Last year, I punked out on Miss J’s birthday cake (I usually make it every year) because I had a newborn in the house – Mr. B was born just a month before Miss J was to turn 3. So this year, I wanted to make up for it. She asked for a “Rainbow Dash”-themed 4th Birthday and since her birthday parties are usually spent running around in the backyard with friends, the “theme” part of her party is usually found in the cake. So this year, I decided to “go big” and make her a My Little Pony – Rainbow Dash birthday cake!
Needless to say, the cake was a success and I’ve had comments asking me about how I assembled it, etc. and so, here it is! From my original ideas to finish!
When it comes to my cakes, I always start with concept art. I doodle and sketch on and off for several days to come up with ideas for colours and layout. It might sound like a lot to do, but it helps me get my head wrapped around the task and also allows me to modify more easily when things don’t quite go according to my original plan.
Here is just one of the concept drawings I sketched while preparing for this cake:
I knew I wanted the cakes to be “rainbow” on the inside and I’ve seen a ton of variations on this theme – from the rainbow layer cakes to confetti cakes to checkered or swirly rainbow cakes. I wanted the “inside” to be simple since the outside was going to take me so much time, so I made an awesome vanilla cake recipe – see below – and doubled it since I would need more to allow for so many “sky and cloud bumps” and set to work.
The biggest bump ended up being basic vanilla with rainbow sprinkles mixed in (my own version of “confetti” cake using Cake Mate Rainbow Sprinkles) and the smaller two sky bumps and three largest cloud bumps were blobs of rainbow coloured batter (I only put colours that looked good beside each other to avoid any potential blending or muddying of colours). I used Wilton Gel Icing Colors for bright, vibrant colours.
1 box French Vanilla Cake Mix
1 box Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix (the kind that serves 4)
3/4C vegetable oil
1/2C warm water
1C sour cream
Blend together (I use my stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix it on med-high for 2-3mins until everything is combined, then if you’re adding rainbow sprinkles for “confetti”, fold those in last) For a basic 9×13 pan, bake at 350F for 45min or so until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before decorating. (I used glass bowls, and adjusted the cooking time accordingly).
To achieve the rainbow colours, I separated into several bowls and dyed them each their respective colours and then transfer scoopfuls back into the glass bowls for baking. I used Pyrex 2.5 Quart Rimmed Mixing Bowls for the larger bumps and my Pampered Chef 1C Prep Bowls for the smaller ones.
Once they were baked and completely cooled, I chopped the tops off the smaller bumps and used them to prop up the larger ones against eachother. I very roughtly positioned them the way I had envisioned and then did a very lose crumb coat of Wilton’s Buttercream Icing recipe in Sky Blue.
Next I had to prepare the fondant. Now fondant can be fun or a nightmare. I’ve done the boxed stuff. It’s easy, but tastes like chalk. I’ve done my own “from scratch” recipe which tastes great, but takes FOREVER to make. Then, after many MANY hours of searching and googling and reading reviews, I found this recipe which is both EASY to make and EASY to work with and, best of all, it tastes GREAT!
1 bag of Icing Sugar
1 bag of Mini Marshmallows
1. Sift icing sugar onto a clean, smooth surface, make a well in the middle.
2. Put marshmallows in microwave-safe bowl, add 2tbsp of water (in drier times of year or climate, you may have to add a bit more). Heat in microwave 3-4 minutes until they start to melt together.
3. Fold marshmallows until they are completely smooth.
4. Pour marshmallows into the well in your icing sugar.
5. Let the heap of marshmallow cool slightly before continuing.
6. Coat your hands well with Crisco – between fingers, right up to your wrists!
7. Fold icing sugar on top of marshmallow, continue to fold until it begins to mix together.
8, Scrape the counter with a spatula or pastry scraper and continue to incorporate the icing sugar and marshmallow.
9. Slather Crisco under the fondant ball to keep it from sticking.
10. Knead, knead, knead! It will eventually get smooth.
This can be made ahead of time – cover in Crisco and seal tightly in a zip-loc bag. Store in the air-tight bag on the counter for a few days or in the fridge for several weeks.
To colour, add several dots of your desired colour and fold, twist and knead it in until uniform. If the fondant becomes too stiff to work with, microwave it for a few seconds at a time until it’s easier to handle.
For awesome step-by-step instructions and pictures about how to make and dye your marshmallow fondant, please visit Make it and Love it‘s awesome Fondant Tutorial!
I needed Sky Blue & White for Miss J’s cake:
Rolling fondant can be a bit of a headache – having the appropriate Wilton Fondant 20 Inch Rolling Pin is extremely helpful. You can add the Wilton Fondant 20-Inch Rolling Pin Guide Rings to measure your thickness as well. I use my Wilton Pastry Mat weighted down at the corners and when I roll, I push down HARD (the measuring rings prevent me from going all the way through) so I don’t have to worry about sliding the mat around while I roll. Fondant is extremely forgiving if it pulls, dents or cracks as you roll – just rework the area and continue to roll and smooth as you go. Treat the fondant as you would a pie crust – roll it back onto your roller and then unroll it onto your cake surface – if you scuff it, just smooth it out with your finger covered in Crisco. For flat surfaces, you can use a Wilton Easy Glide Fondant Smoother.
So the “blue” part was the sky … then I needed some clouds … the 3 Pampered Chef Bowl Bumps were the “big” clouds and needed white fondant, I also followed this Fondant Cloud Tutorial from My Sweet & Saucy to bulk the main cloud part of the cake up a bit.
I piped some of the blue buttercream (the same stuff used for the crumb coat) along the centre sky-bump and added a rainbow of jellybeans. After all, what’s a My Little Pony “Rainbow Dash” cake without a rainbow on it?!
To finish things off, I piped white Wilton Buttercream dots around the base of the cake and around the larger cloud collection. I added 4 Round White Birthday Candles and, of course, Princess Celestia, Princess Luna and … Rainbow Dash! I dyed the last bit of white buttercream pink (Miss J’s favourite colour!) and added a birthday greeting right onto the cake board.
All in all, it was a cake well-enjoyed that got rave reviews both for looks and taste! Definitely a winner … and most importantly, I feel redeemed for the cake I bought last year instead of made!! Haha!
This adorable cake is linked up at The 36th Avenue.