†The Adventures of Baking the NIN†Rainbow Cake

Above: nails I made out of fondant and painted with edible silver paint. 2nd photo: completed cake
I obviously didn't invent the rainbow cake, who knows how long it has been around. Probably since the 70's. There has to be some pharmaceutical explanation for those colors. It is not only the cake for the 5 year old going on 6 for her birthday party, stoner, or gay pride proclamation, but hell just because it looks fun and because there is enough food dye in that cake to turn you into a raving, hyper lunatic. We only live once right?

 I usually make theme cakes for my family on their birthday. For my younger sister one year, it was a personal painted artwork of her with her guitar airbrushed onto a cake in 50s pop colors. Each year gets more ridiculous than the last. My mother however, doesn't really get into any of this. As long as I make her a big German chocolate cake, she is content.
My boyfriend's 23rd birthday was coming up soon and I was trolling the internet trying to come up with some ideas for a birthday cake interior for the NIN cake I wanted to make. He likes several bands with Tool being his favorite, but I thought that was most obvious and I didn't really want to do something so obvious. I came across Omnomicon's (please review this site if you would like the recipe for the diet cake) website for a diet rainbow cake, although I had no interest in the diet part, I was interested in the rainbow cake part. After reviewing her recipe I was inspired to make his birthday cake a: 'marshmallow-fondant, chocolate ganache, rainbow cake.' Despite the look of it the cake does not taste like sherbert, it is only the food coloring that gives off that vibe.

The first thing I did was find an image on google of the NIN's logo that I liked and printed it out:

Logo and I liked the images of the nails, I thought I could use that as well.

 From my local bakery shop:

NIN Exterior
Marshmallow Fondant
Mini marshmallows 16 ounces (doesn't have to be mini if you have something else on hand but it melts better and quicker that way)
1/4 cup butter
4 tbsp water
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 pounds powdered sugar, divided evenly
1 16 ounce tub of vanilla frosting (this will be applied as a thin layer and acts as a 'glue' for the fondant on the cake)
3 cans black color mist spray ($3 at your local store)
Food paint in the color of your choice (if you would like to paint the logo)
(2) 18.25 ounce boxes of white or yellow cake mix (I used yellow and usually 1 box is enough but I wanted a tall square cake)
2 ounces Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding mix
Follow the instructions on the box for eggs, oil and water
Food coloring pack with red, yellow, blue, and green (if you would like to mix other colors you can find out how here)
Chocolate Ganache (heaven!)♡♡♡
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, the higher the quality the better
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp dark rum (1 cup for you)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

✄ I chose to use marshmallow fondant because regular fondant is just there for decoration and generally just gets pushed off because it doesn't have any flavor, which I didn't want to happen. I wanted a cake that would get eaten in its entirety, and marshmallow fondant is soft and is sweet.
✄ You can buy black fondant if that is easier for you, but black fondant can be expensive.

✄ You can choose to tint the fondant instead of airbrushing.
✄ The fondant will need to be made ahead of time, so allow yourself at least overnight before trying to attempt this. Don't be like me, writing a last minute term paper and making this cake all in one night!

Other Supplies
Small paintbrush
Paper doily or cake board
Cake Box
Candles (preferably the kind that doesn't blow out)

The Process

Marshmallow Fondant
Makes 2 1/4 pounds fondant
  • Melt marshmallows in a big microwave safe bowl for 1 minute on high (it helps with the stickiness if you grease the bowl using butter or Crisco). Stir water and vanilla extract into the marshmallows until smooth. Slowly fold in the powdered sugar one cup at a time until sticky. *Save 1 cup of powdered sugar for the kneading process.*
  • Use the butter to grease up your hands and begin to knead the fondant. It should be sticky and stiff, which the butter should help with the stickiness and as you knead more, the fondant will become more pliable. Continue to knead onto a surface dusted with powdered sugar until the fondant is smooth and no longer sticky, you may need to grease your hands from time to time so this process may take 5-10 minutes. 
  • Roll the fondant into a ball and double wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, allowing to come to room temperature before you use it.

Rainbow Cake
Makes 2 thick sized 9' rounds or 2 (2) qt size square pans
Preheat your oven 350°
  • Now here's the easy part for me: follow the instructions on the box to prepare the cake mix and pans, only make sure you add the pudding mix to it as it will add more moisture and flavor to the cake.

  •  Divide the cake mix into (6) separate bowls evenly. Start by adding only a few drops of food coloring to each mix, this will depend largely on how vibrant you want the color to be. Just keep adding color until you get the mix to where you want it. You can always follow the links if you want to create different colors. Repeat with the rest of the colors and batter.

    • Start by dropping the cake batter colors in the middle of the pan one by one, I pretty much followed the rainbow order: red and yellow in the first pan, then purple, blue, and green in the other pan. Then just keep layering the colors until you are finished.

      • Follow the instructions on the box for timing.

      Chocolate Ganache
      Makes 2 cups
      • Place chocolate and rum into a medium sized bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat, bringing to a gentle boil. **After only allowing to just come to a boil, pour the cream over the chocolate and rum mixture and whisk until melted and smooth. 
      • Allow to cool before pouring and start at the center of the cake. For a fluffier texture, whip with a whisk until fluffy when cooled.

      The Assembly

      ✔Remember to set your fondant out ahead of time to let it rest at room temperature before you start working with it!
      • After my cakes had cooled, I assembled the first cake onto my cake board and then applied the chocolate ganache very thickly. You will probably have some leftovers as I don't recall using it all; poor you, save it for some chocolate dipped strawberries. Then apply the next cake layer and finish that off with a thin layer of that pre-made tub of vanilla frosting, of which you will not need the entire contents of either.

      • You may need to knead your fondant a bit before working with it, then roll out onto a surface dusted with powdered sugar or cornstarch. Roll until no thinner than 1/8 inch in a square shape or round if you are making a round cake. Measure your cake and roll accordingly allowing for a few inches excess to work with should you need it. Transfer onto the cake with the rolling pin and smooth, trimming excess with a pizza cutter.
      • Use black color mist spray to airbrush the fondant black, allowing to dry between coats.
      • You will have plenty of leftover fondant to make the logo and nails and whatever else you might want to add to your cake. Roll out some fondant 1/4 inch thick and use the logo printed out from earlier to guide you to cut out the background plaque piece, the four side borders, and of course the NIN logo. I also made 9 nails out of the fondant which I then painted with the food paint, along with the background and border, leaving the logo white. The cake looked kind of naked so I made fondant pearl balls to border the cake. Yes, I said pearl balls. Nasty.

      ✄ Side note: you can always make the fondant a few weeks ahead of time as long as you wrap it very tightly with plastic wrap. Also, it saves you a lot of headaches if you make the logo design ahead of time and just unwrap when ready.
      ✄ I went about this the lazy way the first time since it was finals week so I would suggest tinting the fondant rather than using the spray because it did not give me a true black color and it was messy.

      ✄ I used a silver, food-grade edible glaze recommended for fondant on the logo and nail designs. Use two or more coats allowing for 30 minutes drying time in between.

      That's it! Stick the candles and nails on the cake and surprise your loved one with this cake!
      Don't forget to aggravate them with the candles that don't blow out!

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