Holiday Baking: Rainbow III & Cornish Cream Tea

Our holiday in Cornwall brought us many joys, one of which was the opportunity to fatten everyone up with some baked goods.  Obviously, my beloved Kitchen Aid made the journey with us, and earned its place on the counter of our rented home for the week.

I realise there’s a risk that I’m overdoing the posts on Rainbow Cake but I haven’t finished perfecting it, so buckle up for the third attempt…

A friend quite rightly pointed out that there was a flaw in Rainbow I and Rainbow II.  Specifically, they weren’t strictly rainbows; they lacked a seventh colour.  Challenge accepted.  So, for Rainbow III, in stepped a fifth egg and some gel colour jiggery-pokery.  In layman’s terms, my baking genius friend Angharad and I boosted the Victoria sponge mix by an egg and increased the butter, sugar and flour to match, so that there was more mixture with which to make the seven layers.  To get a noticeable distinction between the indigo and violet layers, we boosted the blue elements of one and the red elements of the other and added a little cocoa to get a better depth of colour.

While I faffed around with the colours, Angharad made the most perfect baking paper skirts I’ve ever seen, greased and lined the tins, carefully spread the mix into them and baked them in batches, making sure each was baked well (which was a HUGE challenge in an unfamiliar oven, without an oven thermometer) before hoiking them out to cool.  She also exercised amazing self-restraint when she caught a tin on the oven as it came out, and watched the green layer tumble onto the oven lid.  In this situation, I would definitely have lost my cool and binned it, but not this baker.  With the help of a palette knife, a fish slice and a plate proffered by another foodie friend Chris, she rescued Mr Green and he lived to take his rightful place in the finished cake.  And thus, a very happy birthday girl cut into her (complete and) celebratory cake.

On our final full day in Cornwall, we realised that the clotted cream we had enthusiastically procured on day one was languishing unloved in the fridge, so rather than buying less-than-fresh local scones, we decided to make them ourselves.  Using a very simple recipe of 225g self-raising flour, pinch of salt, 55g butter, 25g sugar and 150ml milk (plus egg for glaze), we knocked up two batches and used a juice tumbler as a makeshift cutter.  It wasn’t absolutely ideal as it squished the edges, preventing a pleasing straight rise but they tasted delicious fresh from the oven with clotted cream and raspberry jam.