It was my son’s 1st birthday a couple of weeks ago and some of you may know that I made a teddy bear shaped cake for his birthday. Our nickname for our son is ‘Jakey Bear’. My hubby came up with that name. He was only a few days old, still in the hospital all wrapped up in layers of blankets. My husband picked him up from the bed for a cuddle and said ‘come here little Jakey Bear’ presumably because he looked cute as a teddy bear. So the nickname stayed and it only seemed fitting that I make a teddy bear cake for his special day.
In my mind, I knew exactly what I was going to do and I knew exactly what it would look like. I didn’t plan on it looking like it did. It actually turned out better than I imagined.
Firstly, I have to say that I didn’t bake the cake. I repeat – I didn’t bake the cake. I simply bought 7 round mud cakes – 5 chocolate mud cakes and 2 white chocolate mud cakes. I planned to bake the cake but since I come home late from work these days, I knew there just wouldn’t be any time for me to bake. So the easiest and most convenient way was to buy 7 round cakes that I knew tasted good. Even if my teddy bear cake design and icing failed, at least I knew the cake would taste nice and our guests would still eat it.
I posted some before and after photos of the cake onto my personal Facebook page and a few of my friends and co-workers have asked me how I did it, so let me try to explain it as best as I can.
I have to apologise in advance that this will not be a step by step guide in pictures. My hands were full of chocolates, crumbs and they were oily so I couldn’t really take a lot of photos. Also this was my first ever attempt at making a 3D cake so I was really focused on getting it right.
Here’s how I assembled the cake, in order:-
- I stacked 4 round chocolate mud cakes with chocolate buttercream in between the layers. Usually a dowel would be used to insert into the cake to hold all the layers together. I didn’t have a dowel so I had to improvise. I used 3 chopsticks instead. It worked. Once I knew the layers were held in place, I began to sculpt it into a teddy bears body.
- Next was the head. I stacked the 2 white mud cakes together with a thin layer of white chocolate ganache in between. I then cut a smaller circle into the 2 layers and began to carve it into the shape of a teddy bears head. I realised it was too small and the top was too flat. So with the cake off cuts, I added a bit of white chocolate ganache and made a truffle mix. I made a patty with the truffle mix and placed it on top of the head (see above photo) and blended it with a knife so it would look seamless and one shape. I then placed the head onto the body – the chopsticks were still sticking out so that helped with securing it onto the body.
- The ears were next. Using a 5cm cookie cutter, I cut out 2 round shapes from the extra (7th) chocolate mud cake. From there, I carved the round shapes into crescent moon shapes. I secured them onto the sides of the head with toothpicks. Each ear was about 1cm thick.
- For the arms, I cut out 2 curved shapes from the extra chocolate mud cake. I secured the arms onto the sides of the body with a few toothpicks. This part was rather tricky because this extra cake for some reason was not as dense as the others. It started to crumble and became very delicate to work with.
- Next were the legs. There was not enough of the extra chocolate mud cake left for me to cut out shapes for the legs and feet but there was enough of it and other off cuts to make a truffle mix. With the truffle mix, I moulded the legs and feet. I secured the legs and feet together with some buttercream and stuck them to the bottom of the body and secured them with toothpicks.
- Last to shape was the nose. I moulded a nose shape with the last of the white chocolate truffle mix, and secured it with, you guessed it, toothpicks, onto the face with a little bit of buttercream.
- I covered the cake with glad wrap and refrigerated it for a whole day.
How I decorated the cake:-
- I made a small batch of chocolate buttercream to use as a crumb coat.
- With the cake nice and firm and cold from the fridge, I began to crumb coat it with the chocolate buttercream. Once the cake was covered entirely with the buttercream, I placed it back in the fridge for another hour so the icing/buttercream would set slightly.
- For the white patches, I used a ready-made white icing or fondant. I rolled and flattened each shape and stuck them onto the ears, nose and feet.
- I made more chocolate buttercream to use as the teddy bear’s fur. I filled a disposable piping bag and used the smallest star tip I could find at home. It’s no. 27 from the d.line range.
- To make the icing look like fur, I gently squeezed the bag onto the cake (I started from the feet up), pulled up and away quickly in different directions. This took me a while to do and it caused parts of the buttercream to split from the warmth of my hands – you can see it on the picture below. But at least from far away, you couldn’t really tell.
- Once the cake was covered entirely with the icing, I stuck on the eyes and nose. I made a little groove on the patch for the nose first before I stuck on the nose. The eyes are made of dark chocolate covered coffee beans and the nose is dark chocolate covered almond.
- For a little bit of a tatty bear effect, I added the small patch of fondant on the head and back.
Finally, Mr. Teddy Bear cake was about a foot tall and very heavy. A little amateur-ish with the use of toothpicks but I really didn’t know how else I could make the parts stay in place. I am also a little disappointed that I didn’t bake the cake myself, but had time permitted, then I would have definitely baked as soon as I knew I could.
So, not bad for a first attempt right? It’s not often that I’m all smiles when I look at something I’ve made, but this one I’m very proud of. It’s not perfect but it’s just right. The best part was when my little birthday boy looked at the cake and couldn’t stop smiling and clapping. It was very much worth it.
Happy 1st Birthday Little Jakey Bear! xxx