How To Make A Plane Cake For Your Child's Birthday

Five kids at a birthday party wearing party hats, smiling and excited for the airplane cake.
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Image © pressfoto, under a Creative Commons license.

Take your birthday cakes to new heights with this airplane cake recipe.

If you've been tasked with hosting a airplane theme party, then a jet plane cake should be the centre of your celebrations. This airplane cake is shaped from just one cake and the fondant topping can disguise all manner of bumps so it's hard to get this one wrong.

This airplane cake can be made from a regular sponge if you wish, but for our recipe below, we've gone for a caramel mud cake. It's so simple to bake the cake itself that you can get the kids involved too, though you may like to leave the trickier decorations for when they're occupied by other plane activities. There's plenty of stirring for toddlers to get involved with but do ensure they're supervised at all times. They could also help with the icing of this airplane cake, or give them a bag of marshmallows and get them to decorate the cake board with 'clouds' to surround your airplane cake.

Get ready for cake off!

Three-tiered blue cake with an orange airplane on top.
Image © luciana_ferraz, under a Creative Commons license.

Ingredients:

For The Cake: 200g butter, cubed, 200g white chocolate, chopped, 200g muscavado sugar, 180ml hot water, one tablespoon golden syrup, two teaspoons vanilla extract, two eggs, 150g plain flour, 150g self raising flour, butter for greasing.

For The Filling: 200g double cream, 200g white chocolate.

For The Decoration: One block of blue and two blocks of white fondant icing, red gel icing pens, small quantity of black fondant icing.

Method:

1) Preheat your oven to 160c/140c fan/gas mark three. Grease and line a circular 22cm cake pan.

2) Place the butter, white chocolate, sugar, golden syrup, water and vanilla in a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until smooth. Leave to cool for 20 minutes.

3) Add your eggs, beating into the cake mix one at a time. Sift in your flours and use a wooden spoon to stir well.

Cupcakes with a decorative, icing airplane stuck in one and an icing cloud in the other.
Image © jitchanamont, under a Creative Commons license.

4) Pour your cake batter into the cake tin and bake for 50-60 minutes. Check it's cooked by inserting a skewer, if it comes out clean it's cooked. Leave in the tin for 20 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Then transfer your cake to the fridge to chill.

5) Make a white chocolate ganache filling to use as glue to build the airplane cake shape. Heat the cream over a medium heat and stir in the chocolate. Keep mixing until the chocolate melts, then leave to cool and firm up before you use it.

6) Roll out your blue fondant and use it to cover a cake board, securing with a little water.

7) Once the cake is chilled, cut off two small half-moon shapes, leaving you with one rectangle section. Cut triangles from the ends from the half moons and position two at the front and two at the back to create a tapered point at each end of the rectangle. The remaining cake pieces can be used to pad the shape out into a rough airplane, adding some thin layers for height to the rectangle, stacked so they slope down to the tapered ends. Use the white chocolate ganache to stick the pieces in place.

8) Chill the cake again, then use a sharp knife to carefully shape the plane shape further. Work by shaving off thin layers off the side to make it more rounded. Keep the base flat for simplicity. It doesn't need to be perfect as a fondant covering is very forgiving, but aim for a recognisable plane outline.

9) Cover the whole airplane cake in a thin layer of the chocolate ganache. Do a second layer but this time use a palette knife dipped in hot water to smooth it over.

10) Roll out the white fondant and drape it over the plane, smoothing it out and cutting the excess for a neat finish.

Platter of blue, sky-themed cakes and red airplane decorations around the table.
Image © bearmoney, under a Creative Commons license.

11) Use more white fondant to shape two large wings, two smaller wings and the tail wing for the top. Push two cocktail sticks into each piece halfway and leave to harden.

12) Roll out four small sausage shapes from the white icing, which are the same length as the depth of your larger wings. Cut the ends so they're flat and place a small circle of black icing on the ends to create the engines.

13) Carefully position your decorations on the airplane using the cocktail sticks to secure. The two big wings should be roughly centred, with the smaller wings at the back and the tail wing on the top. Use the red icing pen to draw red lines on the edge of the front wings and a stripe on the tail wing. Place two engines under each big wing for support.

14) Finally, cut out tiny squares from the black icing and stick them on the plane using water to look like windows.

Tips And Recommendations

If you're going to be carving any cake to make a 3D shape then it's always best to work with well-chilled cakes. Once it's cooled pop it in the fridge before you attempt shaping it.

Making the fondant wing pieces can be done a few days in advance so they really have time to harden up.

Blue, tiered first birthday cake with a big, red airplane decoration on the wall behind.
Image © bearmoney, under a Creative Commons license.

Alternatives

If attempting to carve a cake into a airplane shape seems daunting, why not make a regular cake and then a plane cake topper? Use white fondant icing to shape the plane body and the wings, and then coloured fondant to make windows, lights, signage and other details. Leave to one side to harden before putting it on your cake.

If you have children with allergies switch the flours for gluten-free varieties and the eggs for eight tablespoons of silken tofu. For a dairy-free airplane cake recipe, use a vegan alternative for the chocolate and butter ingredients.

Good To Know

This airplane cake recipe above serves eight people. If you need a larger birthday cake why not make a big square cake covered in blue fondant for the airplane to sit on?

The plane cake takes around an hour and a half to cook plus another hour to decorate.

The aeroplane cake will keep in an air-tight container for up to five days, Leftovers can be wrapped in double layers of cling film and a layer of foil and frozen for up to two months.

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Disclaimer

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