It’s a long weekend here in Canada, so Toronto has emptied out. It seems everyone in our neighborhood has embarked on a kayak adventure or returned to a cottage. And we, lacking both, have done neither. Instead, we’re getting reacquainted with the lawn chairs that live in our backyard. And no, I’m not bitter about it because we’ve turned it into a full-on party complete with cake. This Rainbow Sherbet Funfetti Cake to be exact. And this cake is nothing if it’s not a party. This cake is so cheerful it makes me completely forget about my lack of kayak. Throw in a cooler full of beer, a good book, and something cooking low and slow on the BBQ, and my backyard is basically cottage country. Oh, and my neighbors are all gone, so its blissfully, if not eerily, quiet. Staycationing has never looked so good.
Now, before I go any further, I think I should warn you. This Rainbow Sherbet Funfetti Cake takes some time. Think of it not as a long arduous process, but more of a joy layaway program. Every day you do a little something that in the long run will result in one of the happiest cakes this world has ever seen…or at least that’s what I think, nothing has been scientifically proven.
None of the steps and techniques required to make this cake are particularly difficult unless you’re me and icing a cake always makes you tense. This recipe’s lengthy runtime comes from lots and lots of chilling interludes. Everything has to be cold, from the currants on top of the cake to the funfetti cake itself. If everything isn’t cold, this cake will start melting before it even hits the table. So a little bit of forethought is required.
If you’re making this Rainbow Sherbet Funfetti Cake for a particular event, I would start the process three days prior. You won’t have to work on the cake for three days straight, so don’t freak out. You do have to give your freezer the time to do the work you can’t. Think of this cake as a freezer chia pet, you just have to check in every now and then and take care of it. With the disclaimers out of the way, let’s talk about the Rainbow Sherbet Funfetti Cake’s considerable attributes.
I don’t know about you but I grew up on Rainbow Sherbet. My grandmother always had a tub of it in her freezer and I was always happy to indulge. I will admit it was never my first choice. Like most kids, I was drawn to more chocolatey affairs like Heavenly Hash or Cookies and Cream. But if rainbow sherbet was the only thing lurking in the freezer, you best believe I was begging for a second bowl.
As I’ve gotten older, my feelings about Rainbow Sherbet have shifted from “in a pinch” to “why is this flavor so hard to find?”. I’m sure it’s nostalgia, but these days I just can’t stop thinking about the rainbow sherbet of my youth. It’s terribly inconvenient because these days rainbow sherbet is hard to come by. I remember finding tubs of the stuff in every grocery store. These days, you’re lucky to find a sherbet of any kind. The world we currently live in is dominated by ice cream, gelato, and sorbet. And no, sorbet and sherbet are not the same.
Sorbet is made with no eggs and no dairy. It’s usually a cocktail of fresh or frozen fruit, a sweetener of some kind, and a least a hint of citrus juice. Sherbet on the other hand is made with dairy but no eggs. Back in the day, when we were all far more afraid of fat than we were of sugar, sherbet was the sensible choice for those watching their figure. Fast forward to today, we now know that sugar content is far more detrimental to your health than the natural fat found in a few eggs, but I digress. The long and short of it is sherbet has a flavor and texture that is different than ice cream and sorbet. But enough about that, let’s talk about the dang cake.
This Rainbow Sherbet Funfetti Cake has double the rainbow and, well, a lot of pink. The cake starts with a layer of classic funfetti cake – a personal favorite of mine. My mom, who is a perfectly capable baker, was forced throughout my youth to make a boxed cake mix called Rainbow Bit. It was esssentially a funfetti cake, I just didn’t know you could make the damn thing from scratch. Dumb kid.
On top of the cake is a crown of Rainbow Sherbet. For those of you who don’t know, Rainbow Sherbet is comprised of three flavors: raspberry, lime, and orange. Baskin Robbins has a version that is pineapple, raspberry, and orange but I consider that to be an outlier.
To finish things off, the cake is enrobed in a whipped cream frosting dyed a violent shade of salmon pink and decorated with fresh red currants. If currants are not available, maraschino cherries would give you the same visual effect, although the flavor would be wildly different. I did appreciate the pops of tartness the currants brought to the cake but I don’t think it excluding them would hurt the overall cake.
So that’s everything you need to know about this Rainbow Sherbet Funfetti Cake. She’s a journey but she’s a joy to behold and eat. And not to toot my own horn, but this cake is the ultimate celebration cake.
Rainbow Sherbet Funfetti Cake
- Ice Cream Maker
- 1 6" cake pan with 3" sides**
- ¼ cup unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp neutral oil I used canola
- 1 large egg room temperature
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ + ⅛ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp baking soda
- ¼ cup milk I used 2%
- 2 tbsp Greek yogurt heaping
- 3 tbsp rainbow sprinkles
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups milk I used 2%
- 1 ½ granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¾ cup orange juice
- ½ cup lime juice
- 320g (1 pint) fresh raspberries
- green and orange color gel if desired
Whipped Cream Frosting
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup powered sugar sifted
- ½ tsp vanilla
- pink color gel
- 1 cup red currants fridge cold
For the Funfetti Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease "6 cake pan and line the base with parchment paper – set a side.
- Place the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Cream the butter into the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the oil and the egg and mix until a uniform mixture forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Remove the whisk attachment and replace it with the paddle.
- In a medium-sized bowl sift and whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together and set aside. In another bowl, whisk to combine the milk and the Greek yogurt. Add a ⅓ of the flour mixture to the mixing bowl and mix until fully integrated. Add ½ of the milk/yogurt mixture and, once again, mix until fully integrated. Repeat these steps with the remaining flour and milk mixture.
- Once the batter comes together, remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the sprinkles. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake the cake for 40 minutes or until golden and set in the middle.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack and leaving it to cool completely. Once cool, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge to chill.
- Once the cake is out of the pan, wash and dry the pan and transfer it to the freezer to get it nice and cold.
For the Rainbow Sherbet
- Pour the milk and cream into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and salt and place over medium-low heat. Heat until the sugar dissolves completely, stirring frequently. Don't let the mixture come to a boil. Transfer the base to a container and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
- Once the base is in the fridge, blitz the raspberries in a food processor and strain them through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard the pulp and seeds and transfer the remaining puree to the fridge. Leave the raspberry puree to chill for a few hours. Strain the orange and lime juices into separate bowls and whisk in gel color, if desired. Transfer the two to the fridge and let chill alongside the base and raspberry puree.
- Once the base is chilled, pour it into an ice cream maker and churn for 30 minutes or until it resembles soft serve. Divide the base into three resealable containers. Fold the lime juice into one, the orange juice into another, and the raspberry into the final container. Cover the sherbets and place in the freezer to chill for at least an hour, 2 is better.
- Once the sherbets have chilled, take the sherbets and the cake pan out of the freezer. Line the base of the pan with parchment paper and add one scoop of each sherbet to the pan and top with three more scoops, taking care not to place the same flavor on top of each other. Fill the cake pan with sherbet, leaving an inch and a half of headroom at the top. Using a butter knife, swirl the flavors together but don't get too carried away. You just want to swirl them not fully integrate them. Cover the cake pan and transfer it to the freezer. Let chill for 2 hours.
- Once the 2 hours have passed, place the funfetti cake on top of the sherbet and lightly press. Cover once again and let chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Wipe the sides of the cake pan with a warm cloth to free the sherbet from the pan. Once released, peel off the parchment and return to the cake to the freezer for 1 hour.
- While the cake is chilling, pour the heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla, and color gel into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk until stiff peaks form.
- Once the hour has passed, transfer the cake to a cake decorating turntable and frost the cake with a thin layer of the whipped cream – a crumb coat. Return the cake to the freezer and freeze for 1 hour. Once the hour has passed, frost the cake with another layer of the whipped cream frosting. Return the cake to the freezer for at least an hour or until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, decorate the cake with the red currants and serve immediately.