Just Desserts

Nothing says "party" more than sweet treats. And these three eye-catching confections are a colorful addition to your soiree plus they taste just as good as they look. Enjoy!
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RAINBOW CAKE (serves 18)

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks

  • 3¼ cups (or 6¾ sticks) unsalted butter, softened

  • 3¾ cups superfine sugar

  • 9 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 5⅔cups self-rising flour, sifted

  • 1 tsp. fine salt

  • generous 1/3₃cup whole milk

  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract food coloring pastes (purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and pink)

  • food coloring pastes (purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and pink)

FOR THE ICING

  • 3½ cups (or 7 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

  • 7 cups powdered sugar, sifted

  • 3½ cups full-fat cream cheese

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

TO DECORATE

  • 1 oz. rainbow confetti sprinkles

  • 2 candy necklaces

  • 2 wooden skewers

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and line three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.

  2. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter and superfine sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Sift in the flour and salt and fold through evenly with a large spoon. Stir in the milk and vanilla extract until combined.

  3. Weigh divide the mixture between six bowls. Add a different food coloring paste to each bowl, until you reach your required colors. Spoon three of the cake mixtures into the pans, spreading evenly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Wash and dry, then re-grease and line the cake pans. Bake the remaining colored cake mixtures and cool as before.

  4. Once the cake layers are cold, use a serrated knife to trim the tops to make the cakes level, then trim the cake edges using an upturned plate that is just smaller than the cake, as a guide.

  5. For the cream cheese icing, beat the butter and powdered sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the cream cheese, a spoonful at a time, then beat in the vanilla extract until smooth and combined. Sandwich the cake layers together, spreading a few tablespoons of the icing between each layer, starting with the purple layer, then the blue, green, yellow, orange and pink ones. Cover the cake completely with a thin layer of icing to catch all the crumbs, then chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

  6. Thickly spread the remaining icing over the cake to cover it, then use an offset spatula or icing scraper to create a lovely flat top and sides. Stick rainbow confetti to the bottom half of the cake, tapering off as you go up. Let set in the refrigerator for 1 hour, then remove the cake 20 minutes before serving.

"Cream cheese frosting gives a tangy contrast to the sweetness of the cake while also providing a rich, smooth texture that’s easy to spread. For a flawless finish, frost the cake in two layers and refrigerate in between; the first layer seals in the crumbs, so the second layer will be pure white and crumb free!” 
—Connie Petruzziello, owner and baker, Pretty Baked, Ridgewood

MULTICOLORED MACARONS (makes 28)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2½ cups ground almonds

  • 2½ cups powdered sugar

  • 6 large egg whites

  • generous ¾ cup superfine sugar

  • 1/3₃cup (or ¾ stick) salted butter, softened

  • food coloring pastes (purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and pink)

  • 2 Tbs. rainbow sprinkles

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • 1 cup (or 2 sticks) salted butter, softened

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • food coloring pastes (see colors above)

YOU WILL NEED

  • 11 disposable pastry bags

DIRECTIONS

  1. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper. Blend the ground almonds and powdered sugar together in a food-processor until fine. Set aside.

  2. Using an electric hand mixer, whisk the egg whites in a large, grease-free bowl until soft peaks form, then gradually whisk in the superfine sugar until glossy. Sift the almond mix over the egg whites and gently fold through with a large metal spoon.

  3. Divide the mixture between seven bowls, then add a little food coloring paste to six of the bowls, gently folding it through evenly, then fold the rainbow sprinkles through the remaining bowl. Be very gentle when folding, so the mixtures don’t become too loose or runny and therefore difficult to pipe.

  4. Spoon one portion of colored mixture into a pastry bag and snip off the tip to make a ½-inch opening. Pipe 1-inch rounds onto the baking sheets. (Each batch of mixture will make about 8 macarons.) Repeat with the remaining colored mixtures and the sprinkles mixture, using a fresh pastry bag each time.

  5. Tap the baking sheets twice on the work surface to flatten out the macarons and to dislodge any air bubbles. If any peaks are left, lightly wet a finger and gently dab the peak flat. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes, or until the macarons have formed a skin on the surface when you lightly touch them.

  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300°F. Bake the macarons for 10 to 12 minutes, then let cool.

  7. For the buttercream, beat the butter and powdered sugar together in a small bowl until light and fluffy. Divide between four bowls and add a little food coloring paste to each portion. Spoon each into a separate pastry bag, then snip off the tip of each bag to make a ½-inch opening. Pipe some buttercream onto the bases of an alternate color macaron, then sandwich them together with a different colored macaron on top.

"French macarons will always add an elegant touch to your pastry display when you host. Variety is important, so while I prepare mini dessert bites, I always include this delicacy, and it always outshines everything else for its unique look and taste.”
—Tomer Zilkha, executive chef, Patisserie Florentine, Englewood

RAINBOW CAKE IN A JAR (single serving)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3₃cup (or ¾ stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • ½ cup self-rising flour pinch of fine salt

  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract

  • food coloring pastes (purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red)

FOR THE ICING

  • ¼ cup heavy cream

  • 1 tsp. powdered sugar, sifted

  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp. edible confetti or rainbow sprinkles

YOU WILL NEED

  • 14 fl. oz. ovenproof glass jar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a jar with butter.

  2. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter and superfine sugar together in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg, beating well, then sift in the flour and salt and fold through evenly with a spoon. Stir in the vanilla extract until combined.

  3. Divide the mixture between six small bowls. Stir a little food coloring paste into each portion. Spoon the colored cake mixtures into the prepared jar, spooning them one on top of the other and working your way through the rainbow—purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red.

  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Set the jar aside to cool completely.

  5. For the icing, whip the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract together in a small bowl until soft peaks form. Once the cake is cold, spoon the icing over the cake and scatter with edible confetti or rainbow sprinkles before serving.

"Sometimes eating a slice of cake at an event can be difficult. An easier way to serve dessert to your guests is having cake in a jar. Not only is there no mess involved, but it will definitely make it more comfortable for your guests to enjoy and still be able to socialize!”
—Kara Schnaidt, owner and baker, Kara Kakes, Franklin Lakes

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