How to Make a Panda Cake - Yummy and Cute Panda Bear Birthday Cake
What do you get when you google panda cake? Well, you might get a photo of a panda bear in a zoo, eating a birthday cake to mark the occasion of its birthday. Such "cakes" are often frozen in ice and made with items that would be nutritious and beneficial for the panda bear. Panda bears eat mainly bamboo so the cake might be made of this and something to supplement it.
Unique children's desserts
On other occasions when you google "panda cake", you should find what I was looking for when I was planning to make a panda cake as a children's dessert.
I took to the internet for inspiration because I knew that others had surely made such a cake.
We often come up with ideas and we know that they are far from original ideas when we find the plethora of like minded individuals across the world online.
Panda cake for 1st birthday cake or other childhood birthdays
Despite the many versions of panda cakes that you can find online, making a panda cake for your child is still a fairly unique idea around the world and this might be a fun conversation starter at a party for example.
While researching panda cakes for some ideas about how the one I was about to bake should look, I stumbled upon a lot of interesting pictures. Some people have such a gift for cake design, it is amazing.
Kung Fu Panda cake
Among the many panda cakes, I also saw many Kung fu panda cakes, based on the hit animated movie here in the USA. I didn't want to go that route with the cake I was baking for my little one but I thought they were certainly interesting.
Some of the cakes I found were so cute and beautiful. Some were hilarious and silly. Being the viewer of photos, I was reminded a lot of the importance of trying to achieve neatness with the cake you are attempting to design especially if you are going to post the photos online to share tips about the cake preparation with others.
A work in progress
I'm still a work in progress with baking frosted and designed cakes as I am not a professional baker but I am learning more and more.
"I'm a mom not a professional [baker]"
One of the panda cake photos I found had the caption "I'm a mom not a professional" for the woman to show that she was trying her best to bake panda cake or panda cupcakes for her little ones with the disclaimer that she was not a professional baker or cake designer. I thought it was funny and relatable for that to be said.
Smoothing the frosting on the cake
In trying to be neat with the cake making, I am learning more and more about smoothing the frosting on the cake. I think this one came out a little better than the last cake I baked in that regard. Please look out for my hub on some of the expert's tips I've learned for achieving a more smooth look with your cake frosting. I tried to take some of the advice and I did see a little difference in the result. I think that if I had even more time on my hands for it, I could have done better. Patience and time are key for that.
Putting your own spin on a panda cake
After looking at the various panda cake photos for inspiration, I was definitely enthusiastic about making the one I wanted to make.
I must admit that I also saw some cakes where I felt "a panda does not look like that" so I even took a look at some real panda bear photos to remind myself of the features.
A few fast facts about panda bears
When I started to look at the actual panda bear photos, I was able to learn a few fast facts about them from Wikipedia for example.
The exotic panda bear
- For starters, I would say do not take it for granted if you were able to see a panda bear in reality. I've seen them at the San Diego zoo in California, USA and I loved the exhibit. There are few panda bears remaining in the world.
- Native to China, panda bears have been considered rare and exotic even to that region and are much loved.
- There is said to be under 2,000 panda bears remaining in China (in the wild and in wildlife reserves) and there are under 30 in the United States (in zoos). Zoos in the USA must pay thousands of dollars to receive a panda bear on loan from China.
There is no doubt that the panda bear is just an adorable looking creature. It is no surprise that you might want it to be the subject for a cake decorating project.
Would you like to make this panda cake?
I was pressed for time but really want to make a cake and not buy one already fully prepared. I did take some short cuts though and you can choose to do the same if you like.
Here is how to make the cake:
- Choose a boxed cake mix of your liking. For this cake, I chose Pillsbury super moist yellow cake mix.
- Additionally, choose a store bought cake frosting of your liking. It must be white or cream in color so I recommend vanilla or cream cheese frosting. I used vanilla frosting.
- Have Hershey's dark chocolate kisses, Oreo or Whonu chocolate sandwich cookies, and Little Debbie's cream filled cupcakes on hand. Set aside. (Alternatively, you can exclude Little Debbie's cupcakes but you will need some kind of cupcake. So, you can choose another brand of prepared cupcake or you can bake some in addition to the larger cake. For this, you can bake from scratch or use a second box of cake mix)
- Preheat your oven and prepare the boxed cake mix according to instructions. I used to 9 inch round pans to make a layered cake.
- My particular cake box's recipe (Pillsbury) called for 3 eggs, 1/3 cup of oil and 1 cup of water to be added to the mix.
- When the cake has been baked and is fully cooled, the pans can be gently flipped over to remove the cake from the pans.
- Next, you will frost the cake, stirring the frosting very well for improved spreading.
- The completely frosted cake is your canvas for decorating the cake like a panda bear.
- You can play around with how you would like your panda cake to look. Perhaps, sketch it or look around online at photos on your own. It is a lot of fun but when you are short on time, you might want to choose simplicity like I did.
- Try using Oreo or Whonu chocolate sandwich cookies for the eyes and put tiny dabs of extra white frosting in the center of each cookie.
- Turn a Little Debbie's cupcake over and press down below the cookie eyes to form the nose and mouth area. You must cover the cupcake with white frosting as well, leaving enough uncovered chocolate cupcake to shape a mouth (see photo).
- The Hershey kiss (one is really all you need) goes on top the frosted Little Debbie's cupcake as the nose (see photo).
- You can use two additional Little Debbie's (or other cupcakes) for the ears of the panda bear cake and cover each cupcake with an Oreo or Whonu chocolate sandwich cookie.