Eat the Rainbow
This “cake” is entirely made up of meringue discs and whipped cream – with a nice dose of food color thrown in for a rainbow effect. In order to re-create the vividness of the hues, I agree with the authors and recommend traditional food color gels and not natural colorings, which are more muted. Make a classic rainbow, or go wild! An ombré cake going light to dark of one color can look striking as well. Make sure to check out the Salted Caramel, Poached Pear, and Chocolate Drizzle Meringue Slab that is also from the book, Meringue Girls.
Excerpted with permission from Meringue Girls: Incredible Sweets Everybody Can Makeby Alex Hoffler and Stacey O’Gorman, published by Chronicle Books, 2013. Photographs by David Loftus.
The mother of all rainbow cakes, this epic, bright layered meringue dessert takes a bit of work but is worth it.
- 2 separate single batches Meringue Girls Mixture
- Pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple gel food coloring
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Position three racks in the oven—in the bottom, middle, and upper parts—and preheat the oven to 200°F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper and draw a 10-inch circle on each parchment sheet, using a plate or cake pan as a guide. Flip the parchment over so the outline is on the underside, but still visible, and glue down the cor¬ners of the parchment with dabs of meringue.
- Divide your first batch of meringue mixture evenly among three clean bowls. Gently fold in a few drops of pink food color-ing into the meringue in one bowl, followed by a few drops of red food coloring to make a bright red mixture. Fold a few drops of orange coloring into the meringue in another bowl and a few drops of yellow coloring into the last one.
- Using the traced circles as guides, spread each of the colored meringue mixtures into a flat 10-inch disk of even thick¬ness on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 1 hour, or until the disks are easily lifted off the parchment paper. Let cool completely on the baking sheets.
- Remove the first meringue disks from the baking sheets. Re-line the sheets with parchment paper, once again drawing circles and gluing down the parchment corners. Divide your second batch of meringue mixture evenly among three clean bowls and color one bowlful with a few drops of green color-ing, one with blue, and one with pur¬ple. Form the colored meringues into disks, bake, and let cool as you did the first batch. (The baked and cooled disks can be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry spot for up to 1 week.)
- When you’re ready to serve, use a stand mixer to whip the cream just until it holds firm peaks. Set the purple disk on a cake stand and spread about ¾ cup of whipped cream over the surface, all the way to the edge. Continue to build your cake, layering the blue, green, yellow, orange, and red meringue disks—in that order—and the whipped cream. Serve right away.
- NOTES: We suggest making the meringue mixture in two batches, one at a time, and forming only six meringue layers (instead of seven, as shown in the photo) because home ovens can’t fit more than three baking sheets at a time. Use the first batch of meringue to make the red, orange, and yellow disks, and the second batch to make the green, blue, and purple ones.
- This is one of the few times we advocate using non-natural food dyes (Wilton gels work really well), in order to achieve vibrant colors that really pop. The trick to a bright red disk is to fold some pink dye through the meringue in order to get a nice base color, then fold in some red dye to enrich the hue.
- If you like, you can flavor the meringue with vanilla. Slit open two vanilla bean pods, scrape out the seeds, and fold a portion of the seeds into each bowlful of meringue after folding in the food coloring