Christmas in september

Something rather interesting happened today but let me start from the beginning. I haven’t been shopping for a long time, but today I had to buy a Birthday present for a young boy and since I didn’t have a clear idea what to buy, I had to spend some time looking for the right present. In the beginning the shops looked the same, you know a book here and a toy over there and a lovely dress just the right shape and size (which I don’t really need because you have to be invited to a nice dinner or a party in order to wear a dress like that) and I see a big problem finding the right shoes…oh but do forgive me, we were on a completely different subject. Well, when a lady goes out shopping, she might as well make the most of it!

So I went into one of the big stores and just when I stepped off the escalator, still hoping that the perfect present (a book) would be there waiting for me, I found myself in the middle of a virtual forest of Christmas trees – plastic but amazingly authentic! And no sight of the shelves and a huge surprise. Strangely enough, we finished reading the Narnia book just a few days earlier and with an imagination like mine, even on a perfectly bright and sunny day, for a moment, I got quite a strange feeling that I am not in the right place or time! So obviously I had to snap out of it, just to realise that Christmas starts in September – in retail, and that sunny days are ahead of us as well as summer and I am living in the Southern hemisphere where December brings Summer and Christmas. No snow or cold weather, you have to walk through the big wardrobe for that purpose!

We baked this cake for Christmas party at Childcare and it was an absolute success. It is a special occasion cake but one of those you can bake with your kids. It’s a great fun!

Rainbow cake

6 eggs

250 gr caster sugar

200 ml milk

180 ml sunflower oil

260 gr flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla liquid or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

one orange zest

1 small orange juice

edible colours

Lemon syrup :

100gr sugar

50ml water

1-2 lemons washed and sliced

2 drops of rose water (optional)

Cream cheese and butter filling :

2 packages of Philadelphia cream cheese room temperature

250 gr butter room temperature

400 gr  powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 drops rose water (optional)

Preheat oven to 180C. Butter and dust with flour 6×6″ baking tins or as many as you have just keep in mind that it’s enough for 6 cakes.

(I always prepare the syrup first because I want it to be at room temperature by the time I need to use it). Place small pot on low heat, add water & sugar, and when sugar is dissolved add sliced lemon. Reduce it just for 5 minutes. Leave to cool.

In a large bowl beat eggs with sugar until light and creamy. Add milk and oil, mix for a bit and stir in flour and baking powder. In the end, add vanilla paste, orange juice and zest of one orange. Mix everything with spatula and divide into 6 small batches. Colour each one with different colours or just follow the rainbow colours. You can easily bake three cakes at once on 175C for 12-15 min or until done (use cake tester if you need to). While the cakes are still hot pour lemon syrup on the top of each cake and leave to cool.

The filling is a really the basic one, but then again the whole cake is, except for the appearance. Beat cream cheese and butter until very smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar, constantly mixing. Once all powdered sugar is used add vanilla extract and rose water.

Assemble the cake using the order of the colours the way you like, adding filling in between each cake. I really loved the naked cake look but decided to frost the cake with the same cream cheese and buttercream. Not sorry about that – end up with a fantastic result because all the colours were hidden and no one had a clue what was hiding inside. The effect the cake had on kids once sliced was priceless.

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