I Thought of That Tie Dye Cake

I Thought of That Tie Dye Cake
Cake only from Food & Wine, June 2007
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
Food Coloring of your choice

Directions-Cake. For prep photos click here
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper; butter and dust with flour.
In a bowl, mix the 3 cups of flour, baking powder and salt. In a cup, mix the milk with the vanilla. Set aside.
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until light and creamy. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the milk mixture and scraping down the bowl.

OR--not that I would endorse this but, you could use your favorite boxed white cake mix and proceed up until the point when you are about to scrape the batter into the pan. Then switch to directions for tinting below.

Divide the batter evenly into six bowls. Add food coloring of your choice to each bowl, mixing to make different colors as directed on the box etc. Mix thoroughly with a spoon after each addition of food coloring in order to gauge how much more coloring you might need to use. Mix using a different spoon for each different color. Keep in mind the color will fade as it bakes. Of the below colors only the bright yellow and the blue made it through the baking process.  Colors should look very bold.

Here is where you can get creative. Either use three colors for each layer or use all six colors for both layers, dividing the batter of each of the six bowls in half. Scrape each color of batter into the pan in concentric circles, starting at the outer edge of the pan and working your way to the middle. Invariably you will drag some color through as you smooth the top but do not do that with aggressive purpose.

Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 35 minutes, until springy. Let cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a rack. Peel off the paper, turn the cakes upright and cool completely.

Ingredients-Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ina Garten, 2001
3/4 pound (12 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
Food coloring of your choice

Cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Add the sugar and beat until smooth. You want the frosting to make a thwapping sound, indicating it has gotten really whippy and light. Tint frosting the color of your choice.Follow directions for basic frosting as indicated in this past post.

Note: because my cake seemed a bit crumbly on the sides I decided to do a quick "crumb coat." Meaning, after frosting the top of the bottom layer normally, I placed the top layer on top of the bottom, used just a thin coating of the icing on the sides and the top of the top layer, put it in the fridge to firm up for 10 minutes, and then proceeded to frost normally. That way I was able to get a nice smooth finish and not drag crumbs through the frosting.

If you want to pipe some decorations in a contrasting, darker color, reserve about 1/2 cup of frosting for that purpose and tint to your preference. Fill a pastry bag with your preferred tip and get your fancy on. I had some extra so used it to make a dark pink/light pink chambray effect on the sides of the cake.