Image © Elly Fairytale, under a Creative Commons license.
If your child is a fan of anything to do with construction and lorries, you can impress them with this easy digger cake recipe for their birthday party.
This project looks impressive but is actually really fun and simple to recreate! You will just have to make two chocolate cakes and decorate them to make them look like a building site.
This homemade digger cake is perfect for any occasion: just add candles into your construction scene and you have the ideal birthday cake for kids.
What You Need:
For the cake: 250g self-raising flour, 250g caster sugar (sifted), 250g unsalted butter, 3 eggs, 150g yoghurt, 50ml milk, 50g cocoa powder, 2tsp baking powder, 1tsp vanilla extract.
For the buttercream: 200g unsalted butter (softened), 300g icing sufar, 2tbsp cocoa powder, 2tbsp milk, 1tsp vanilla extract.
For decoration: Plastic toy diggers, lorries and trucks (or coloured fondant icing if you are going to make your own: yellow, black, white, grey), a packet of KitKat fingers or other chocolate waffles, some colourful sweets like Smarties or M&Ms.
Equipment: A large cake board or a large flat plate, two 20cm cake tins, a palette knife (optional), an electric whisk.
Kids aged two and over can help you combine the dry ingredients and whisk up the batter (with supervision of course!). They can also help you make cake crumbs and decorate the digger cake, and have fun choosing which toys to add to the building site.
1) Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease your cake tins with a bit of softened butter.
2) Melt the butter in a saucepan. Take it off the heat and add the milk, the yoghurt, vanilla extract and the eggs. Beat with a whisk or a fork.
3) Mix the dry ingredients together into a bowl and add a pinch of salt. Whisk them together until they are well combined.
4) Tip the wet ingredients from the saucepan into the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk until you obtain a smooth batter with no lumps.
5) Divide the batter evenly between the two cake tins and smooth the top with a spoon or spatula. Put them on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake them for about 25 minutes. To check if they are ready, insert a knife or skewer into the middle of the cakes: if it comes out clean, it is done.
6) Leave the cakes to cool for ten minutes, then carefully remove them from the tins and place them onto a cooling rack for another ten minutes. Do not handle them until they are properly cooled down, as they might break!
7) While you are waiting for the cakes to cool, make your buttercream. Combine the cocoa and the milk. In a large bowl, put the butter and sift in the icing sugar. Add the cocoa and milk, vanilla, and a small pinch of salt. Using an electric beater, whisk the mixture until it is light and fluffy. If it is too hard, add a teaspoon of milk.
8) Assembly time! Place one cake onto your board or flat plate, then layer it with a quarter of the buttercream. Add the second cake on top, like a sandwich.
9) To make the chocolate cake look like a construction site, cut a crater into the top of the cake with a serrated knife. Remove about a quarter of the top layer of the cake and keep the pieces you remove.
10) Cover the cake with the rest of the buttercream, using a spatula or ideally a palette knife. Make sure the frosting is spread evenly across the surface and sides of the cake!
11) Snap your KitKat fingers or use your chocolate wafers to line the sides of your cake. Snap the end of the wafers to match the height of the cake where you have "excavated".
12) Now it's time to decorate your excavator cake! Make the pieces of chocolate cake you have excavated into crumbs to look like soil; scatter those on top of the hole you have dug in the cake. Place your toy trucks and diggers on top of the cake, next to the crater they have made. Use smarties, cake crumbs or anything else you want to scatter around the building site.
13) If you are making your own diggers, you will need to make shapes out of fondant icing and assemble them to create a 3D digger. Refer to a model or photo to create the digger. Use yellow fondant to shape the cabin and the shovel, grey or black fondant for the wheels, and grey fondant for the windows. If you can't find grey fondant, simply combine white and black fondant together. You can use melted chocolate to bind parts together or draw on small details, using a toothpick. Once you are done, carefully place your fondant digger onto your excavator cake.
Tips And Other Digger Cake Ideas:
You could make this cake using your favourite sponge recipe and flavour it with lemon or vanilla if this is what your child prefers.
If you have children with allergies, you could replace the self-raising flour with a gluten-free alternative like spelt. You can also make the cake dairy-free by using margarine instead of butter and a milk alternative such as oat or almond.
You can make this digger birthday cake up to two days in advance, as long as you store it in a cool place (not the fridge) in an air-tight container.
For decorating your excavator cake, you could use anything that resembles gravel, soil or dirt: minstrels, chocolate sweets, rock candy, etc. Be as creative as you would like!
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