Saturday, August 20, 2016

Cake Slice Tie Dye Fun

When I first joined the Cake Slice Bakers a few years ago I was sure that I would be baking lots of layer cakes, but it turned out that I kept choosing to bake other kinds of cake more frequently than layer cakes.

The same seems to have been true this time around, but I decided that this month I would bake that layer cake since one of our choices was American Chocolate Layer cake, which is actually yellow cake and chocolate icing. Because I was baking this cake for a dinner party where there would be little boys, I decided to surprise them with a tie-dye interior instead of plain yellow cake. I had done this using a cake mix and figured that I could use gel food colors that I had in my cupboard and use the same technique. I chose to use turquoise, magenta and orange which made for a lively colored cake. 

When we arrived for dinner there was general excitement about the cake. It looked festive with the multi-colored heart sprinkles. The boys had been told ahead of time that there was a surprise in the cake and seemed thrilled with the multi-colored swirls when we cut into it. I thought that the cake itself was a bit dry. It may be that I over baked the layers.

To make a tie-dye type cake, you divide the dough into three bowls once it is finished and you add gel food color to the batter, making three colors. Into the prepared pans you scoop one color right in the middle of the pan, top it with a second color (which caused the first color to spread out) then top that with the third color and continue until the batter spreads out to the edges. I complicated it by doing two circles of color in one pan, then filling in the space between the two with the last of each color. Turned out great and it was fun to do! You can use any color combination you choose, but three colors or one plain batter and two colors are the minimal amount to go with. I made half the recipe because we only needed to feed 8, not 20! Two layers were just fine.

America Chocolate Layer Cake 
by Maida Heatter found in Maida Heatter's Cakes
20 or more portions

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter (I used non-dairy margarine)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups granulated sugar
6 eggs
3/4 cup milk (I used soy milk)

Adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter four 9-inch round layer cake pans, line them with parchment or wax paper cut to fit, butter the paper, dust the pans all over with fine, dry breadcrumbs, tile the pans from side to side to coat them evenly, and then turn them upside down over paper and tap them to shake out looks crumbs. Set the pans aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and then the sugar, and beat to mix. Add the eggs one or two at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Add the sifted dry ingredients with the mixer on low speed, adding them in three additions alternating with the milk in two additions.

You will have a generous 8 cups of batter. If making the tie dye cake, divide batter into three bowls, tint as desired with gel food color and layer in the pans. Into the prepared pans you scoop one color right in the middle of the pan, top it with a second color (which caused the first color to spread out) then top that with the third color and continue until the batter spreads out to the edges. You will do this for each of the four pans.

Place two of the pans on each oven rack, staggering them so the pans on the lower rack are not directly below those above. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, but check a little sooner. Do not overbake (as I did) or cake will be dry. Cake should barely spring back when gently pressed with a fingertip.

Once your remove the pans from the oven, turn each cake out on a rack and remove the paper, then use another rack to turn layer right side up. Repeat with all the layers. Let cool.

Ice with your favorite chocolate icing. Decorate as desired.

(I used a childhood favorite for icing: confectioner's sugar, melted unsweetened chocolate, hot soy milk and a tablespoon of Greek yogurt to keep the icing from hardening so quickly.)


  1. Elle I think we over baked the cakes. I didn't read the instructions throughly and missed the important tip on how to closely watch the cakes baking or they would be dry. I came across it once I was typing it up! Ugh!
    The cake had a good flavor, I think the recipe wasn't a total flop. My family still enjoyed the cake.
    Lesson learned for me, I have to read the directions!!!
    I'm glad your dinner party enjoyed the cake!

  2. It was interesting to read that a couple of you found this a bit dry so I'll make a note of that in my book. Your version does look a lot of fun though!

  3. How fun did that turn out? I can see why it caused so much excitement. I was REALLY tempted to do this cake and still might pull it out for our next party! I might have to steal your fun surprise for the middle too!

  4. oh you know what.. you might not have over baked the cake.. when you add colours you may inadvertently over mix some of the batter. It's not a huge mistake and there's not way of telling but sometimes it ends up then in a dry cake. It looks really groovy to me though Elle.. I love that all those colours greeted the eaters in each slice!! Super fun! Hazel x

  5. What a colourful cake! I love how you can't tell its multicoloured until you cut into it.
    I recognise that new badge photo - it's one of mine!!

  6. Katie, It's a lovely photo, but apparently we didn't get your permission to use it, so I have removed the badge with your photo. Very sorry. Had thought it was OK and that we were honoring you as the founder of our group. Glad that you are still visiting the Cake Slice posts. Hope life is treating you well.

  7. Fabulous looking!
    I did a zebra cake long ago and loved the look but the cake was blah respecting taste. I need to try again when I need a cake.
    But I love your surprise.

  8. When I was a kid, I would have been so afraid to eat this, as I was convinced that colors had flavors! It looks like a party cake, for sure!

  9. What a fun cake you made! I know the kids loved it. For once, I read all the way through the instructions and my cake wasn't too dry. I don't usually read them all because they are usually so long and detailed. I think I will start reading all of them, even though they are so long.

  10. Brilliant idea with the tie-dye-colors for the cake! Lovely sprinkling of sprinkles too!

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