Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hannah's Piano Rainbow Cake

Hannah is my eldest brother's eldest daughter, elder sister of Jojo (Joanna).

A talented singer (she can follow songs just by listening to it once, and she was still in pre-kindergarten years),

A graceful dancer (just look at her perform in her school concert, undeniably the best in her class, she took up ballet at 4, and she could catch up with the 5 n 6 yr olds in her class with just a few lessons),

An Elephant (not her size, but her memory. Never tell her something u don't want her to remember, especially how many kids u plan to have, if not she'll pester u with the question , "When will the next one be coming?")

A sensible and careful girl (she knows what is right or wrong since very young and will warn her little sister when she is trying to be naughty. Never does anything she's not confident of. Never eats 2 candies when her mom tells her to eat one.)

She the type of daughter every mother will be proud of, that's what I can say. I learnt to change diapers, prepare formula thru taking care of her during my holidays when she was a baby. She prepared me for Lydia and Lyanne.

For her birthday this year(2 weeks back), I made her a Piano cake, promised months ago, even before Jojo's birthday last year. Hannah loves butter, so I tried out buttercream. Her fav colour is purple, so a purple piano it'll be. I didn't want a cake with lots of filling but let the flavour of buttercream shine thru. So I made a "rainbow cake". Actually it's an emulsified sponge cake, recipe taken from Rumah Manis as linked from What's for Dessert Today. I never told Lydia that this is a rainbow cake, I only told her it's a piano cake, but once the cake was cut and Lydia saw the inside, she screamed, RAINBOW CAKE. Kids are kids. U never know how smart they can be.

In this video, u can see how excited Lydia was, as if it's her birthday. Hannah only saw the cake just before the birthday song, cos all of us wanted the cake to be a surprise to her. It was difficult for her to land a cut in the cake, of which in the end she reluctantly did.

We didn't finish the cake at the party, but split up the cake for everybody to bring home. I took this piece home and took some pics to show how it looks like inside.

Pink - Strawberry
Brown - Chocolate
Purple - Yam/Taro
Green - Pandan
The combination of flavours were great. The buttercream was so so nice. I never liked buttercream, but now I'm a convert. Actually everybody at the party converted. Homemade buttercreams are nothing like store bought ones. No oily feel at all. Doesn't leave film in the mouth. And it's so so fragrant. It's also rather stable in our definately over 30C weather. I thought pure butter buttercreams(w/o shortenings or margarine) will be runny, but no.. it stayed put, very well. I think it's due to the sticky meringue base. I'll definately do this butter cream again. I didn't even flavour it. Original!!

Swiss buttercream recipe taken from Tartelette


  1. What a sweet purple cake ! Hannah is such a lucky girl to have you baked such a beautiful cake for her...can I be your girl next life ?

  2. AFTH,
    Ha!!! U can also be my niece or nephew to get bithday cakes from me :)

  3. my wife also say that you are very "geng"!

    Nice cake! Hannah will very happy too.

    Who is Hannah in the video... i guess the middle girl is lydia right

    I guess the black shirt is Hannah hehehe because she cuts the cake.

    nice party!

  4. Voon,

    Help me say thanks to ur wife :)
    Yup, Hannah is the girl in dark purple top.
    She has appeared in alot of my posts, esp birthday related ones.

  5. Wendy, this is awesome! I can never imagine myself working on a cake like this. I am terrified of frosting. And what a cute video, Lydia is really excited - I laughed when you had to pluck her away from the knife...:D

  6. The only cake I truly enjoyed in a long, long time.


  7. I love the colour combination of the cakes.

  8. Shirley,
    It was difficult frosting a square cake, especially when it's not covered with anything else except icing. If there will be nuts of sprinkles, it will be a lot easier.

    Lydia is a menace to birthdays, always trying to steal the limelight from the birthday girls/boys.
    Hahaha.. she assumes all cakes and candles are hers.

  9. Dear brother,
    Now I know what to make u for ur birthday.

    Sad to know that my previous cakes weren't that good :(.
    Hehehehe!!! I'll improve!!! I will!!

  10. DG,
    Thanks. Some people might fear eating so much colours. But once a while shouldn't be that bad.

  11. Hannah surely like the cake rite Wendy..its taste good rite..really adore ur talent..
    Owh..i really want the cake for my doter bday..

  12. hi Wendy, love your blog!
    Can you please share some tips to make great buttercream?

  13. Hi Wendy, it's glad to know that the recipe works for you. your's more pretty than Im.. :) Someday I will make piano cake for my daughter too. *cross finger* LOL.

    have a nice day dear, I will come back to visit you again.

  14. Sushigirl,

    I will do a post about buttercream in the future, step by step!!! Just that this is my first time doing it, I didn't take any pictures.

    U got to be kidding me mine is prettier than urs.
    Show my piano cake to ur sunshine, and I'm sure u'll make it pretty soon. Can't wait to see ur version.

  15. OMG!! This is so awesome!! The layers are very neat! Lovely cake!

  16. ur buttercream looks good lei...but bit not sure about the steps involved.
    Sugar and egg whites - temper over heat for 3 minutes;
    Transfer to stand mixer and whipped till stiff?
    Add butter and whipped again?

    Is that rite?
    Waiting for ur post on buttercream then!

  17. BH,
    I baked the layers one by one, and the cake is an emulsified sponge, that's why it's so flat and nice.

    Yeah, that's about it.

  18. Hey...W.Yee, that cake is beautiful. Wish I could be one of the kids in that video.
    Quick question....IS "butter cream" non-greasy icing?
    Compared to fresh cream, which one do you prefer?
    There is a new bakery store called 101 Bakery in Boston Chinatown, they have a delicious cake - green tea flavor cake with red bean paste. The combination taste is good.

  19. OMG..what a beautiful cake..if u were in Kuching,I would ask for u to be my 'tutor'..

  20. Foong Mun,
    Real pure buttercream is not greasy in the mouth, but on the bowl/plate, yes.
    But some buttercreams, when made with margarine or shortening will be greasy both in the mouth and plates. These are the usual "icing" found in Malaysia's bakeries.

    What Malaysians call as fresh cream is actually "non dairy topping". In US, u can get them in whipped forms like "Cool Whip" or unwhipped forms with the brand Rich.

    Real whipped cream is made from real milk cream, and is usually not used in Malaysian bakeries.

    My preference.. it depends on the cake. Filled cake with fruits goes best with whipped dairy cream, and unfilled with fruits like this piano cake is fabulous with real buttercream. Non Dairy Topping is great for outer cake deco due to it stability in our oh-so hot weather.

    I'm sorry but I don't think u'd find a green tea cake on my blog, cos I don't really like the flavour.

  21. Doria,
    Oh.. I don't think I can qualify for that. We'll learn together.

    U can try it out, I learn from blogs most of the time.

  22. Thanks a bunch! Can't wait for the step by step guide. Also, if i may ask, what type of baking mixer are you using? I have tried making buttercream but to no avail :( I am wondering could it be my mixer (as i am a beginner at baking, i only have a Philips mixer).

  23. Sushigirl,
    I wonder what was the problem?
    Buttercream too runny? The recipe from Tartlette is very easy to follow, but u must pay attention to the temperature she indicates. Butter should not be shiny, but cool enough to remain matte but soft enough to be easily cut with a spoon.

    I'm also using a Philips, handheld one that cost me less than RM60. I can't promise when the post will be, as I can a long long time to do my posts :)

  24. I may attempt a piano cake for son's bday. Did you use 8 eggs for this? How big is the cake?

  25. Blessed HOmemaker,
    Yup, 8 eggs, 2 eggs for each layer.
    I used a 10 inch shallow square pan to bake each layer. Each layer was slightly more than 1 cm thick only.
    I trimmed the sides a bit, so that it'll be really level and with all that frosting, it's still about 9 inch plus.

  26. Hmmm.. that's a huge cake. The s/b mirror cake, I only used 2 eggs recipe and it was still too much for us. May need to KIV making this cake.

  27. Blessed Homemaker,
    The mirror cake, the filling was half the cake.
    This one, inside is almost all cake.

    If it's not big enough, the piano keys will be hard to make, and the effect won't be nice.
    It's not a filling cake, anyway. It's like eating air. But then again, I'd say it'll be nice for a party of 20 kids :) But if they take 2nds, then 10 kids can finish this cake.

  28. Hi Wendy,

    I'm new on your blog.. I'm new to baking and I really adore your baking talent. Can you please share some tips to make great buttercream? I wish I can learn from you.


  29. Yvonne,
    There is a detailed buttercream recipe in my blog. Find it in the recipe index or just search using the search box on the right panel

  30. This is really an interesting blog as it focuses on the very important topic. i came to know about so many things or tips.

  31. for the cake recipe instead of emulsifier what could be the substitute dear pls let me know

    thanks for the recipe

  32. Anonymous,
    Just leave it out, it's ok. If you are experienced baker, that won't be much of a problem.
    If you are new, the emulsifier helps by preventing deflating.

  33. thanks for the response dear no iam not experienced baker just trying for right now ...what is the meaning of deflating sorry to ask u a silly question
    what does emulsifier does?
    is there anything else can we substitute with or if i dont add does it gonna make any difference to the cake
    if any substitute for it pls let me know i stay in US

  34. Anonymous,
    deflating means.... going flat.
    the emulsifier stabilizes the bubbles, so that your cake won't go flat just incase you overfolded or stirred instead of folded.
    I am afraid there is no subtitute that is easily available to home bakers in US.
    If you are experienced, your batter won't go flat, even w/o the emulsifier.

  35. wendy nice cake dear
    is the recipe enough to make 5 different colors of ur cake and everytime u bake one color each and add to the next layer pls clarify this ?
    u said u used 2 eggs only for the whole cake so how much i need to cut down the recipe if we use 2 eggs may i get all the 5 different layers
    just like u sorry for my stupid questions
    dont know much abt baking

  36. Anonymous,
    If you got the information through the comments, it is stated as 8 eggs for the whole cake, 2 eggs per layer.
    I baked each layer separately, then stacked them together with buttercream sandwiched between.
    If you are from US, I have no idea where can you get emulsifier.

  37. is it just me? or am i not able to find the recipe to this. how did you flavor your taro/yam layer?

  38. Anonymous,
    The link to the sites I got the recipe from is in the post itself.
    With taro flavour paste. It's imitation.

  39. Thank you...I was able to retrieve the recipe.

    Taro flavor much did u use?

  40. Hi Wendy,
    I need your advice.What the suitable birthday to do if the person dun like sponge cake,she like something like muffin moist and compact..I'm thinking to make buttermilk cake frosting with swiss buttercream is it nice...
    From Christine Koh

  41. Christine Koh,
    It's nice... but leave the cake at room temp for half an hour before serving (that is if you chilled it before hand)

  42. Your piano rainbow cake is adorable! What lucky little girls you have! I followed the rainbow from this Sweet Sixteen: Rainbows Collection to your blog. Congrats on being featured! Thanks for sharing.

  43. This looks delicious! Thanks for the idea...and the Sugar Rush!

  44. hi, can you share the receipe for the rainbow cake??

  45. stella shang,
    The link to the recipe is in the post.

  46. ok, thanks! wendy....
    Sorry, i have one more question.Can i know how many grams for the mixture do you use to each layer ??

  47. stella,
    I forgot exactly how big I did each layer.
    I think I did 4 eggs at one go, then split to 2 to bake.
    I made the batter twice so I had 4 colours.
    It also depends on the size of your pan. My layers were about 1cm thick only in a 10 inch pan.

  48. Hi Wendy,
    I like your blog so much and admire your baking. I want to make the same piano cake for my niece on her birthday. I would appreciate if you could tell me how to make the white and black of the piano. are they made by butter cream too??? I wonder how you can make the black colour exactly like the real piano.
    Thank you very much.
    Ah, my name is Miki

  49. Miki,
    The white keys are made from chilled buttercream.
    Spread the buttercream on a non stick paper, chill it and cut to preferred size.
    The black keys are melted chocolate, cut to size. Let the melted chocolate harden at room temp (spread out on non stick paper too), then score with knife, chill and break to pieces.

  50. Thank you very much for your reply. I will try and let you know the result.
    Thank you once again.


  51. Hi Wendy,
    Love all your cakes!
    Could you also post some icing and frosting tips?
    How did you get a smooth surface with the swiss buttercream on the piano cake?

  52. Lipika,
    I used a clean ruler :)
    I don't think i am very good with frosting at the moment, but I do hope that I'll improve and share something.


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