Lion Cake Recipe is perfect for birthday parties. Rich chocolate mudcake with chocolate buttercream, covered in Lion Cake fondant, this celebration cake has some ROAR!! Be inspired by our baking recipes to spend some time in your kitchen!
How to Make a Lion Cake?
One of my friend's from yoga asked me if I would make the cake for her son's, 4th Birthday. He had decided on jungle theme party and wanted a Lion Cake. I was delighted and set about the task of making his cake truly have some 'ROAR! to it!
My friend sent me a photo of the cake that her son has picked out and I went looking on Pinterest as well. I was really suprised that there was not a step by step guide that I could find for the cake that I wanted. I took inspiration from a pin on there though and that pin goes to this website. Which appears, (I think) to be a Polish blog called Cake Time. Full credit goes to them for the visual ideas behind this cake.
Buttercream and mudcake, what a match made in heaven!
As I set about creating my own Lion Cake, I was trying to record the steps so that I could share the photos and process with you guys should you wish to make your own version!
How to decorate a cake to look like a Lion?
A cook's confession here....I used cake mix for the cake! I do that sometimes depending on what I am making and in this case, I knew that the decorating would be time consuming. So I turned to a tried and true mix I could trust. Personally even being a food blogger, I don't turn my nose up at package mix cakes (or frozen meals for that matter). If you find a good one, use it and don't beat yourself up about it. There is NOTHING wrong with doing that.
In my experience some of the best birthday cakes as the ones you celebrate with family and friends and you have no idea what even went into the cake in the 1st place!
Find a good packet mix and have it as your go to.....then your focus can be on decorating the cake!
How to cover a cake in fondant?
There are many steps involved in decorating this cake and bringing it all together. I have tried my best to show you the steps so you know what to do, so that you can recreate your own cake.
After you have baked the mudcake, you cut it in half and put a layer of buttercream between the two halves. You also cover the whole cake and the sides with buttercream as this will make it easier for your fondant to stick.
Dessert inspiration and ideas
I used a few different strategies in bringing this cake together. One was to make the cake the night before I intended to decorate it. This helped as the cake was cool so that cutting it to add the layer of buttercream was no problem.
If you like the look of this cake, but you want something more simple for your next special event, I have some easy to make tarts on the blog that take no time at all to bring together.
A few of my favourites are:
- Peach Tartlets (recipe is here)
- Strawberry Tartlets (recipe is here)
- Blueberry Lemon Curd Tart (recipe is here)
Be it a Lion birthday cake, or a Banoffee Tart, you are sure to find a recipe here that you will LOVE!!
About the recipe:
- This cake does take some time to bring together
- If is a fun cake that kids will LOVE!
- You can buy ready to roll fondant at the grocery store
- We use a combination of fondant AND buttercream to bring this cake together
To answer your questions:
- The cake can be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight
- You can freeze any leftover cake for a later date
- You don't have to be a cake whizz to make this cake!
- This is a REASONABLY TIME CONSUMING cake to pull together
Dying the fondant will take time and energy. You will need to be patient, but trust me, it will pay off when it is ready to roll!
You and me, therapy time!
WOW! I think I resolved every single thing that was on my mind when I was kneading the fondant to make this cake! It starts quite hard. You have to knead it to make it soft and work able and you will need your muscles to do this!
The best thing about making this cake is once you have broken down the task in front of you into smaller, more manageable tasks, you will be able to full steam ahead!
How to Make the Animal Parts for a Lion Cake?
I found it necessary to jot down on a piece of paper the steps and pieces I needed for the Lion. For example, you need 2 ears, 2 eyes, 2 cheeks, a tongue, a tail and a mane.
If you have a cake stand that spins around, that will help you to decorate the cake, but it is not essential, so no need to buy one if you don't already have one.
As you knead the fondant, you will find your stress level reducing and the hands on task provides a sense of purpose with a creative outlet!
How to Decorate a cake to look like a Lion?
I really didn't want to bombard you guys with 10,000 photos in this post. However, it is entirely necessary as there are many steps involved!
I made a video tutorial as well, but as it moves quickly the images tell the story at a different pace. By all means use the 'jump to recipe' if you just want to get to the ingredients list already!!
Lion Cake Recipe
Lion Cake Recipe
- 2 x mudcake packet mixes Eggs, milk and butter as per the instructions
- 1.5kg x ready rolled fondant
- 1 x yellow dye
- 1 x brown dye
- 1 x pink dye
- 8 x thin round noodles
- 2 x milk chocolate melts
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
Chocolate Buttercream Recipe ( 1 x batch for centre layer, 1 x batch to cover cake and sides)
- 200 grams butter at room temperature
- 2 ½ cups icing sugar
- 2 tbsp almond milk
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
Lion Cake Recipe Method
- Make your mudcake according to the recipe instructions on the packet
- After baking, ensure it is cool, before slicing cake in half
- Make your chocolate buttercream
- Cut the cooled cake in half and spread a layer of buttercream between the two halves. Place cake back together again
- Cover entire cake as well as sides with chocolate buttercream and place in refrigerator
- Place fondant on kitchen bench and begin to knead. Continue until the fondant is soft and pliable (it will take some time)
- Break the fondant into smaller amounts for the various colours (ie yellow, brown, pink and white)
- Add yellow food colouring to the fondant using a tooth pick to disperse. Use disposable gloves to work the colour into the fondant and repeat until you have the colours for each part. (ie yellow for cake, ears, cheeks and tail, pink for tongue, brown for mane and end of tail, white for eyes.
- Roll yellow fondant out on a cutting mat using a rolling pin. Place along side frosted cake. Gently pick up fondant sheet and lay over cake. Press down on top and sides. Use a knife to cut off the excess buttercream (use for tail, cheeks etc)
- Use cutting tools (eg cookie cutters) to make the various shapes for the animal parts. You will need circles for the cheeks, eyes and a brown blob for the nose. Use a chopstick to make nostrils.
- Roll brown fondant out and score it to create long strips. Use this to cut smaller portions to roll for the mane. Use either vegetable shortening (copha) or water to stick fondant pieces to cake
- Roll tail in a few pieces, push down around the circumference of the cake. Use some brown fondant for the end of the tail.
- Use the chocolate drops for the centre of the lion's eyes
- Repeat until all animal parts are stuck on the cake and the mane covers the circumference edge of your cake
- Add noodles for whiskers by sliding them into either cheek
- I made quite a large cake as my friend was expecting 30 plus guests. I therefore chose to make a 30cm cake. If you have less guests, I would recommend using a smaller cake tin and possibly making 2 cakes, one layered on top of the other.
- A friend from work showed me a Facebook group for 'mud cake hacks'. You could definitely buy the mud cake from the bakery section of the store and decorate that if you wish. You wouldn't need buttercream on the top of the cake if it comes already iced.
- To stick the fondant pieces onto the cake, you can use buttercream (not if you live in a very hot climate and your party is outdoors), tylose left overnight to become a glue, edible glue, water or vegetable shortening. My preference is a combination of the vegetable shortening with water as well (alternate between the 2).
- If your fondant becomes dry, rub some vegetable shortening on your hands. This will make it soft again.
- Store any leftover fondant in an air tight container
- My preference for the dye for the fondant is liquid get from the cake shop (for specific colours). Gel makes the fondant too wet, so avoid using that if you can.
- You can use a little icing sugar on the bench whilst working with the fondant
- I chose to use cocoa to dye the fondant brown as I felt that was a better option that a lot of food colouring when there is already a high sugar amount in the cake and fondant itself. It too, will need to be kneaded into the fondant (use gloves, it can get a bit messy)
- Please note the nutritional information was hard to calculate for this recipe due to so many unique ingredients. Have smaller portions of the cake if you are worried about your daily calorie intake.
I have been telling you guys recently about my America/Canada which seems like it is happening soon!
Everything is booked now and the countdown is on....where does the time go!!
Seeing 'O' at the Bellagio will be a dream come true!
This recipe is fun, but can be tricky, if you have questions, give me a shout, I am more than happy to help.
For new readers to the blog, hello, lovely to have you here. I recommend checking out these recipes, which I am sure you will LOVE!