A Jungle Safari Cake With A Surprise Inside

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Copyright 2013 – Sweet Dreams Cake App/Michelle Davis – All Rights Reserved

“In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight ….. “

You have that song stuck in your head now, don’t you? Now you know how I felt the whole time I was working on my niece’s birthday cake. Every time I opened the door to my cake room it was like lifting the lid to a music box; the song would immediately fill my head. It was the perfect song for the cake though. My niece recently turned six and had a jungle themed birthday party at a local campground. She requested I make her a jungle cake with animal prints and jungle animals all over the cake. I took out my sketch pad and drew up my ideas.

I got her approval and went to work. After many hours of sculpting, baking and decorating (I’m not sure exactly how many since I don’t ever keep track) I finished and ended up with a cake that was almost exactly like my sketch. Most of the time it seems I end up having to change a lot of things in the process of going from sketch to finished product so it was kind of excited to keep so close to the plan.

Here is the final creation.

I loved this cake and had so much fun with it. Everything on the cake is edible. The animals are all sculpted from modeling chocolate and the tree is made from chocolate and rice krispy treats.

Here are some close up pictures of all the details.

My niece’s favorite jungle animal is the tiger so I made sure he sat on the top of the cake along with a tree and a bamboo number 6.

A cute little elephant seated on a leopard print tier.

The giraffe was my favorite. Notice how I made him eating some of the leaves from the upper tier.

The monkey was just hanging out, chillin on top of the zebra print.

A chocolate sign wishes my niece a “Happy Birthday.”

The king of the jungle sits in the very front of the cake behind the bamboo border of the cake base.

Some jungle foliage.

Lucky for you, I took pictures while I made everything so I have several tutorials to come on creating these jungle creatures.

Plus, there was a secret inside the cake. Take a look.

That’s right! Animal prints!

The top tier was tiger print, the middle leopard print and the bottom zebra print. This was my first attempt at getting creative with cake batter. It was so fun to hear the kids squeal in excitement once they saw the animal prints in the cake slices. I photographed how I made all these, as well, so you will also be getting tutorials on how to create your own animal print cakes.

It was such a special day. But as adorable as the cake turned out, it wasn’t anywhere near as adorable as my darling niece.

I hope it will be a day, and a cake, that she will never forget.

Check back soon because my next blog entry will start the series of jungle themed tutorials with instructions on how to bake animal print cakes.

Until next time, God Bless and Sweet Dreams.

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  1. Your niece is one lucky girl to have an aunt like you! Beautiful job on the cake – the textures, colors and sculpting! Flawless! Would love a tutorial on this.

    1. Thank you Beth. I will start with a post on how to bake the animal print interiors next week then I’ll post tutorials for making all the animals and the animal prints exteriors. Be on the lookout for them. 🙂

  2. Are you able to freeze this cake? I’m thinking of doing this for my daughter’s bday but want to do it in advance and should I frost it first? Not sure I’m doing fondant.

  3. I want to make an Africa theme cake for my Ethiopian daughter and love what you have done with this cake. What I don’t know how to do is to frost it with the zebra/cheetah/tiger/giraffe types of patterns. Yours look so perfect and I know you have great advice to give me. Will you reveal your secrets for the frosting-job you did?

      1. Thanks, Michelle, for your hasty response. I love your explanations about using a pasta roller for the black fondant for the zebra stripes and all the clear instructions about painting on the cheetah/leopard spots. What I am struggling with now is that nice, smooth base coat of frosting you have on all layers. Is that rolled fondant? Or do you have a recipe for a very smooth and shiny frosting?
        I am vegan which makes things a tad more challenging, although I do have a recipe for a decent vegan fondant. (I made all the tiles for a swimming pool cake with vegan fondant one year for my daughter’s birthday. Over 1000 tiles I cut out and dried!) So, I can go with fondant if I must. I just have never coated a cake with it.

        1. Yes, Margie, all the cakes are covered in rolled fondant. Sorry, I didn’t explain that before. I bet your fondant will work great. There always has to be a first time for everything! If you want some video instruction of how to cover a cake in fondant, I have an app available for both iPhones/Ipads and Androids, called Sweet Dreams Cake App, that has video tutorials on it and I have one on how to cover a cake in fondant. Good luck to you!

  4. Hi there Michelle!

    Wow, what an awesome tutorial this is! So inspirational! You’ve sure got my creative inner-self longing to emerge in a flurry of fondant and butter cream! Haha! THANK YOU!!

    My daughter is having a Jungle themed baby shower so this is awesome! I’m going to *attempt* to make this cake so wish me luck!

    But before I do, I have some questions if you don’t mind. I realize you made this some time ago, but in general, (1) Do you ever provide a list of ALL the required items/ingredients for each of your cakes (everything from the coloring gel to the size of the pans)? I’d like to make a list but I have to go through every step of the tutorial to see what all is needed and it’s still a bit vague. For example, (2) how much fondant would one need to cover a 3-tier (Jungle) cake (with room for error)? (3) Do you recommend a specific pre-made brand or do you make it yourself? Also, (4) how much modeling chocolate (or gum paste) is needed to make each figure (animal) and (5) what kind do you use (home made, store bought)? Sorry for the inquisition but I’m a newbie and want to take on this challenge well prepared! 😉

    Thank you again and I’ve definitely bookmarked your page!

    1. Hi Yvette,
      Thank you for your kind words. I wish you lots of luck on making your daughter’s baby shower cake. I know it will be so special for her just knowing you made it.

      To answer your questions, I don’t usually make an entire supply list. Since my tutorials are free I don’t spend the amount of time on them to figure out all supplies and amounts and all that. Cakes are a hobby for me and I only get to do them once in a while so I try to take pictures while I am doing them and then, after they are done, share my pictures and give explanations for what I did. The tutorials are more of explanations of cakes I made than actually me designing a cake just to make a tutorial for it. I’m not sure if that makes sense or not. 🙂 Usually, when I am making a cake, I sort of figure things out as I go so I don’t really know exactly how much fondant or modeling chocolate or things like that that I am going to use. I have large containers of them and pull out more as I need it.
      The best way to figure out how much fondant you need is to look up a fondant calculator online or use the calculator on Sweet Dreams Cake app if you have it for your phone/tablet. Use the amounts recommended for the cake sizes you are planning to use. For this cake I used 6″, 8″ and 10″ cakes and then the base board was 12″.
      As for fondant, I like to use Renshaw or Satin Ice. Both are available on Amazon if you can’t find them at a local cake decorating store.
      I used modeling chocolate for the animals but you could also use gum paste. The brand of gum paste that I always use is Satin Ice. For modeling chocolate, sometimes I make my own and sometimes I buy it. If I buy it, I get Fondarific Sculpting Chocolate. Otherwise I make it with candy melts and corn syrup. You can find Youtube videos on how to make it.
      I hope that helps you somewhat. I’m sorry I don’t have a detailed list for you. I use so many different things as I go and so many different tools that it is really hard for me to try to remember all of it after I am done and I am usually on a time crunch when I am working on the cakes. A lot of the time I even forget to keep up with my photographs. 🙂
      Hope you enjoy making your cake and congrats on your daughter’s upcoming baby.
      God bless.

      1. Thank you for the information and the quick response, Michelle! I totally understand about not providing lists of ingredients, that would really be way too time consuming for sure! But boy, you have no idea how much I appreciate the fact that you’re posting as much as you do! And your answer was great and very helpful because it gives me an idea of what to use and what to expect. Thank you for taking the time to respond and for such great inspiration! If I can pull this off, I’ll post pics, but it’s not until August, so bear with me! Have a wonderful week and keep up the beautiful work! 🙂

    1. Hi Sandelle, I am so happy to hear that your cake turned out so great! I’m sure your client was thrilled. Thanks for sharing and happy baking!

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