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VOL. 38 | NO. 33 | Friday, August 15, 2014

Rainbow birthdays and cakes

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“What kind of party do you want, Gwynnie?” I asked my 4-year-old granddaughter. “A rainbow party,” she replied.

I then asked what kind of cake did she want? “Ummm, a rainbow cake!” she said with a smile while jumping in the air.

So this past weekend, we had Gwynn’s fourth birthday party at our house. Wow, what a fun-filled but busy, busy, busy weekend. Those kids kept us running.

My daughter and her family live in Arlington, Tennessee, and two of the children’s birthdays are in December, so their birthdays are usually celebrated at home. The weather is just too iffy to have the kids on the road.

But Gwynn’s has a summer birthday, so we had her party here this year. A lot of the families that don’t usually get to travel to Tennessee to enjoy celebrations were able to come to this one, and we had a rainbow-good time!

I had rainbow colors everywhere – hanging from the ceilings and covering the tables – and rainbow balloons blowing in the wind outside. Even the cake was a rainbow cake, just like she asked. (Grandmothers will do most anything to make their grandchildren happy.)

Which brings me to my recipe: the rainbow cake. It also brings me to the reason I say grandmothers will do most anything to make the grandbabies happy.

I made this fantastic cake for Gwynn that looked marvelous (even if I do say so myself), but it took from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. to finish. I worked all day on that rainbow cake (minus about an hour – I had to run to the store to get more supplies).

A lot of my family agreed I needed to use it for my recipe article this week, so that’s what I’m sharing with you.

If you decide to do this, let me say that it wasn’t difficult, just time-consuming.

I used professional food coloring gel to color the layers because they create deeper and more intense color. As you can see in the photograph, the colors were very vibrant, which you can’t achieve with ordinary food coloring.

After the layers finished baking, I placed them on the cake board (which I covered with a piece of the plastic tablecloth I was using to decorate with) and spread each layer with a light coat of icing.

Roasted Potatoes and Smoked Sausage

1 package of smoked sausage, sliced into rounds
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
5 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Sweet paprika
Dried thyme
1 cup Grated cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Line a large jelly roll pan with several sheets of foil, and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Put the sausage rounds, onions, and potatoes into a large bowl.

Drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and season to taste with salt, pepper, paprika, and dried thyme. Toss together until sausage and potatoes are well coated. Spread into pan in a single layer.

Place the pan into the pre-heated oven and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so, or until the potatoes are golden brown and tender. Turn off the oven. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over top of the sausage and potatoes, and then pop back into the oven a few minutes to melt the cheese.

Then I applied the sprinkles. You can purchase big bags of sprinkles at professional cake decorating stores, which is where I got mine.

There’s a little trick to making the sprinkles stick: have a spray bottle of water handy, and just before pressing a handful of sprinkles in the icing, mist it lightly with the spray water. They stick immediately.

Also (I learned this the hard way), cover your work area with a towel, a sheet, newspaper or something to catch the sprinkles that miss the cake. That will save on cleanup time.

I made such a huge mess. If I’d placed something under the cake board, I could have easily cleaned up.

But no, I had sprinkles everywhere. And I had to walk on them to get to the broom. That made a bigger mess. Anyway, this could have been avoided.

In the picture, you can see that the cake is shaped like an arc – kind of like a rainbow.

And you’re probably thinking how smart I was to do that, but it was by accident that turned out well.

I forgot to cut the rounded tops of the layers off the cake before I put it together, but, like I said, it worked out good because of the arc it made.

So there’s my cake story – plain vanilla cake with plain vanilla buttercream frosting, but made to look like something fantastic. It was a hit with Gwynnie everyone else.

If you decide to make one, shoot me an email if you have questions. I can say I’m “experienced” with this type of cake now. You can also Google “sprinkle rainbow cakes” and get a lot of ideas.

Now, here’s a recipe for a really yummy and quick dinner.

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