whiz up the next layer. This helps to stop the colours mixing and melding as you go. So that’s it. Now it is your turn. Happy rainbow making!
Layer 1: (base layer) Passion Purple Pop
Frozen raspberries and frozen banana slices. (More raspberries than banana). Banana pieces are the base or at least an ingredient in each layer as they help the soft serve to gain the right consistency. The Yonanas booklet suggests to cut bananas into quarters but I cut mine into slices and this worked well as I had a better ability to gauge the colour consistency I wanted by using smaller amounts. I also discovered that it is important to find just the right moment to put the fruit through the machine. Too soon and the icecream comes out in ‘sheets’ like lasagne pasta. When this happened on my first go, I simply waited a few minutes till the icecream sheets thawed slightly more, and then fed it through the machine again. This time it was the perfect consistency. Soft serve raspberry banana ice cream for the base layer of my cake!
Layer 2: Bashful Blueberry
I discovered that, similar to dyeing cloth with natural fibres and flowers, that is almost impossible to create a consistent blue colour. I used minimal banana and mostly blueberries and the best I could do was a dark purple layer with blue bits. I also didn’t clean out the machine after the first layer, and wonder if I had, that the blueberry colour might have been slightly darker purpley/blue. But if you look closely, you can see a slight difference between the purple and blue layers. But we’ll have to imagine the rest!
Layer 3: Kiwi Green
For this green layer, I froze kiwi fruit quarters with the skin removed. I also made up a yoghurt syrup of one small tub of plain greek yoghurt, with two generous tablespoons of honey, and swirled these together until it was the consistency of melted chocolate- thick and gooey. I scooped this syrup into an ice cube container tray to make yoghurt blocks. To make the green, I squashed two kiwi fruit pieces followed by two slightly thawed yoghurt blocks, and repeated until everything was gone. The yoghurt syrup is awesome and sweetened the kiwi, taking that bitter tang away. The yoghurt blocks could be added to any fruit to sweeten it- eg pineapple, or orange- too.
Layer 4: Yarn Yellow
My yellow layer reminded me of the yellow of baby blankets, slight and subtle. For this, I froze fresh pineapple chunks (tinned pineapple doesn’t work) and mixed these cubes 50/50 with banana slices. The pineapple sweetens the banana and creates a tangy summery flavour. Yum!
Layer 5: Orchid Orange and Perfect Peach
The vibrant orange is created with a 50/50 combination of orange quarters and tinned peach slices, with a few banana slices thrown in every third handful to help with the soft serve consistency. But mango would be a lovely summer alternative should it be in season. Right now in my locale, I was a bit pushed to find other orangey coloured fruits- there’s no peaches, nectarines, apricots, or mangos about so I included tinned peaches in the mix to suffice. While I wanted to make my rainbow cake full of seasonal fruits, the addition of tinned peaches was well worth the compromise. The flavour of the orange and peach combo is my favourite and I think it has definitely been helped by the dribbles of syrup left on the peach slices when I froze them.
Layer 6: Strawberry Shortcake
Simply juicy sweet strawberry pieces and banana slices combined. Bright red and sweet to boot.
When you have placed the last layer of fruit soft serve into the pan, smooth out the top with the spatula in a swirly pattern then freeze overnight.
To serve, remove from the freezer. Turn on your hot water at the tap and carefully run the water on the outside of the pan, without letting the water touch the contents.
Push the base of the pan upwards to free the rainbow cake from the pan. Use a knife to gently remove the base plate and place the rainbow fruit cake on a serving platter.
Decorate your cake as you please with fabulous fruit pieces in shapes such as banana ovals or semi-circles, mandarin moon pieces, kiwi rounds, strawberry heart slices, or drizzles of chocolate, or whatever takes your fancy. Ned wanted natural coloured sprinkles on top of his slice to add a touch of sprinkle magic too. Magic-making mummy to the rescue.
Let the cake stand for about 15 minutes and then cut it into slices.
You can, as Ned did, even eat this for breakfast! Now that is a cake I like.
I’m sure there are other flavour combinations or colour inspirations you could use too. Let me know what you’d like to try!
Disclaimer: I approached Yonanas to ask if I could borrow a machine for this post and they provided one for me to use and keep. Thank you! I love it. The wonderful news is they also gave me one to give away to one of my Happy*Crafty*Family readers… It could be YOU! Check back tomorrow for details!