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Making a dinosaur cake, tips, advice, reassurance please!

(18 Posts)
SaltyandSweet Tue 18-Mar-14 13:58:27

So I'm an ok baker in terms of making normal cakes but I've never tried to make a decorated/designed/shaped cake before. I want to make a dinosaur cake for my son's 5th birthday this Friday. It looks simple enough - involves making two round cakes and cutting the leg shape out of one and cutting the head and tail out of the other and sticking together with buttercream. I plan on doing it the afternoon before (Thursday afternoon). I am a TOTAL novice at this and would really really appreciate any tips from more experienced bakers. I know it looks simple compared to some of the amazing cakes I've seen on here, but I am still so nervous and don't want to mess up!

Seminyak Tue 18-Mar-14 14:13:32

Looks cute smile what is it that you're not sure about?

If you can get a green gel food colouring in time, do that, because otherwise it will be hard to get a good green. Sugarflair are a good brand, but my fave green is Wilton Leaf Green - it's quite bright though.

Buttercream: beat the butter for like 10 mins until pale, then add half the sugar (sifted), combine on a low speed then turn the speed up and beat for another 5 or 10 mins, add the rest of the sugar and beat again for 5 or 10 mins. Add flavouring and milk and give a final beat. If you're using a mixer (kitchen aid, kenwood etc) rather than a food processor with a lid, you can hold a damp teatowel around the bowl to avoid a sugar cloud smile

Seminyak Tue 18-Mar-14 14:14:36

Will you cut the 2 cakes in half so you can add some filling? Or are you baking 4 rounds? smile

Seminyak Tue 18-Mar-14 14:16:44

(You can get gel food colourings on amazon btw smile )

Seminyak Tue 18-Mar-14 14:19:11

Oh and (sorry for multiple posts!!) beating the buttercream so much makes it soooooo light and delicious and very easy to spread smile

Seminyak Tue 18-Mar-14 14:20:19

When baking make sure all your ingredients are room temp! Take eggs and butter out of the fridge a couple of hours before you start.

Ok think I'm done now grin

SaltyandSweet Tue 18-Mar-14 14:22:03

I have Wilton Leaf Green! Phew, something I got right. Have never coloured buttercream before - read somewhere that you're supposed to add colour with a toothpick?? Thank you very much for the buttercream tips, much appreciated. I am going to make a huge batch, just in case smile

I am unsure about lots of things - will the cake be ok in the fridge overnight? It'll then have to be out of the fridge for awhile the day of the party as the party is in school. They'll be eating it around 3 so would it be ok to be out of the fridge (its a tiny school with a tiny kitchen so I dunno if they'd let me put it in the fridge, or if there would be space) or should I find a way to drop it round at lunchtime? I have a 2 year old as well so wanted to avoid dragging him to the school again at lunch if at all possible.

The instructions - video at - say two ordinary 9inch chocolate cakes then covered in the green buttercream.

I am worried about assembly too. Basically just questioning whether my basic ability will be up to this ....

SaltyandSweet Tue 18-Mar-14 14:22:54

Seminyak, you are a star! Thank you. No tip is too small for me!!

Seminyak Tue 18-Mar-14 14:31:10

Hmm OK. No you'll be fine!

So colouring buttercream: Yes you can add a little bit with a cocktail stick or skewer or anything. I'd add a little bit, mix it in until evenly mixed in, then if you want a deeper colour, add a bit more in the same way and keep going until you've got the shade you want. Remember to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl so you don't end up with an un-coloured bit of icing.

Cake will be fine in the fridge overnight, the buttercream will set up nicely. This is good because when you transport the cake, it will be more solid and less prone to damage smile It should be fine out of the fridge once it gets to school - it's nicest if you leave a cake to get up to room temp before serving anyway.

To assemble the cake just cut the cake up the way the instructions suggest, and stick the pieces together using some buttercream.

It will be a hit, I can tell!

Seminyak Tue 18-Mar-14 14:34:06

I'd probably put the cake in the fridge after getting it in the shape you want and sticking the pieces together. The buttercream will harden up and then it will be easier to cover the cake in buttercream, as the individual pieces will be less likely to move around!

Seminyak Tue 18-Mar-14 14:35:24

Serrated/break knife easiest for carving/cutting cakes smile

Seminyak Tue 18-Mar-14 14:35:35


SaltyandSweet Tue 18-Mar-14 14:42:16

Thank you Seminyak! I will follow all your instructions and cross my fingers. And post a photo of how it turns out!

Seminyak Tue 18-Mar-14 14:47:34

Yay! Good luck! smile

SaltyandSweet Tue 18-Mar-14 14:48:50

Oh one more question - do you do a crumb coating and refrigerate first before then adding the rest of the buttercream? Or some websites say to refrigerate the cakes first to limit crumbs spoiling the finish? Necessary?

Seminyak Tue 18-Mar-14 14:55:09

Yeah I'd do a crumb coat first, then refrigerate, for sure smile Only needs to be a really thin layer.

SaltyandSweet Fri 21-Mar-14 09:13:04

Seminyak! For you thanks The cake turned out actually looking like a dinosaur! It took me ages which I think was the lack of confidence and the buttercream could have been a tiny bit thinner which might have helped me spread it out better - so the result is a bit messier than I wanted. I however do not care anymore, I am euphoric that I managed it!

Seminyak Fri 21-Mar-14 10:44:00

Cuuuuuute aww well done!!! Looks really good smile bet your DS will absolutely love it smile

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