In the past couple of years, the six or seven-layer Rainbow Cake has become very popular, especially with young children, due to its garish colouring. It is probably a recent creation selling as birthday cakes for children, I expect. That said, the traditional Rainbow Cake is only three layers consisting of just plain, pink and chocolate colours, which is far more pleasing to the eyes. If you ask me, I would go for the traditional three-layer over the outlandish six or seven-layer affair, no question! Baking 3 cake layers is also far more sensible than trying to make 6 or 7 cake layers in a home oven. I ask you, who has 6 or 7 identical cake tins in their pantry and an oven large enough so you can bake them all in one go? You would have to divide the baking over several hours even with two or three identical cake tins you might have or into the next day just to make one cake, crazy, I tell you… LOL.
Anyway, back to topic, I bought a 750g-tub of Nutella last week because it was on sale for half price. So I was thinking and looking for a Batik Cake recipe last week using Nutella. Of course, as usual, I got side-tracked! This recipe, called Kek Batik Arora kept popping up everywhere. By the way, I don’t know what Arora is, but my guess is it is a misspelling of the word Aurora. Aurora, of course, refers to the northern (Aurora Borealis) or southern (Aurora Australis) lights. The swirling colours of this cake are meant to resemble those colourful natural light display in the sky.
Southern lights (Aurora Australis) – an example of the colourful aurora.
This cake is as gaudy as the seven-layer Rainbow Cake, but it is baked as a marble cake with swirling rainbow colours in one cake tin. Although personally I was not too keen about making the cake, I was prepared to bake it once for a couple of reasons. One, a good opportunity to use some of the flavoured colour gels I bought the past few years and used very little of (ashamedly, some were not even opened yet, the result of impulse-buying); secondly, with Chinese New Year coming up, a colourful cake to begin the year ahead, hahaha!
A final note, if you don’t have flavoured colour gels, you can just use a few drops of normal liquid food colouring (adjust the colour to your liking) and add vanilla extract to the cake batter for flavour.
Makes one loaf cake
125g butter, softened
50g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon ovalette special* (optional)
125g (about 4 1/2 tablespoons or 90ml) sweetened condensed milk
125g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon pandan paste – green
1/2 teaspoon pineapple paste (or orange paste if available) – yellow or orange
1/2 teaspoon strawberry paste – red
1/2 teaspoon chocolate paste – brown
a few drops blue food colouring (or use 1/2 teaspoon blueberry paste if available), or mixed with a few drops cochineal food colouring to get a magenta or purple colour
* Ovalette is a cake emulsifier, it helps to prevent cake batter separating, and also make a fine-texture cake. You can omit it if you don’t have access to it.
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 22cm x 8cm (base measurement) x 7cm (height) loaf tin. Sift flour and baking powder together; set aside.
2. Cream softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add ovalette and beat briefly to combined. Beat in sweetened condensed milk.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour mixture.
4. Divide the batter roughly into 5 portions. Add one different colour to each portion, and mix well.
5. To fill the tin, start with half of one coloured batter and dollop lengthwise along the base of the tin. Repeat with half of the next coloured batter. Repeat until you have used up half of each of the batters. Give the tin a couple of light taps on the countertop to settle the batter. Then go back to the reminder of the first batter and repeat filling the tin. Following the sequence, use up all the remaining coloured batters. Finally tap the tin again to settle the batter. Alternately, you may use piping bags to pipe each colour in sequence into the tin, this will give the cake a more pleasing rounded swirl of colours after baking.
6. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until cooked when tested. You may also bake it at 160°C if preferred for a slightly longer time to prevent too much cracks on the top.
Taste: Fruity flavoured butter cake
Consume: Best within two to three days
Storage: Keep under covered at room temperature in cool weather, or in airtight container in the refrigerator in hot weather
Recipe Reference(s): ‘Kek Batik Arora’ from MamaFaMi’s Spice n Splendour