My mother has gotten my son addicted to cookies. Two kinds outrank all others for the both of them – chocolate chip and these babies, Italian rainbow cookies (a.k.a. tri-color cookies). Made with almond and lots of love, these cookies intimidate home chefs. They seem overly complicated and until my son’s fifth birthday (with its robot theme, so you now understand the one photo above), I never had the guts to try and make them. But he loves them, and I wanted a showstopper. Immediately, I thought I could figure out how to do it and make that the head of his robot cake. Since then, I’ve made the cookie cake three times. It tasted better each time.
I don’t have an original recipe for this. I used the Food Network recipe for the regular old cookies. There are many, many recipes for both the Italian rainbow cookies and rainbow cookie cakes. The cakes seem to be done slightly differently. But I stuck with the cookies because that’s what my mom and son like. Still, I did things a little differently than the Food Network suggests and learned a few lessons, especially the first time around. Use that recipe as a base if you’d like it to look like my cake and then do the following:
- Use three round pans. The recipe suggests using three jelly roll pans. But I wanted a round head for the robot. I also think the small, round pans create a shape that is easier to work with for novice cake makers like me. That’s why I made it this way the two times when I wasn’t making a robot, too.
- Sift the flour. The first time around I did NOT sift the flour and it was my downfall. The cookie came out fine, but it was too heavy. Sifting made a huge difference.
- Use measuring cups to evenly divide the batter. Obviously, you want each layer of the cookie to be about the same size. So, I would put exactly a 1/2 cup of batter into each of the three bowls until there was none left. Then, I followed the directions for dying two of the batters.
- Use a large spatula to move the layers. You don’t want layers to break or come apart, so carefully move them according to the directions. I found a large, wide spatula worked best.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave. I melted the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl 30 seconds at a time on high. I didn’t bother with the water in a pan with a heat-proof bowl over it. I also did NOT use semi-sweet chocolate chips. I used milk chocolate. I made them the first time with semi-sweets, and the whole family found it too bitter. This is completely subjective, and you should do whatever you prefer.
- Decorate, decorate, decorate. I used the fork to make the waves you see above (as suggested in the recipe). But I have seen so many gorgeous ways to decorate this cake on Pinterest. Some people used white icing to pipe on snowflakes. I think a spider web would be super cool for Halloween. Sky’s the limit here.
- Cut it like cookies. Of course, you can cut the cake in triangles as usual. But I had to feed a crowd and this is a rich cake. I couldn’t eat a whole piece of cake, but I could eat the cookie. So, I cut horizontally and vertically to create little squares. Don’t worry, your guests will come back for seconds, and they’ll feel less guilty about it because of the smaller sizes.