I had the opportunity to make a really FUN cake for a 3 year-old boy this week! Boden loves all things under the sea, including octopuses, turtles, sharks, whales, starfish, turtles and more. Tara (from Terra Rosa in Ithaca, NY) designed a beautiful party invitation that I used for inspiration.
Boden loves chocolate, so the cake is chocolate with chocolate mousse filling. The base cake is frosted with chocolate fudge frosting, while the top cake is finished using vanilla mousse frosting. All the sea creatures are made from fondant.
I’ve included step-by-step instructions below if you’d like to make your own version of this cake (or a similar theme cake). If you are a novice, make sure you have 2 days to spend working on all the steps. With more experience, you can expect this cake to take you about 6 hours (baking the cake, making the frostings and fillings, and decorating). Note: The directions to make the cake are below the picture montage.
How to Make This Cake
- Prepare your cakes
This cake used a half sheet pan for the base, and a 9″ round for the top. Plan to make about 2 1/2 recipes of your favorite chocolate cake. Bake cakes and cool completely. If you plan to split the cakes, it is best to chill them in the refrigerator or allow to cool overnight.
Prepare chocolate mousse frosting and vanilla mousse frosting.
- Split, fill and crumb coat
Split the cakes and fill with the chocolate mousse frosting. Place your half sheet cake on the base you plan to use, and place your 9″ round cake on a cardboard round that is the same size as the 9″ round cake. Crumb coat each cake.
Now, prepare your chocolate fudge frosting using your favorite chocolate frosting recipe. The dark canvas makes things pop! Frost your base cake. Then use your vanilla mousse to frost your top cake on the cardboard round. I used a small spatula to make the waves. To make the sandy island, I used brownulated sugar. Simply pour the desired amount on the top of the cake for your island. Put the top cake in the refrigerator, so that it is easier to place it on the bottom cake when ready.
It is time to stack the cakes. Get out 8 straws or dowels. Place them in the base cake, in the area that the top cake will rest on, and cut to the appropriate size. Place the 9″ round on the half sheet cake. Pipe, using a #32 star tip, around the bottom edge.
Begin to sculpt your sea creatures. I used the invitation (photo above) as my inspiration, and my list of things that Boden loves that his Mom had given me. Have a collection of fondant, clay tools, edible markers, a big roulepat mat, and a small rolling pin. Using a large number cookie cutter, cut out the number for the age.
Place sea creatures where desired on the cake. Then use a #18 tip to pipe a small border around the bottom edge. Use #18 to make stars around the top edge. For the writing, use a #16 star tip for the base lettering and a #5 round tip for the top border. Finish the cake by making an umbrella in a color matching the number. Cut a circle, then slice halfway through to wrap it around. Tape a popsicle stick in the center and place the umbrella in the cake.