Ninja birthday cake featuring karate ninja topper, hand-painted ninja throwing stars and shanghai text.
Themed Birthday Cakes & How I Started
Birthdays are a big deal in our house. Each year, our kids get to pick out the theme of their birthday party. When my first son was turning one, I wanted a simple 8″ inch blue cake with a fondant whale on top. I called around to the bakeries who were quoting $60 or more. I scoffed and said, “Well, I guess I’m going to have to figure this out.”
I’ll be honest. The first cake I made was a disaster. The buttercream frosting was sliding off the cake in the August Louisiana heat and my husband had to help make the fondant whale. It was a mess. My cakes are definitely not perfect now, but I love making these cakes for my kids. Hopefully this is something they will remember as the years go on.
How to Make a Ninja Birthday Cake
For this ninja cake, I made a 10″ chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream icing. Below is the process of how to make this ninja birthday cake.
- Make the cake board
- Prepare the fondant cake toppers and ninja stars
- Bake three 10″ chocolate cake rounds. Wrap in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and then freeze (a note on freezing below).
- Make 2 batches of vanilla buttercream icing
- Stack and crumb coat the cake. Put the cake back in the fridge to set up.
- Add the final coat of frosting to the cake
- Add final fondant decorations
Tips for Getting Everything Done on Time
- Start early. I typically follow this cake decorating schedule. It makes it easier so I’m not trying to cram everything in on the final day.
- Fondant decorations and cake boards can be done days in advanced.
- Why freeze your cakes? – There are a lot of reasons to freeze a cake but simply, it helps keep the cake moist and easier to decorate. At first I was against it, but after doing a taste test, the frozen cake always wins.
Fondant Ninja Cake Toppers & Ninja Throwing Stars
I actually made two fondant cake toppers. I loved the cartoon ninja and my son loved the more realistic ninja. To make them, I just found a ninja image on Google and printed it out to size. I cut out the image on paper and used it as a stencil on the fondant. I added a few things by hand and honestly, it was not as hard as I thought it would be.
I used this tutorial for how to make ninja throwing stars. Basically, you just cut out the star shape. Then, using an icing tip, you cut a hole in the center and then use the tip to cut out parts of the base.
Note: For three 10″ round cakes, make sure to double this recipe. I made two separate batches in my mixer and then filled the cake rounds 2/3 of the way full. You may have a little extra batter (you can make cupcakes out of the leftover batter).
8" Chocolate Cake
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour 300g
- 2 cups of sugar 400g
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 3/4 cups of cocoa powder 75g
- 1 teaspoon of expresso
- 1/2 cup of butter 120g
- 1 cup of water 195g
- 1/2 cup of vegetable or canola oil 100g
- 1/2 cup of buttermilk 120g
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 2 eggs
For the frosting:
- 1 1/2 sticks of butter 169g
- 1/2 cup of shortening 102g
- 2 lb of powdered sugar 907g
- 1/2 cup of milk 115g
- 1 tbsp of vanilla
- Food coloring if desired
For the decorations
- Black fondant
- White fondant
- White frosting
- Purple frosting
- Marshmallow fluff
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 Celsius).
- Prepare three 8" cake pans or two 9" cake pans.
- Put flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- In a saucepan, add the cocoa powder, espresso, butter, water and oil.
- Heat over a medium heat and whisk together until the boiling point.
- Remove from the heat and slowly add the hot mixture to the dry ingredients.
- Add the vanilla and eggs to the buttermilk.
- Slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the rest of the cake batter.
- Mix until well combined.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes.
For the frosting:
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and shortening on medium speed until smooth and creamy (2-3 minutes).
- Add half of the powdered sugar and beat of low speed for 30 seconds.
- Add a 1/4 cup of the milk and mix on low.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar and milk.
- Add vanilla.
- Mix on low for 30 seconds and gradually increase the speed to high and beat for 2 minutes.
- If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If is it too thick, add more milk.
For the decorations:
- Start by making the spiders with black fondant and using the white fondant to make the eyes (see post for instructions)
- After cooling the cake, crumb coat with buttercream frosting.
- Put in fridge for 10 minutes
- Put a second coat of buttercream and smooth it out.
- Put marshmallow cream or melted marshmallows into a bowl.
- Cover your hands in the marshmallow mix and spread your fingers and pull the sticky mess around the cake.
- Continue all around the sides of the cake.
- Pipe the spiderweb on top of the cake.
- Add fondant spiders to cake.