October 24, 2013

Rainbow Polka Dot Cake / Vanilla cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I am so glad that everyone appreciated my post from last week on the Cake Pops that I made for my daughter birthday. I had also promised that I would publish the cake recipe soon but unfortunately I am almost 2 weeks delayed! Better late than never right?

Every year, habitually a few months before my daughter's birthday in October, I begin my frantic search for a cake that I should be whipping up for her. It takes me several days and umpteen phone conversations with my mom and sister to finally settle down with the recipe and design that we think my daughter would love. This year I planned to try out the really cute polka dot cake. The very first time I laid eyes on this design, I knew I had to try it out. Well, I had nailed down what to bake but I was utterly confused on how I should be decorating the cake. The past three years I have been decorating her birthday cake with fondant but this year was a time for a change. I decided to try a Lemon Swiss Meringue Frosting this time. It's very airy and light with just the right hint of lemon to top it off. 

Though I started decorating the cake around noon, it gradually began to get dark outside, especially with some storm clouds moving in. The darker it got outside the more upset I started to become as I realized that my natural ambient lighting for the cake photographs was going to be drastically ruined. All my joy and excitement turned into gloom as my focus turned to just wrapping up the decorating ASAP and make the most of whatever lighting that was available. All my great plans of shooting pictures to share the techniques of the cake designs had to be dropped. Finally at around 4pm I was done and I was able to click some pictures of the final product but I was not too enthused about the quality of the pictures at all. Neither was I happy about the cake decoration as it was done at a lightening speed.

Well, it was never supposed to be a day of gloom and with the help of my little bubbly daughter, I was able to shake it off soon as we got set to cut the cake. It was hilarious to see my husband’s expression as he dint have a clue that there was a surprise inside the cake too! Initially I dint tell him how I managed to get those polka dots inside the cake and it was definitely fun and entertaining listening to his supposedly intelligent guesses.

The next day I distributed the cake so some of our close friends. They loved it and their reviews definitely uplifted my spirits. Thank you y'all ;)

Rainbow cake decoration idea from here
Polka Dot cake idea from here
Recipe for lemon swiss meringue frosting mostly adapted from here
Recipe for cake partially adapted from here

Makes two 9 inch cakes plus 40 cake pops

Ingredients for cake and cake pops
2 1/4 cup (4 1/2 sticks) - Butter, softened
4 cups - Sugar
7 - Eggs, room temperature
4 1/2 cups - All-purpose flour
2 Teaspoon - Baking powder
1 Teaspoon - Baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon - Salt
1 1/2 Cup - Buttermilk, room temperature
3 Teaspoons - vanilla extract
Gel food colors (I used green, pink, yellow, purple)
Shortening or butter and Parchment paper to grease and prepare the pan
Cake pop machine or Cake pop pans
2- Round 9 inch cake pans

           for cake pops
  • Preheat cake pop machine OR Preheat the oven to 350F if you are using a cake pop pan.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding the next one.
  • Mix in buttermilk and vanilla extract
  • Add the dry ingredients 1 cup at a time until all the ingredients are mixed
  • Take 4 bowls and scoop 3/4 cup of batter into each bowl. Keep the remaining batter aside.
  • Add food color to each bowls and stir to incorporate it.
  • Transfer the colored batter from the 4 bowls into 4 separate zip lock bags
  • Cut off one corner of the zip lock bag and fill each well of the cake pop machine with about 1 tablespoon of the colored batter and cook 4 minutes or just until they are just baked. If you are using the cake pop pan the baking time will be very different.
  • Let it cool in the fridge
           for the cake with polka dots
  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with with shortening or butter and line it with parchment paper. I always do both.
  • Add the cake batter to the two 9 inch cake pans a little more than just enough to cover the bottom of the cake pans
  • Place the color cake pops on the batter. I actually ended up putting more cake pops in the batter than shown in the picture below. I used around 16 cake pops in each cake.
  • Cover the cake pops with the left over batter
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool slightly in cake pans for about 5 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

Ingredients for Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
10 large - Egg whites
2-1/2 cups - Sugar
2 1/2 cups - Unsalted butter, cut into cubes and cool, but not cold
2 teaspoon - Lemon extract
Pinch of salt

  • If you haven’t made this before, I advise that you watch this video as I found it helpful. I dint follow the recipe mentioned in the video though.
  • Add egg whites and sugar and whisk it over a pot of water (double boiling technique) but make sure the water is not boiling.
  • Whisk continuously until the mixture temperature reaches about 160°F. If you don't have a thermometer just make sure that the sugar has completely dissolved.
  • Using an electric or stand mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch. You might achieve this in about 10 minutes.
  • Now add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture. The mixture might curdle during the process but this is normal so keep mixing and it will come back to a smooth and silky consistency.
  • Add lemon extract and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.

    Cake assembly and decoration
    Cake board (about 9 inch round)
    Swiss Meringue Buttercream
    6 Gel food color
    6 zip lock bags
    6 teaspoon of the same kind
    Paper towel
    Turntable (optional)
    6 glasses/cups

    • Take the cooled cake and place it on a cake board that is a little less than 9 inches.
    • Place the first cake on this board.
    • Spoon the swiss meringue buttercream and spread it evenly on the first cake
    • Place the second cake on top bottom side up.
    • Now spread swiss meringue buttercream on all sides of the cake just enough to cover all the cake. This is called crumb coating.
    • Let the crumb coated cake rest in the fridge for 30 minutes
    • Divide the left over swiss meringue buttercream into 6 bowls and add food color and whisk well until the color is completely incorporated
    • Fill the zip lock bags with each individual color and cut off roughly a 1/4″ from the tip of each bag.
    • Take the crumb coated cake and place on a turntable.
    • Before you start decoration the cake please refer this link as it has pictures of each step.
    • Measure the height of your cake and using a toothpick divide the height of the cake into 6 equal portions.
    • Place each bag of buttercream into a glass and line them up in the order you wish to pipe. This simple tip will keep your workspace tidy as well as helping you keep track of the color order.
    • Pipe your first vertical line of dots onto the cake into the 6 marked portions as the guideline to help get even sized dots
    • Take a teaspoon and using the back gently swipe each dot evenly to the right or left. Use a spoon for each color and line them in the order you wish to pipe, just like the zip lock bags
    • Repeat this process around the circumference of the cake
    • Once you have covered the sides, chill the cake for 10 minutes before starting on the top.
    • Pipe a circle of dots around the outer top edge and swipe into the center.
    • Continue in this manner until finishing with a single dot of color right in the very center. Finish with a single dot.
    • Transfer the cake to the cake stand!!! 
    Mikaela's Birthday Cakes
    1st Birthday Cake - Pastel Flower Cake - Confetti Cake with Buttercream
    2nd Birthday Cake - Yo Gabba Gabba Cake - Orange cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting 
    3rd Birthday Cake - "Toadstool House" - Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Filling and Butter cream Frosting


    1. Aww beautiful cake shema ..!! Your daughter is really blessed and lucky to have a loving mom like u... Beautiful cake and post :)

    2. Adipoli shema.. its a beauty and a masterpiece in itself. Not to forgot the taste of the cake. Cake pop was a surprise package and so was lemon meringue. Hats off dear. I admire your dedication and how you put time and efforts to get things done perfect

    3. Gorgeous Cake Shema...you know, for appu's b'day I had almost planned the exact same polka dot surprise cake but making the cake pops were the issue as I dint have that pop maker n later went for the ombre n all...Loved the colorful cake n that poem in the end! You are a sweet mommy :-)

    4. Adipoli shema.. magnificient.. this is a masterpiece in itself. Not to forgot the taste, and pleasant cake pop surprise. I really appreciate the time and efforts that you put in to get these classics. Way to go buddy

    5. Thats is an amazing cake Shema. I can imagine the effort you have put in.The cake has turned out very beautiful & I am sure you daughter loved it. Happy belated bday to her.

    6. OMG the cake looks awesome.Love the idea of using pops for the pop up color inside.Really appreciate the way u have finished it with so much detail.

    7. Lovely Cake Shema....Hats off to you !!!! Mia must have truly enjoyed the cakes that you made her....Bless you and Mia...

    8. Brilliant Cake!! Happy B'day to your girl!

    9. Love the post Shema and especially the poetry at the end. The cake looks fabulous and I love the girly colors!

    10. You are soo talented Shema.. The cake looks soo pretty.. Great job dear.. Indeed, ur daughter is really lucky to have such a caring Mom.. Do visit my blog.. http://kitchenserenity.blogspot.in/

    11. Wow the cake looks awesome and that's some work there. You have done it perfectly and loved the idea of cake pops :-) Super!

    12. That is a stunningly pretty cake! Hope ur daughter has a wonderful birthday...

    13. I had wanted to make something like this for my son's birthday, but never got time.......And seeing your wonderful cake, I just can't stop wishing I had made it.....It is just sooo pretty!!!

    14. My sister sent me a picture of such a cake and I really wished i could make it someday for my kids.You've done a super job with the cake and the frosting.

    15. Shema, you know what morning first thing I woke up to your picture in facebook and hopped here to read the entire post and then I thought let me come back to comments later ;) and what a beautiful and cute cake... seriously love the idea of polka dots and the cake pops wowie.. and if u can do something so fantastic when u are in a hurry, I can only imagine how awesome you would do without any pressures... seriously I am sure your lil one enjoyed every bite, lucky lil girl. Btw your pictures are still gr8 and I can see lots of love in that cake that's what matters :-) Happy Birthday Mia


    16. Hey Shema.. This is so good. I cant take my eyes off the cake.. I was so wowed by the cake decoration - breathtaking!!! Happy Bday Mia sweetie!.. Suma

    17. Holy moly, what a cake. I can't imagine what my reaction would've been if my mom made an intricate cake like that for me as a child. Seriously, it is gorgeous and so beautifully done. I hope your daughter will remember it - and compare it to many more beautiful birthday cakes to come!

    18. That is such a beautiful writing/poem there Shema. Indeed your lovely little one is lucky. I am so glad you enjoyed making the cake and what stunning work. The colors are stunning and the work is beautiful. This cake would have been a hit with Mikeala.
      Gorgeous. I know how tedious it can be to decorate cakes, as I am not good at all....you are a ball of talent. xx

    19. What a GORGEOUS cake! You are such a wonderful mom - I bet your daughter LOVED it!
      Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com

    20. What touching words to Mikaela! The cake is absolutely gorgeous...I am so sharing it!

    21. Wow, what an amazing cake Shema! I can't imagine how much work and time it took, all for a great cause though;) Thanks for sharing.

    22. Cake is awsome,,,,, it reminds me of water colour box... ur daughter would have loved it

    23. Finally got the time to check out the post Shema!!! I saw this on the fb, but never got a chance to come back to the post. The top/aerial view of the cake looks like a Zenia flower. Awesome job decorating another birthday cake for Mia!!!

    24. Amazing!! Such a beautifully decorated cake!! Happy Birthday to your sweet little girl :)

    25. Dear Shema, the cake is outstanding! You are great artist! I am not so good with decorating cakes, but you are real master!
      Happy birthday to your sweet girl! The best wishes from our family!

    26. what a lovely cake - I've seen a lot of versions on pinterest but impressed that you actually made it. Its a lot of work as is obvious - how lucky your daughter got such a great cake for her birthday!

    27. A splendid cake! Your daughter is very lucky to have a mother like you.



    28. such a beautiful cake and note for your daughter :)

    29. brilliant desin and execution Shema. the colours, the components all are so perfectly made. Many many happy returns to your Daughter.

    30. This is such a beautiful cake, your daughter is a lucky girl! U r such a talented mom

    31. Happy Belated Birthday to your sweet daughter! Shema, you are simply amazing!!!!!!!!!! The cake looks beyond words can express. The detailed work you put simply took my breath away! She's really lucky to have a mommy like you!

    32. Gorgeous cake. Love the polka dots. Your daughter must have been thrilled for the cake. Best wishes.

    33. How come I forgot to comment on this post...such a beautiful a cake Shema, love the colours and the surprise inside...3 cheers for ur amazing work !!

    34. What a beautiful and clever birthday cake for a beautiful and clever little girl. I loved the surprise inside!

    35. I cannot imagine…this is beyond fabulous. It’s one of the most beautiful cakes I have ever seen.

    36. Thanks Shema to share this wonderful cake. Beautiful decoration and professional work. Next time i'm invited!!!!


    First of all thanks a lot for stopping by my space. I would be very happy to hear from you and would love to see your comments and feedback :)
    Thanks a bunch,


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