How to Make a Dora Birthday Cake: Fun and Simple
Creating a Dora Cake
My youngest daughter recently turned two, and so I began brainstorming for a cake idea. She loves Dora, of course, so naturally this theme popped into my mind. I formed an idea for a Dora cake before doing any research on the internet. Then, I began my research to see if I could find tutorials or additional fun ideas for her Dora cake. I found plenty of Dora cake toppers, party favors, and such. Some cakes were made from a Dora pan of her head or body shape. Some cakes used figurines as I planned to do too. I also saw a pretty amazing Dora birthday cake which was more than entertaining to watch, though I must admit I can't imagine going to such lengths to design a birthday cake complete with moving characters and musics. Wowsers! I like to make creative homemade birthday cakes without spending very much extra money (all the extravagant toppers) and expending too much effort (I decorated this entire cake with icing and cupcakes).
In the end I created my own cake plan which I based on the formula of the show. Any parent with a Dora lover in their home or simply a 2-5 year old probably knows a line with variations that goes something like this: "We have to go over the bridge through acorn forest to get to Benny's Barn!" And so I decided to design my own Dora obstacle course. I planned mine based I what I could easily design without going to too much effort. Take a look and from there I will give you some step by step directions for creating this exact cake with guidelines for your own.
Easy Step by Step Dora Cake Directions
1. First purchase some Dora figurines. We already had these in our home as a travel toy for the girls, so I already had them on hand. They are small, inexpensive and the perfect size for a birthday cake. If you have to purchase them for the cake consider them as additional birthday gifts for your child as they can play with them after the cake is disassembled. These are (though I only paid $10-12). You can check out cheap the ones I used figurine options on Ebay, too. I would say the main characters you want are Dora and Boots. Any extras are just for fun.
2. Then, make a "map" idea for your cake. I decided my Dora obstable course would look like this: "Go up the hill, over the bridge, to the Super Birthday Cake!" Yours may vary depending on your figurines or props. The rest of the directions assume you are using the same basic layout as I did.
3. Bake a 9x13 cake plus at least 3 extra cupcakes. I basically made 1 1/2 times the batter recipe, so that I could make one cake plus six cupcakes. I planned to use 2-3 cupcakes, and thought a few extras can be saved in case of trial and error mistakes. If I had leftovers we could icing and eat them, too.
4. Once the cake and cupcakes are cooled, plot your map on the cake surface with your cupcakes. I put one cupcake in the upper corner that would act as a "Super Birthday Cake" Dora was trying to find. I place the bridge in the middle of the cake and the hill in the opposite lower corner as the "cake." I placed them on the 9x13 cake to begin a basic layout.
To make the hill: Cut off the top of the cupcake (the part that extends above the cupcake tin that looks like a mushroom top) and place in the corner of the cake. Then cut out a small piece of cupcake from what is left, experimenting with the size until you get a semi-dome look when placed on top of the cupcake top. Icing will blend in the rest.
To make the bridge: Cut the top off of a cupcake and use only the bottom half (that is usually covered with a cupcake liner). Cut the bottom half in half (vertically, from top to bottom) so that you have two half circle pieces. Lay the two pieces side by side on the cake to create an arch (rounded part faced out and up) to make a bridge.
5. Make icing. I made a full recipe of vanilla buttercream icing, and then a half recipe of chocolate icing for the brown icing color I would need. Then divy up the vanilla icing in bowls for various colors. The majority of my icing needed to be green. Only a small amount needed to be dyed blue and purple. I chose purple to write the birthday message and to decorate the "Super Birthday Cake" cupcake, but that color is completely optional. I also used the brown chocolate icing for the road.
6. Start by drawing lines with blue icing for a river that appears to go under the bridge. I used a small round icing tip (used for writing) to make the outline. Also, I filled the lines in with my small round icing tip as well which helped me stay in the lines. Then I carefully and softly spread the icing with a butter knife for a smooth look.
7. Next draw the road with the chocolate icing that would extend from the hill over the bridge and to the birthday cupcake. I used the lines made from my small round icing tip, filled it in and smoothed with a knife, the same as indicated above with the river. I lifted up the "hill" and "birthday cupcake" as needed to complete the road and make it all stick to the cake.
8. Icing the bridge. I used a ribbed basket weave icing tip (it has a flat wider nozzle with striped indentations to give a textured look). You could simply spread the chocolate icing over the cupcake bridge and then take a fork to create textured lines. I went back later with a toothpick and make deeper crevices every half inch or less until the lines touched the cupcake below to make it appear more like planks of wood. This really made it look more like a bridge. I didn't icing the sides of the bridge because I thought it gave a nice "dark tunnel" look.
9. Slather the "hill" with green icing using a butter knife (adding sprinkles if desired) until the hill has a smooth completed look.
10. Decorate the birthday cupcake. I decorated in purple icing with a number 2 for her 2nd birthday. I placed the candles here for her to blow out, and then we removed the cupcake and gave it to her as her special piece of cake.
11. Then, fill in the rest of the 9x13 cake with green icing for grass. I really liked drawing lines with my icing tip first to help me "stay in the lines" so to speak and for detailed parts that a butter knife could not accommodate. For large areas I used a butter knife to spread the icing.
12. Finally, write the Birthday Message in the bottom right where the most flat space exists. Icing done!
13. Last, I added the Dora characters figurines. I chose to put Swiper hiding in the background. Dora nearest to the "super birthday cupcake" to draw attention to the cupcake, and Boots on top of the bridge for a fun centered effect. You could place your figurines anywhere.
14. Optional: Make Signs. At the last minute (and not as "perfect" as I would like), I grabbed some paper, markers, and toothpicks to make signs that describe the cake path. You can see in the picture, "Up the hill... Over the bridge... to Meg's Super Cake!" I actually liked the signs, especially with guests who may not be as familiar with Dora.
Fourteen steps may look like a lot, because there are many little details to the cake. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised how easily the cake came together. Sometimes I have an idea in mind, but I'm not sure how it will translate into reality. Well, the final result of this cake got rave reviews from the birthday girl and her guests. Perfecto!
Other Similar Dora Birthday Cakes
Below are just a few cake other cake ideas with a similar layout. The first one is more geared toward boy Dora fans. The second requires more work than I would probably want to do, but at the same time has ideas to glean from. For example, they made Dora's house out of graham crackers that they then decorated with icing. What a cute and simple idea! Another cake I saw make trees out of sugar cones places upside down and covered in green icing. The last link gives other cute ideas and figurine suggestions as well. Dora cake possibilities are endless.
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