Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Tiki Birthday Cake

Apologies in advance for the quality of the photos in this post. I didn't have a chance to photograph everything in good light.

My brother lived in the East Village in NYC for years. His apartment was a Tiki lounge complete with an authentic Tiki bar and glasse to match. We used to have Tiki cocktail parties where we would make exotic drinks and invite our friends. I still marvel at how many people we could cram into his studio apartment.

Now that he has a house the Tiki theme has been relegated to one room and then spills over into another. I am just happy the fun hasn't been left behind.

There was no question when his birthday came up I had to make this Tiki cake.

Being a Tiki head, of course he loves tropical flavors so I made a coconut layer cake, put homemade mango curd in between the layers, crumb coated it with some leftover buttercream I had in the freezer and covered the cake with homemade fondant. All the pieces on the Tiki face are sculpted from fondant. And I swear it looked a lot better in person than it does in these lousy pictures.

My brother loved his Tiki surprise birthday cake and I was surprised with how delicious the combination tasted. The coconut cake recipe was light and delicious and was perfectly complemented by the mango curd.

Tiki Cake

For the Coconut Cake:  I used this Coconut Layer Cake recipe from All Recipes.

For the Mango Curd: I used this Starfruit Curd recipe from Global Table Adventure as a base and substituted the juice of one large fresh ripe mango for the starfruit.

For the Buttercream: I used what was leftover in my fridge from a batch of Magnolia Bakery's Vanilla Buttercream.

For the Marshmallow Fondant:

  • 1  bag  (14 oz) marshmallows (minis melt easier but you can use regular sized ones as well.)
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 pound of powdered sugar
  • Crisco or shortening
  • plastic wrap or cling film
  • Gel or paste food coloring
  • Cover the inside of a heat safe bowl, a wooden spoon, your mixer's bowl and the dough hook attachment with Crisco or shortening.
  • Place marshmallows and water in the bowl.
  • Microwave the marshmallows for 30 seconds at a time stirring the mixture in between with the wooden spoon.
  • When the mixture is the consistency of Marshmallow Fluff, transfer it to your mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix in the powdered sugar one cup at a time until the fondant is formed..
  • Cover your work surface with powdered sugar and cover your hands with Crisco or shortening.
  • Dump the fondant on the sugared surface and knead the fondant adding more powdered sugar if needed to make it less sticky.
  • Separate the fondant into different parts and color as desired by adding a few drops of gel colors at a time and kneading it in until the color is evenly distributed and you get the color you want. 
  • Wrap each piece in plastic wrap until you use it.
  • Wrap leftover fondant tightly in plastic cling film and store in a zip lock bag.

Making the Tiki Cake:

I used a set of 5" in diameter springform pans to bake the layers in. This recipe made one extra layer than I needed but it was gobbled up with the cake.

After baking and cooling the layers I trimmed them, spread the mango curd in between and then crumb coated the mini cake tower with buttercream.

Most of the fondant was colored brown with paste gel (you could also make chocolate fondant) but I used the process of adding the brown color to leave parts of it swirled in to resemble wood.

The mouth and the nose was sculpted out of the same brown fondant. I used plain white for the eyes and the teeth. The remaining fondant was divided into pieces and colored to make the geometric color patches, the flowers on top, eyeballs, tongue and trim.


  1. I think the cake looks awesome in the photos! I can't get over how high it is and the flavours sound delicious! What a fabulous idea for your brother's birthday.

  2. A truly stylin' delicious-sounding cake. What a fantastic idea for a birthday treat, a cake to match your brother's apartment decor!! Really cool idea.

  3. What a cute idea--and it sounds delicious. I love anything coconut. Paul and I were lucky enough to go to a party a couple of weekends ago where one of the guests was mixing piña coladas from scratch. They were divine.

  4. That cake is perfect madness! He will be thrilled. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  5. Wow... Looks and taste. Your a great sister. Cool pad... much more fun then dragging some old Lazy-Boy around.


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