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Friday, August 10, 2012

Au Naturel Rainbow Pancake Cake - Pancakes #3

My pretty, kawaii niece Arianna was going to have her first birthday and I'm in charge of her cake! Haha, as always, the favourite aunt of all my nieces, LOL. I do try to use natural colours and pigments whenever I can and am always excited to experiment.

Once during a tea party at Swee San's, she made a beautiful natural rainbow cake and it made all of us WOW! It was from her creation that I was inspired to try making mine, au naturel.

not enough frosting to cover the sides, hehehehe.

When I decided to make a rainbow cake for Arianna, I dread of the thought of washing the pan again and again and then reheating the oven so many times. It seemed wasteful. And I was also lazy to bake each layer. So, I thought, why not make pancakes. It's a lot easier!

Because I don't have the luxury to complete the cake in one day, I did it 2 days in advance. One day to do the pancakes, one day to frost, 3rd day to celebrate with. It was a big mistake!

My beetroot layer started to turn brown and the pancakes start to turn crumbly. The softness was gone on the day of celebration! So, for those who wants to try this, I do urge you to do with only 30 hours in advance for best results.

still a tinge of redness after 24 hours on the beetroot layer.
If you can see the purple layer, it actually looked purplish, but turned blue the next day.

Natural Rainbow Pancake Cake
Recipe source: Wendyinkk
Inspired by: Swee San
Makes a large 10 inch wide, 5 inch tall cake. Easily feeds 20.

Each layer
1 grade B egg
1 Tbsp oil
50gm buttermilk
50gm cake flour
20gm sugar
¾ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda

Pigment sources + additions
Red layer = 50gm beetroot , raw
Orange layer = 40gm carrots + 10gm beetroot , raw,
Yellow=50gm carrots, raw
Green=40gm pandan juice + ¼ tsp baking power –baking soda
Blue= 8 blackberries (microwaved for 10 secs) + 2 Tbsp water, strained
Purple = 20 blueberries(microwaved for 10 secs) + 2 Tbsp water+ ¼ tsp baking power -baking soda
Indigo= 4 blackberries (microwaved for 10 secs) + 2 Tbsp water, strained+ ¼ tsp baking power – baking soda

For all layers, do them separately
1. Prepare the wet ingredients. Put oil, buttermilk and pigment sources together and blend ( I used an immersion blender). Mix with egg.
2. Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder) together in a bowl.
3. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Combine until a batter is formed, do not overmix.
4. Cook on frying pan on low heat (covered with lid) until surface is cooked
5. Flip over onto cooling rack to cool off.
6. Stack pancakes, separated with non stick baking paper. Keep chilled until time of use.

500gm of prepared whipped dairy cream (see here for method)

Spread cream and stack the layers according to sequence. Spread cream over pancake and chill for another 5 hours before serving.

Now, I wanted to show you the beetroot layer right after it was made... but don't know why the picture won't stand upright. Stupid Sony Ericsson, it happens to pictures taken by my phone and TX5 cybershot cam,
It looks pretty and red right??? Urrrrrgh!!!
I hate it when it turns starts turning brown the next day, hate hate hate it!
Hate it even more when it's really brown on the 3rd day!!! Urrrrgh!


  1. wah!! Well done! Looks just as good even though the colours didn't sustain.

  2. Oh....this is so BEAUTIFUL!! I am so mesmerized looking at the layer of colours; and you are using healthy fruits/vege as the source for colours. So brilliant!

  3. Wow ! it's so colourful and beautiful - reminds me of bollywood. but too tedious for me. really am awe !

  4. Beautiful. Never mind the discolouration. Your effort is worth it's weight in gold.

  5. Wow wow, I like the rainbow colours, they are really beautiful.You hv done a great job.

  6. This is a pretty cake. Wish we are in Malaysia, so that you can make one for Suyi. :)

  7. Swee San,
    Thanks for showing me, natural rainbow cake can be done.

    Haha, just take it as brown, right? Still a colour

    I derived the idea from Swee San

    Too Mai Lin,
    LOL, that's why it's crazy

    Phong hong,

    thanks, my brother and SIL loved it a lot. It's really worth it.

    Veronica's Kitchen,
    thanks a lot!

    Alice Chua,
    Yeah, too bad!
    If not I'll make her anything she wants :)

  8. I like the colors ..... using all natural ingredient . I make 1 steam rainbow cake last week but using coloring. Thinking to try out 1 more round using the follow combination : red - strawberry, orange - orange, yellow - lemon, green - pandan, blue - blueberry, indigo - no idea (so now I can try urs), Purple - purple sweet potato.Do you think it works?

  9. Wouw!! With gel colouring, I already KIV due to such tedious job, now, you even made your own natural colour pigments .... I really salute you :) Well done, Wendy!

  10. great idea to use all natural colours and do pancake instead of cake, less time needed. But the green layer of pandan, the taste will it be overwhelm to other flavours?

  11. Annie,
    Take note that natural pigments are not easy to deal with. Strawberry will not stay red if you blend it and bake, blueberries and purple sweet potato's pigment is pH sensitive and orange juice's colour is not intense at all. You may need to reconsider.

    For the sake of my niece only, if not I won't do it.


    Yup, the pandan actually infuses everything, and it's nice because the rest of the pigments don't have much taste. The same happened to Swee San cake, tasted of pandan too.

  12. Looks beautiful =)

  13. Nope, I won't be making this, just reading the recipe gives me a headache lol! But it is so beautiful, love the first photo a lot!

  14. Good idea to make it into pancake. Do u think we can prepare the batter at one go and divide?.

  15. leo,

    I don;t think i'll make this again too, haha

    Nope. You need the help of the eggs and buttermilk in each portion to help blend the pigments. Must be done by each portion.

  16. Thanks, Wendy for the info.

  17. Hats off to you yet again, Wendy! A very clever idea to use pancakes instead of cakes. And fabulous with all the natural ingredients. I am sure your niece will be ecstatic to see such a stunning cake. No wonder you are the favourite aunt!

  18. Oh very swee! Love the subtle colors from natural food coloring versus those color gel! I also want to try baking this but super lazy, lol! Btw, why the last photo orientation is a little weird leh?

  19. hi Wendy, this is brilliant but at the same time so time consuming and takes a great portion of patience, i believe :)

    i feel like giving it a try doing the coloring, but with cake instead, but like to ask u some questions...

    if i prepare the coloring by following the quantity u stated, do u think it can work for cake, too? will it affect the texture of the cake?

    for the beetroots and carrots, is it to be grated and then squeezed and use the juice? or do i use the whole thing mixed in the cake batter?

    and also u wrote some using baking powder - baking soda, does it mean baking powder or baking soda? or combined both? sorry so blur :)
    if to mix in the cake, is it still necessary to put in those two agents?

    sorry for asking many questions, i want to try to make rainbow cake for my girl but want to use natural coloring, then i saw this posting of yours :)

    many many thks!

  20. Veronica-Minty,
    Actually the birthday cake was just 1yo and she knows nothing, haha. It's everybody else except her. But she'll see the cake when she grows up

    I dunno woh, no matter how I try to change it save it, it stays that way each time. Frus... :(

    Haha, but not a good make ahead idea :)

  21. Alice,
    1. Whether it affects ur cake or not, depends on the recipe, whether it allows the use of liquids or not.
    2. As said in the recipe, they are blended, used as a puree. Juice's colour will not stay so well and is less heat stable, especially for beetroot.
    3. Baking powder and baking soda is not the same thing and they perform differently. Which to add, depends on the pH nature of the batter.

    If you are not familiar with ingredient substitution and recipe tweaking, I suggest you stick to a tried and tested recipe to avoid frustration. Natural colours are not easy to work with. But if you are confident with it, sure, go ahead.

  22. Then quite waste to use the expensive ingredients like blackberries and bluberries ho..can not taste them..but at least healthy lar..

  23. WOW.. very attractive rainbow cake...

    come u home steal the receipt lioa..
    good idea for using frying pan!!

  24. It's so pretty. Too much work involved, certainly not for me. Makan, can!

  25. I SUPER SUPER LOVE the fact that you don't use artifical colouring. I'm bookmarking this page simply for all the ideas on getting natural colours out of the food we eat!

  26. Sonia,
    If there's other alternatives for colour, I don't mind using, but anything blue or purple is usually berries lor. and that few pieces won't have any taste la, very few only.

    sure, take, don't forget to make


    No frills recipe,
    It's a one time off thing, I think, no chance for u to eat, hahaha

    Shu Han,
    Yeah, the colours themselves are nutrients, need to consume an array of them daily

  27. I really like this - we've been eating a lot of pancakes lately and I think I have enough pandan juice and extract to make a few of these. The way you make each pancake kind of looks like an eggsheet used for bentos! Thank you for the recipe! ^^

  28. Wow! You blew me away again! Awesome looking stack of pancakes! I might just bookmark it for my gal's next birthday :D

  29. Wendy,
    I do not have a microwave. So how else can I prepare the berries? Thank you!

  30. Very pretty colours in all the layers. Bookmarked for special day :)

  31. Wendy, there is nothing wrong with this cake! actually I love yours better, than a rainbow cake on the market now on, they put too much colors on food, its too scary to me .

  32. Just too pretty!! Love it. I must make this cheery cake whenever the weather turns gloomy :D

  33. Really creative using pancake to make a cake. Very impress with the natural colours that you use. A lot of effort and love. You really amazing!

  34. I hate artificial food colors, they are noxious, so I love your idea to use natural food.

  35. Wendy this cake is awesome...very pretty.

  36. I love the idea of natural food color. Lovely.

  37. I loved this cake of yours and just had to have a look at it again, and can i suggest bunga telang for the blue pigment. will it do ?

  38. Bou Shin,
    I hope you will like this :)

    Cooking it on low heat in one corner of the saucepan until it bleeds. :p

    Thanks ;)

    Mom's the little one,
    Haha, cos you didn't taste it.

    Yeah, and bring that little bit of sunshine into the house, Awww.. that's warm.

    Haha, me kiamsap with electric, that's why make on stove, haha.

    oh yeah, those cakes have too much food colouring


    Quay Po,

    Too Mai Lin,
    I've read somewhere, some one tried baking with bunga telang, the cake came out brown :p

  39. So creative and so pretty! I like your all natural ingredients! Wonder if can do the same for cake layers...

  40. Wah, so colourful...sure taste good also.....errr, now can I have one piece please....

  41. wow, this is crazy, lady! but if you sell it, i will buy it!!

  42. Wow! It truely looks amazing.
    ...and what a clever idea with the pancakes.
    I'll definitely try it.
    - perhaps for my little one's 1st b'day.

  43. I always cannot resist colorful bakes, this is really very pretty, love the colors.

  44. Hi Wendy your Au Natural Pan cake do look very awesome I would definitely wanted to do it for my family. Thanks for sharing

  45. Hi, the cake looks fabulous! I am thinking whether the red layer can be substituted with red dragon fruit colour? Perhaps sieve away the black seeds? Just some thots. I will want to try making this soon...

  46. Sorry, I accidentally posted my comment under anonymous... I am the one suggesting red dragon fruit as substitute. sorry again.

  47. Vivian,
    The type of pigment in dragon fruit and beetroot is the same as it's Betalain. It easily deterioriates with heat. You can do a google for red dragon fruit chiffon cake and you can see that none of them are pink after baking ;)
    Thanks for the suggestion anyway.

  48. So very pretty....I definitely love it.

    Just wanna double check with you on the green, purple & indigo layers.

    + 1/4 tsp bp - baking soda
    It means to add additional 1/4 tsp bp and minus baking soda from the batter?

  49. Poh Lin,
    Yes. Because baking soda will prevent it from having a pinkish hue.

  50. hi Wendy, just saw your reply
    yeah, i will see what i can do
    this is definitely way from easy to deal with
    even though its really worth the effort
    shall learn more about the natural coloring first :)

  51. Hi Wendy,

    Am planning to do this cake for my nephew 1 year old birthday, if i used dragon fruit for the red layer is it ok?

    I plan to substitute cream cheese instead of whipped dairy cream. Would it go well with the pancakes, taste wise, how much should i prepare then, 250g of cream cheese?

  52. Hi Wendy, Sorry that I didnt saw that you have answered the Dragon fruit question in the previous comment, noted on that and many thanks!

  53. atlantisian,
    pure cream cheese could be quite "powerful".
    This huge pancake stack is already very filling, with cream cheese, even more!

  54. Hi Wendy, the dairy whipped cream method you mentioned to refer from Chocolate Engima cake right, however you did not mentioned the respective amount needed for frosting this rainbow cake. you stated required amount for rainbow cake is 500g whipped dairy cream but is the frosting amount in chocolate Engima cake recipe enough to frost this rainbow cake? How do I scale up the ingredients to yield 500gm whipped dairy cream? Thanks a zillion for answering this question. I know you are bazillion busy.

  55. Lynn,
    First of all, this pancake stack taste best when fresh. Kept long, and it turns crumbly, not nice at all.
    To prepare 500gm whipped cream, just weigh out 500gm of it from the carton. Just do some calculations to make up the adjustments needed.

    Chocolate enigma : 400g
    This cake needs 500g
    So, 500/400 = 1.25

    Then you used this 1.25 to calculate the rest

    1.25 X 1tsp(5ml) = 1.25tsp
    1.25 x 1 Tbsp (15ml) = 1.25 Tbsp

    No need to be super accurate with gelatin and water and sugar. You can eyeball it.


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