Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Evolution of a Dinosaur Cake!

In taking on a 3D dinosaur cake (or any "standing" animal cake) there is a lot that goes into the cake design, before the cake is even baked! I read information online on how to create leg and neck support using PVC pipes and other items you can find at Home Depot. I didn't want to go that route...I wanted instead to achieve the look of a standing dinosaur in a more creative (and less constructive) way.

First, I started off with a wire hanger, saran wrap, duct tape and 2 pieces of foam board. I shaped the wire hanger into the "neck" of the dinosaur and then taped the base down onto the first piece of foam board. I took the second piece of foam board and cut it in half and glued each half on top of the wire hanger base to make one thick board, with a wire neck coming from the bottom.

(I wish I had a picture of that, but neglected to take one at this stage...)

Next, I tightly wrapped the wire hanger in saran wrap so that no part of the hanger would come in contact with the cake. I covered the foam board in green fondant.

Then I put my cakes (1 10"round on bottom, 2 9" round on top, already filled) right up against the hanger on the board and started carving to shape the dinosaur's back and legs. I used cereal treats to cover the wrapped hanger, making a long neck and head. Next I crumb coated it all in vanilla buttercream.
I used more cereal treats to create a tail and to give more depth to the legs. The birthday boy requested a buttercream iced cake (no fondant) but agreed for fondant facial features. I figured the best way to achieve a clean, realistic face was to use fondant for the skin, eyes and teeth. I shaped and added fondant pieces until I achieved this look...

Then I covered the dinosaur in different shades of blue buttercream and added a piece of black fondant under the belly to give a better appearance to the legs.

I kept playing with the icing and shading until I got the look I wanted. Next I added fondant rocks and bushes and trees to give the illusion that my dinosaur was standing on four legs. You can see my finished Brachiosaurus cake here.


  1. This is excellent! I am so glad you posted a description of how you did this. I don't like building supports for my cakes either. So far I have just made dinosaurs lying down. I like your idea. I came across this after googling brachiosaurus cake as my son requested this for his birthday next week. Thanks again!

  2. Great cake! Can you tell me what a "cereal treat" is? Thanks so much!

  3. Thanks! A cereal treat is rice cereal mixed with melted marshmallows...I buy mine already made at the store, but they are really simple to make at home.

  4. Hello, that cake is awesome I am attempting to make it for my son's 5th bday this question is did you use spring form pan's and if so did you use only 1 cake mix per pan or 2...Thank you!!!

  5. @Anon, I used regular pans...can't remember how much batter I used, but I think a box mix will yield 2 9" round and then you would need another for the 10" (with some leftover batter for cupcakes maybe?). Good luck with the cake!

  6. Thank you that helps alot!!! have a great weekend :-)

  7. This is great thanx for describing how you did this!