What better way to start the week after Soup Week than with cake?
Sure, I'm a lover of desserts, but there's one thing I'm not: a vanilla girl. Vanilla is great for what it is - the perfect enhancement for other flavors, like lemon or chocolate - but most recipes that feature vanilla alone come up just a little short for me. And you'll NEVER hear me order vanilla ice cream at an ice cream shop. I don't care what anyone says about vanilla being the test of an ice cream maker's skill; if the chocolate menu options are lame, I won't be coming back.
There is one form of vanilla that I not-so-secretly covet, though, and that's Rainbow Chip cake and frosting. Call it what you want - trashy, artificial, sacreligious, whatever - but something magical gets me excited about those Technicolor sprinkles (maybe it's the chemical effects of red 40 dye...but that's neither here nor there). I'm not proud of my relationship with the powdery mix, but I'm not one to deny myself of something that I love. A frankencupcake every once in a while never hurt anyone.
But now, thanks to Ashley, author of Not Without Salt, I'm psyched to say that there's a new way to enjoy Rainbow Chip cake guilt-free - a way that Michael Pollan would approve of: to make it yourself. Ashley came up with a DIY recipe that looks more delicious than anything from a box could ever be, and, better yet, there's still food coloring involved (because Rainbow Chip cake isn't the same without that food coloring buzz). Best yet, the ingredient list for her recipe is short, legible, and has been amended to include chocolate in some form (white, but good-quality white chocolate and vanilla together are nothing short of dreamy). I'd happily trade a slab of chocolate cake for this vanilla beauty; it's whimsical, thoughtful, and intensely flavored in the best way.
Turns out that when used creatively, vanilla isn't so boring after all.