“Tie-dye” is a process of dyeing fabric so that unique patterns are formed usually in bright colors. Sam was the one who brought the idea into our house. She tie-dyed some shirts and I even managed to photograph her at work. The idea of using the tie-dyeing technique on food is nothing new. If you Google “tie-dye cupcakes”, you’ll find links upon links to recipes with fantastic colors and patterns.
What makes my tie-dye cake unique from the rest is that mine isn’t a baked caked. This is steamed Pinoy puto made colorific. Strictly speaking, this is not a recipe post. This is a cooking tip on how to turn the humble puto into eye-candy that’s perfect for an afternoon party. This is about puto so colorful and pretty that it’s bound to get talked about endlessly.
Just look at that! You can make one rainbow-colored cake or you can use individual single-serve molds to make several cupcake-sized rainbow puto.
First, you have to prepare the puto batter (get the recipe). While making the batter, you can start boiling water in the steamer. The water has to be boiling already when you put the pan (or molds) into the steamer basket to make a perfectly-risen cake.
When you have your puto batter ready, divide it among five bowls. Add two drops of food color to the batter in four bowls (I used red, green, blue and a combination of red and blue). Leave the batter in the fifth bowl as it is.
Now, you’ll need five large spoons. If you have five ice cream scoops, use them (I only have three so I had to make do with spoons). Why five? So that the colors won’t get messed up. Drop the batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into the cake pan (use teaspoons if cooking in cupcake-size molds), one color after another. Just drop randomly.
Steam the cake for 30 minutes (20 minutes for small puto).
Cool the steamed cake in the pan for about 15 minutes before turning out onto a plate. The steamed cake is too moist and soggy while hot, it gets firmer and easier to handle as it cools, so, patience is a real virtue here.
Cut the cake into wedges and serve. It’s perfect the way it is. But, if you have to have cheese with your puto, you might want to cool it thoroughly and cover it with cream cheese frosting. We were supposed to do that but Sam (the frosting genius in the family — see the proof) wasn’t in a good mood so, never mind the frosting.
For more colorful (and kid-pleasing) cakes and cupcakes, see: