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Why was he born so beautiful?
Why was he born at all?
Because he had not anything to do with it at all!
Singing Happy Birthday with my in-laws is a lot of fun! The song above is sang at every males birthday party. So my son John, who turned one in January, was no exception! To celebrate John’s first birthday, my mother and I threw a Little Lumberjack Themed First Birthday Party and I made this beautiful Bear Cake. It was a blast to make and pretty simple to do.
I love this Bear Cake design because it truly has so much potential and is fairly easily to do. You could easily make it into a pig, a bunny, a cow, or many other animals with just a few modifications.
Ever since one of my cousins introduced me to the show Cake Boss, there has always been a special place in my heart for cute cakes. I actually prefer to watch The British Baking Show over Cake Boss due to it being less dramatic, but sadly, from what I have seen, The British Baking Show does not have the amazing cake creations you see in Cake Boss. I am definitely not a ‘Cake Boss’, but I do enjoy making cakes. And when my cakes come out cute, it is really a grand time! And I must say, this bear cake turned out pretty dang cute.
In this post, I am going to take you step by step so you can make your own Bear Cake.
- Chocolate Cake Recipe – see below
- 3 round cake pans (9 in)
- Chocolate Frosting – see below
- 2 ½ in. biscuit cutter
- 4 in. biscuit cutter (or other item from around the house) – see below
- Wilton 18 in. Star Piping Tip – See piping tips below
- Heart Shaped Chocolate
- 2 Rectangle Shaped Chocolates
- Cake Stand (or something else to put the cake on)
Lots of excitement!
First, you have to decide what cake recipe you are using to create this easy bear cake. The trick to this is to find a recipe that holds shape. You do not want the cake falling apart when you are cutting out the circles for the ears and the snout.
I have created a sturdy chocolate cake recipe That I am sharing with you below!
- 3 cake pans (9 in.)
- 2 ¼ c. boiling water
- ¾ c. vegetable oil (canola oil)
- 1 ½ c. cocoa powder
- 3 c. flour
- 3 c. sugar
- 2 ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 ¼ c. Greek yogurt
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Grease three 9 in. round pans with Crisco and cocoa powder
- While the water is heating:
- In a medium size bowl, mix flour, salt, cocoa powder, and baking soda
- In a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), whisk sugar, vegetable oil (canola oil), eggs, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and cocoa extract
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir with paddle attachment
- Slowly add boiling water to mixture
- Pour evenly into pre greased pans
- Bake for ~35 minutes at 350
Let the cakes cool completely before frosting. I like to make the cake the night before so it has time to cool thoroughly. Wrap the cooled cakes in saran wrap and leave them on the counter.
Now for the frosting, I did not follow or create a recipe. The following ingredients are just an approximation of what I used. I went for a texture, taste, and stiffness I thought adequate for the bear cake.
- 3 sticks butter
- ~5 c. powdered sugar
- ~¼ c. heavy whipping cream (or milk)
- ~1 c. cocoa powder
- ~5 tbsp vanilla extract
** Make sure to leave some frosting out after adding about ¼ c. of cocoa powder. You will need this to make the ears and snout on your bear cake a different color.
If you are not comfortable creating your own chocolate frosting recipe, here is a chocolate frosting recipe from the blog Add A Pinch.
Getting Started Making the Bear Cake
Now… Let the fun begin! Here is how to create the bear cake.
Begin by placing a small circle of icing on your cake stand. The frosting acts like glue and helps keep the bear cake in place when you are icing it. Then, add your first layer of cake onto the stand.
Next, generously ice the top of the first layer of cake. Add the second layer on top.
Frost the entire cake with a ‘crumb coat.’ I generally like to do two layers of frosting. The crumb coat will help prevent the cake from being seen underneath the decorative piping.
Now it is time to create the bear’s fur with the decorative piping.
I used the tip Wilton 18.
Use decorative piping along the outer edge of the cake and then a flat icing spatula to texture the top of the cake. Piping the entire cake would be a bit overbearing.
HELPFUL TIPS: I have had to learn many hard lessons with piping.
- First, pull your icing bag over a tall skinny cup when filling it up with icing. This will help prevent mess tremendously.
- Secondly, have 2 icing bags ready to go and keep one in the refrigerator. Your hands will melt the butter in the icing while you are piping. When this happens, your piping can become messy fast. As soon as one of your bags begins to melt, run it to the fridge and grab the other one. This way you always have cool icing. Also, keep the extra icing cool as well.
Cut out the Ears and Snout
Now it is time to cut out the ears and snout for the bear cake. I used a 2 ½ in. biscuit cutter to make the ears. However, we did not have a cutter the size I wanted the snout so we had to become creative. Therefore, we decided to use a 28 oz can of tomatoes that we had used (and washed) in the chili for John’s Lumberjack Themed First Birthday Party. You can use anything that is approximately 4 in. in diameter to create the snout. If it is not sharp enough, you may just have to take a knife around the edge of whatever object you are using.
Next, you are going to cut off a small portion of the 2 ½ in. ears so they fit snuggly on the frosted 9 in cakes.
Then cut the snout circle in half.
Add one of the slices of snout onto the cakes.
As mentioned above, some of your frosting is a lighter color. Use this frosting to frost the ears and snout. Start with a crumb coat and then put the cake in the freezer for a bit. After cutting into the cake, you are going to have some crumbs come off when frosting. To cover this up, you will have to do a second layer of light colored frosting.
Related Post: Hot Cocoa Bar
After the frosting has hardened and another layer of frosting is on, you can begin to pipe the ears. Use your dark colored frosting again. Start by piping the outline of the inside of the ear and work your way out. Use plenty of frosting to cover up the cracks between the ears and the head of your bear cake.
My technique in this photo is not great. I was almost out of frosting in my bag and I was just squeezing by at the end. If you need more info on piping technique, watch this old school video here from A.C. Moore Arts and Crafts.
Finally, add a heart shaped chocolate for the nose, two rectangle chocolates for the eyes, and pipe a mouth with your dark colored frosting.
Don’t forget to texture the top of the cake with the flat icing spatula. Just dab the spatual over the icing to make the rippled effect.
We cut a very tiny hole in a ziplock baggie to pipe the mouth, but you could easily use a small round piping tip.
Tada! Now you have a beautiful bear cake that your guests are bound to love. Someone later even asked me if I went to school for cakes. 😊 I definitely did not (unless you count watching Cake Boss and The British Baking Show as schooling). But that was such a wonderful complement to recieve after spending so much time on this bear cake.
John obviously really enjoyed his bear cake too!
And his Grandmother!