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Rainbow Cake Mason Jar Leprechaun Trap

With plenty of nieces and nephews and cousins, I’m always on the lookout for fun treats to make and bring to holiday get-togethers or to send when we can’t celebrate together. Inspired by Martha Stewart's Rainbow Cake recipe and Megan Reardon's cake leprechaun trap, I decided to make an edible leprechaun trap to share with my little cousins. Baking the rainbow cake into small rounds and layering them in a tall mason jar makes this recipe easy to transport and the perfect trap for a leprechaun. 

Put yourself into the tiny shoes of a leprechaun: You’re minding your own business, looking for gold in a family’s home when you see a huge, vibrant cake behind glass on the kitchen table. You’ve seen and followed rainbows to get to your pot of gold, but never have you been tempted by a mouthwatering edible rainbow like this. You would do anything to get a taste. Luckily, there’s a chocolate-covered pretzel ladder to help you reach the top.

You smell the sweet, lemony buttercream and vanilla cake and hop right in. No one (not even a cunning leprechaun like yourself) can take just one bite, so you eat your way through a few layers before realizing that you’ve sunk a few inches too deep into the glass tube to escape. The fluffy cake makes for a great bed until your captors wake on St. Patrick’s Day morning, and you can negotiate your release in exchange for a few gold coins. 

Rainbow Cake Leprechaun Trap


For the Cake:

  1. Make the Rainbow Cake batter according to the instructions.

  2. Pour batter into buttered and parchment-paper-lined 3-inch-diameter round cake pans. (I use a pan that looks like a muffin pan, but with larger, straight-sided cavities.)* 

  3. Bake until the center is set; you don’t want the cakes to brown, so check on them often.

  4. After the cakes have cooled, remove from pan and trim the tops to make flat layers of equal height. Each of my layers was approximately 1 inch high.

*Alternately, you can bake in any small cake pan you have and use 3-inch cookie cutters to get the right size cakes. Be sure to use the same size cake pan for each color so that each layer is approximately the same height.

Assembling the Ladder:

The rods will make up the sides of the ladder, while the smaller sticks will be the rungs.

  1. For the sides, cover each pretzel rod individually in chocolate, wipe of excess and place parallel to each other, about 1 1/2 inches apart, on a parchment-paper-lined tray to dry. 
  2. For the rungs: Trim each pretzel stick with a serrated knife to the right width so that they don’t hang over the sides of the ladder. Cover each pretzel stick in chocolate, wipe off excess, and gently lay across the long chocolate-covered pretzel rods to make the rungs. Repeat with the rest of the rungs, spacing evenly about every 1 inch.
  3. Let ladder dry completely before removing from parchment paper.

*Another idea I had for creating a staircase was to cut shortbread into bricks and stack into stairs.

Assembling the Trap:

  1. Make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream according to the instructions.

  2. Clean and dry the jar.

  3. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip with the buttercream. 

  4. Beginning with the violet layer, slide the cake round into the bottom of the mason jar.
  5. Pipe a layer of frosting on top of the violet cake round. Gently slide the blue cake round on top of the frosting and push slightly until the frosting touches all around the jar, filling the space between cake layers.

  6. Keep layering frosting and cake layers in this order: violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. The cake should reach about 1 inch shy of the top of the jar.
  7. Pipe a final layer of frosting on top of the red layer. For an added touch, top with gold sanding sugar. 

Note: Contributor recipes are not tested by the Martha Stewart Living test kitchen.

One batch of the rainbow cake batter and swiss meringue buttercream yielded enough for two leprechaun traps, plus two small iced heart-shaped rainbow cakes (I used the same silicone heart-shaped baking mold I used to create these Valentine’s hearts).

See More Leprechaun Traps

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