Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dinosaur Birthday Cake Tutorial

Let me start by saying I am NOT a cake decorator, nor do I claim to be, but I recently made a dinosaur cake for my sons birthday and decided to create a tutorial for all those out there like me who couldn't find anything suitable on the net.

Here is the finished cake.  Read on if you're interested in the tutorial, otherwise you may want to stop now as I am know for my rambling!

Dinosaur Cake Tutorial

You will need
-  2 round cakes (or one tall square one like I used in the tutorial)
-  Some spare cake for the head (can come from off cuts of the square ones or a couple of extra about cupcake size)
-  Icing in the colour of your choice (I made butter icing)  
-  Small amount of white icing
-  Royal icing (I think this is also known as fondant.  It's the ready made stuff you can roll out flat)
-  Knives, spatulas etc

Start by getting your two cakes ready.  If like me you have made a square cake then you will need to cut it into two circles as follows. 

I started by trimming a small amount of the round top off.  Using a tip my mother gave me, I placed toothpicks into the cake at the same height and used these as my knife guide so I knew the cake would be level when I cut it.

You then need to cut your square cake into a circle (ish) shape.  I did this by using a bowl and cutting around it.  Make sure you keep all the bits you cut off.

Once you have a circle, you will need to cut it into two cakes using the toothpick method to ensure they are level.  You will notice one of the cakes is slightly rounded still, but that doesn't matter as you can use this for the body.  Also note my off cuts kept aside on the plate.

Now you have 2 circles, you need to cut them into the body parts.  Below shows you how to cut each cake.  There will be a small piece from the cake on the right that isn't used, put this aside for the head.  (Please excuse my wonky computer drawing!)

Here are my pieces all cut and ready to be put together.  (The two half circles have already been turned up on their side and stuck together with jam and icing.  These pieces become the dinosaur's body.)

  Now it's time to put your dinosaur together.   Start with the body.  I stuck everything down with a big of icing.

Now add the tail and neck.

And all the pieces for the legs.

Now comes the tricky part.  Using your extra pieces, you will need to piece together a head shape.  This is a close up of mine, not pretty but it works!

At the moment, your dinosaur looks a little squarish.  To correct this, you need to round the edges of his neck, tail, head and legs.  I did this by using a small sharp knife and shaving off the corners until I was happy with the way it looked.  (I ended up taking a bit more off than what the picture below shows.)

Now you have your dinosaur in the shape you like, remove any extra crumbs from the board and give the whole thing a crumb coat.  This is just a thin layer of icing to hold all the crumbs together.  It makes your final coat nice and smooth.  Once you have don't the crumb coat, place it in the fridge for an hour or so to set the icing.

Now you can do your final coat.  If you're clever, you may like to do fancy piped icing or use the spatula to make marks like scales but I wasn't going to attempt that.

Time for decorating.  You can pipe icing toes onto the dinosaur but if you want something a little easier, tic tacs (and Australian lolly) would work just as well.  The spines I made using rolled out royal icing that I coloured blue, cut into triangles and left out to dry and go hard.  His eyes are made with small circles of royal icing with a dot of black, non toxic texta for the pupils.  His nose was made using the handle of a spoon pressed into the icing and I just cut a long slit for the mouth.

Here he is from the front.

And from the back.

That's it.  One completed dinosaur cake.  Feel free to ask any questions if I haven't been clear at any stage.  If you do make your own cake, add a link to the photo so I can have a look.

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