Two weeks ago, I brought my cats to see the vet because two of them, Pepper and Brie, were not well. While I was waiting at the clinic, the lady sitting behind the reception counter suddenly turned to me and asked, ‘Are you the one in the agar agar video?’ My eyes grew large in surprise and I stifled a chuckle as I replied, ‘You mean the rainbow agar agar one? Ermmm, yes.’ It was an embarrassing yet hilarious moment for me, as I found myself being identified as an “agar agar girl”. Yet, it was strangely heartwarming to know that when I formulate recipes, make videos, and write posts like this one, there are people out there who actually read and watch them! So thank you, whoever you are reading this right now. I may not know you but I hope I’ve made a difference in your kitchen. 🙂 Feel free to connect with me on Facebook, Instagram or simply by leaving a comment on any of my posts here. I look forward to hearing from you!
Now on to the stuff of rainbows. If Kermit the Frog was a dessert lover like myself, he’d probably be singing ‘Why are there so many cakes that are rainbows?’ It’s no doubt that rainbow cakes have taken over bakeries and cafes by storm in the past couple of years. The thrill of a rainbow cake is cutting into one and revealing its multi-layered, multi-coloured interior. The concept is simple: divide a cake batter into six equal portions, colour them according to the colours of the rainbow (minus one), bake them and frost the cake. The process is as tedious as it sounds. Yet the moment you pull out the first slice and discover your layers lined up perfectly into a rainbow is quite a special one.
So why limit this rainbow connection to cakes? Why not replicate the technique on something that is familiar to many of us Singaporeans? The answer to that question: Rainbow Agar Agar. For the uninitiated, agar is a gelling agent that is derived from red algae. In contrast to gelatine which is derived from the collagen in pigs or cows, agar is vegan and suitable for vegetarians. Also, while gelatine desserts need to be chilled to set, desserts made with agar can set at room temperature. Agar is commonly used in many Asian cuisines and desserts, and is one of the first desserts I grew up eating. My version of rainbow agar agar is simply a fancy upgrade of the familiar favourite, plus it’s gluten-free and dairy-free. Enjoy a guilt-free cup of rainbow today!
Agar Agar Rainbow Cake
White Coconut Layer:
10g agar agar powder
200g coconut milk
2 pandan leaves
1. Place water, sugar, pandan leaves and agar agar powder in a pot and heat until it boils. Turn the heat off and stir in coconut milk. Remove pandan leaves.
2. Set aside while you prepare the next batch of agar agar mixture
Rainbow Coloured Layers:
10g agar agar powder
1 litre water
2 pandan leaves
Food colouring – violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, red
1. Place water, sugar, pandan leaves and agar agar powder in a pot and heat until it boils. Turn the heat off, remove pandan leaves and set aside to cool slightly (but not set)
2. Divide mixture evenly into 6 bowls. Colour each bowl with one of the food colours so that each represents one of the colours in the rainbow.
3. Using a 1 tbsp measuring spoon, ladle in the violet coloured mixture into cups to form the bottom layer. Let it set by chilling it in the refrigerator so it sets quicker.
4. Add in 1 tbsp of the white coconut layer and let it set.
5. Continue steps 3 and 4, alternating between the coloured layers (according to the colours of the rainbow) and the coconut layers.
6. Chill, serve and enjoy!