Have a slice of cake with Tablespoon as we celebrate 5 amazing years of recipes and fun!
Tablespoon is turning 5 and since we're known for brightly colored rainbow foods and drinks, I thought hiding a multicolored "5" inside a Betty Crocker Pound cake was right for the occasion! And of course the exterior of the cake needed to be just as colorful – so it's covered in neon orange, yellow, green, blue and pink fondant.
The idea for this surprise reveal cake (which was inspired by Sandra Denneler’s colorful peace Tie-Dye Cake) can easily be personalized for any number birthday or occasion, and is easier to make than you'd think. With its size and scope it'll take you all day to create, but don't worry – most of that time is spent waiting for cakes to bake and cool. When you see your guests ooh and ahh over your cake, you’ll know it was totally worth it!
You'll be baking two separate cakes, starting with the tie-dye cake. To start, whip up two batches of the Betty Crocker Pound Cake Mix then divide the batter into several bowls and color each bowl using neon food coloring. I chose to make pink, yellow, orange, blue, and green, but you can do any colors you like.
Let your inner artist come through and drizzle layers of colored batter into a 16x4x4.5-inch loaf pan. I lined my pan with non-stick aluminum foil for easy removal, but you can grease it with shortening and dust it with flour if you prefer.
Keep drizzling in colored batter until you use it all up. I found it easiest to put my batter into pastry bags and pipe it into the pan. You could use zip top bags if you don't have pastry bags, or you could simply drizzle it with a spoon. There's really no right or wrong way to do this step.
Bake the cake and allow it to cool completely. While it's cooling, clean out your pan and prep it the same way for your second cake.
Once the cake is cooled, cut it into slices that are just slightly thinner than your number 5 cookie cutter. Pop the slices in the freezer for at least an hour, until they feel frozen and firm.
Remove slices from freezer and cut one "5" out of each slice, then put them back into the freezer. You will have a lot of scraps, which could look really cool in a trifle or parfait, but they also make tasty little snacks just as they are.
While your numbers are chilling, whip up two more batches of Betty Crocker Pound Cake Mix and pour a thin layer of it into the prepped loaf pan. Put some of the batter into a large pastry bag or gallon-size zip top bag.
Set the frozen number 5 slices, standing up, down the middle of the pan, piping in batter as needed to keep them standing up straight.
Make sure your slices of colored cake line up in one long row down the middle of the cake before piping batter all over the tops of the slices. Be sure to somehow mark your cake so you know which way the 5s are facing. When you cut into it later, of course you want to see forward-facing 5s. I pinched the edges of my tin foil into a horn shape to mark the right end. Keep track of this as you are decorating the cake too.
Smooth the batter out on the top of the pan, making sure all of your 5s are covered.
Bake the cake and be patient. This thing is huge and it will take a very long time in the oven. I suggest turning it 180 degrees after about 40 minutes so it bakes evenly. The top will begin to brown pretty early in the baking cycle, but the cake will take between 70-90 minutes to bake through.
Once it's done, remove it from the oven, set the pan on a cooling rack and cool for 20 minutes. Remove it from the pan and set the cake directly on the cooking rack. Now, your patience is needed again as the cake needs to be completely cooled – which can take up to two hours. Once it's ready, you can trim the top to make it flat. If needed, you can trim the ends too.
Frost the cake and smooth it out really well. Put the frosted cake in the freezer (or refrigerator if it won’t fit in your freezer) while you are coloring and prepping the fondant. This will allow the frosting to firm up a bit, making it easier to cover.
Creating a neon rainbow tie-dye effect in fondant is fun! Roll individual colors of fondant into logs, press several together, then swirl, twist, or roll until you get a marbled effect. Don't over mix or your colors will look muddy.
Roll the fondant out into a 24-inch long by 15-inch rectangle. This will take some elbow grease!
Cover the cake with fondant and smooth it out. For detailed instructions, see my handy How to Use Fondant tutorial.
Add a border to the cake to finish the edges.
When you're ready to serve the cake, cut slices to reveal the number hiding inside.
Every slice will reveal another number 5!
Bright and colorful, this surprise cake is a fun way to celebrate birthdays (or any occasion) and will definitely impress your friends and family!