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Ninja birthday cake featuring karate ninja topper, hand-painted ninja throwing stars and shanghai text.
A Simple Ninja Cake
Birthdays are a big deal in our house. Each year, our kids get to pick out the theme of their birthday party. This year my son picked a ninja theme. I said, “Great, Ninjago is super popular so this should be easy.” My son said, “No mom, no Ninjago. I just want ninjas.”
That’s when I started to look online and couldn’t really find anything that was just a simple ninja cake. We decided to draw it out and this is what we came up with. If you are looking for a simple ninja birthday cake, I will walk you through the steps to make it. This was a really simple buttercream cake with fondant decorations.
You don’t have to be a professional cake decorator to make something that your kids will love. I think what’s more important is the memories you create on these special days. And as you know, these kids grow up so fast!
How to Make a Ninja Birthday Cake
For this ninja cake, I made a chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream icing. Here are the steps to create this ninja birthday cake.
The Day Before:
- Prepare the cake drum – For this cake, I actually covered a cake board in black fondant. I don’t recommend it though. Just buy a black cake drum if you cake or you can use a white cake drum and cover the sides with black ribbon. Just make sure that whatever cake drum or board you are using, it is two inches larger than the cake you are making.
- Make the fondant toppers – Prepare the fondant cake toppers and ninja stars (more steps below). They will need at least 24 hours to dry.
- Bake your cakes. I used my chocolate cake recipe and doubled it to make a 10 inch cake. My chocolate cake and white cake recipes make 8 inch cakes so if you need something larger, you can double it. You’ll have a little batter left over which you can use for cupcakes if you would like. To keep them fresh, simply wrap them in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil and place them in the freezer. It will keep fresh for the next day.
- Make the frosting. Make one to two batches of vanilla buttercream icing. If you are making an 8 inch cake, you only need one batch. If you are making a 10 inch cake, make two batches.
Day of the Party:
- Crumb coat – Stack your cakes and add a layer of frosting between each layer. Using an offset spatula, apply a thin layer of frosting on the sides and top. Smooth out the sides with an icing smoother. Put the cake in the fridge for about ten minutes.
- Final coat – Add the final coat of frosting to the sides and top of the cake and smooth out the frosting.
- Fondant decorations – Add the ninja topper, ninja stars, black border and number to the cake.
How to Make the Fondant Ninja Throwing Stars
Here are the steps I used to make the fondant stars:
- Print a star template (you can use google images or make your own shape). You can also use a star shaped cookie cutter.
- Roll out your fondant to 1/4″ thickness
- Cut the star shape out of the fondant
- Take a large icing tip to cut out the center. I used the end of a 1M tip.
- Use the same time to cut out section at the base of each point. Keep going around the star until all the bases are cut.
- Paint with silver edible paint. I use this silver luster dust mixed with a few drop of liquor (vodka) and brush with food safe brushes.
- Place on parchment paper and let them dry.
On the day of the party, the ninja stars will be hard enough to just stick into the buttercream cake. For a full tutorial on how to make the ninja stars, check out this post.
How to Make Ninja Cake Toppers
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. You can also try searching “ninja stencil” or “ninja cartoon” to find the one you like the best.
Print the image on paper and roll your fondant out thin (1/4″). Use the image as a stencil and cut out the fondant with a sharp knife. I used the red fondant to make the belt and white fondant to make the face for the cartoon ninja.
Before they dry, carefully insert toothpicks into each of the feet. Place it on parchment paper and then let it dry for several hours or overnight. Then the day of the party you can insert them into the cake.
I hope you have fun making this cake. It was really fun to make and the ninja cake toppers were surprisingly much easier to make than I thought. I love how realistic the ninja stars looked on the cake. I think it’s fun that this design is really simple but effective. If you make this cake, I would love to see your creations!
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).
- 2 cups all-purpose flour 300g
- 2 cups sugar 400g
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cups cocoa powder 75g
- 1 teaspoon expresso powder or instant espresso
- 1/2 cup butter 120g
- 1 cup water 195g
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil 100g
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk 120g
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper. If you don't have buttermilk, add 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar to the 1/2 cup of milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl or mixer, add the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk the ingredients together.
- In a medium saucepan, add the cocoa powder, espresso powder, butter, water and oil. Heat over medium heat and whisk together over a medium-low heat. Once you see bubbles the sides of the pan, remove from the heat.
- Slowly add the hot chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix on low (1) for about 2-3 minutes. Feel the sides of the bowl, if they are slightly warm then you can continue. If the sides are really hot to the touch, stop mixing and let it sit for a 1-2 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and eggs to the buttermilk and add the liquid mixture slowly to the rest of the cake batter.
- Mix the batter on low (1-2) for about 2 minutes to make sure it is combined. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. The batter will be runny.
- Distribute the batter evenly among the two 8" cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until it a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
- Once they have baked, remove the cakes onto a cooling rack and let them completely cool to the touch (about 30-40 minutes). Then remove the cakes carefully from the pans and leave them on the cooling rack.