The Best Tiger Cake Recipe For Jungle Themed Birthdays

A whole table of jungle-themed cakes and sweet treats.
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Image © Vidal Balielo Jr., under a Creative Commons license.

There's nothing like the delicious smell and taste of homemade baking wafting through the house, and when it comes to birthdays, that makes a party all the more special.

Sponge cake is a great option because you can adapt your fillings, icing, and decorations to suit your child and their friends. Marble cakes may look complicated, but you'll have no trouble following the instructions for this funky animal striped tiger cake. Extra bowls and layering are all that's needed to turn the ingredients below into a cake fit for jungle royalty.

It's time for the tiger to be king of the jungle with this chocolate orange cake that'll be ready to decorate in no time. Will you make icing models to put on top? Cut out features using ready to roll icing to give your tiger cake a face? Or have you another decorating plan? Whichever way you decide to go, happy birthday baking!

How To Make A Tiger Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 60 minutes

Serves: 12

Jungle-themed cupcakes with little zebra figures on top.
Image © Vidal Balielo Jr., under a Creative Commons license.

Ingredients:

For The Chocolate Orange Sponge Mixture:

  • All-purpose flour (320g)
  • Baking powder (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • Bicarbonate of soda ( 3/4 teaspoon)
  • Sugar (280g)
  • 3 Eggs
  • Full-fat yoghurt (500g)
  • Olive oil (150ml)
  • Salt (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Freshly ground nutmeg (just a pinch)
  • Orange essence (1 teaspoon)
  • Food colouring (orange and black)

For The Chocolate Orange Frosting:

  • Softened butter (150g)
  • Sifted icing sugar (300g)
  • Melted orange flavoured chocolate (157g)
  • Double cream or milk (2-3 tablespoons)

Extra Items:

  • Ready to roll orange and black icing
  • Jam
  • 2 x 8-inch cake tins for baking
  • 3 Bowls
  • Rolling pin
  • Mixing spoon, tablespoon, teaspoons
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Spatula
Raw baking ingredients ready to be mixed into batter.
Image © moiranazzari, under a Creative Commons license.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to  175 ̊c and grease both baking trays with butter, margarine, or baking spray, then line with parchment and set aside.
  2. Using a whisk mix together olive oil, eggs, sugar, orange essence, and yoghurt. To the liquid mix add flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and nutmeg. Stir well until the mix is free of lumps.
  3. Get two further bowls and divide the cake batter equally between them. Leave one plain, then add orange food colouring to one bowl, and black to the other. Mix the batter well until it's fully coloured.
  4. Alternate between the coloured batters, spooning layers on top of each other in the cake tins (black, orange, black, orange, white)
  5. When all the batter is used, place the tins in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes. Check the sponge near the end of the cooking time, and cover with foil if it starts to brown.
  6. Use a thin skewer to test the cake, and if it comes out crumb-free, transfer your sponges to a wire rack.
  7. While your tiger cake layers are cooling, make up the frosting to go in the middle.
  8. When the cake layers have cooled, spread some of the frosting on top of one cake layer, placing the other neatly on top.
  9. Spread the remainder of the frosting around the outside of the cake to help the icing stick.
  10. Roll out the orange ready to roll icing until it's thin enough to cover all of your tiger cake. Place over the cake and neaten and press down lightly so it sticks to the frosting. Trim off any excess at the bottom with a knife.
  11. Roll out the black icing fairly thin, and cut out some stripes for your tiger birthday cake.
  12. Lightly spread a little jam on each stripe and press them on top of the orange icing to finish your tiger cake.
  13. Your finished cake will have a marbled animal print effect in the middle, and colourful striped iced and decorated top. Store in an airtight tin until your kids birthday party, then enjoy.
Jungle animal themed cupcakes, one with an icing tiger face on it.
Image © envasa, under a Creative Commons license.

How To Make Your Sponge A 3D Tiger Cake

One of the best things about sponge cakes is there are so many different ways to decorate them. If you are looking for something a bit more detailed than an easy tiger stripe decoration, then there are several ways you can make your cake a 3D tiger. Follow the same recipe and method as above, then you could:

  • Replace the orange icing with green to create a grassy jungle floor, then use the orange and black icing to create small tiger models to sit on top of the cake, which can be secured with icing or jam. This is an easy activity for your children to help out with. If you have time you could also create some rocks, trees or leaves to create a landscape for your fun models to explore.
  • Instead of pressing the tiger stripes flat into the cake, you could double layer them, and the ears, eyes,  nose, and mouth, to raise them up a little off the cake. Cut some ears thick enough so that they will stand up, then fix in place by folding over the bottom and sticking on with frosting or jam.
  • How about some shopping? when you're buying your ingredients you could also shop for some icing sugar and a tiger face stencil, or a food-safe tiger silicone mould to place your orange chocolate batter in.

Tips

  • Most cakes can be frozen, but you would need to freeze the day you bake, and just place the unfrosted and decorated sponge in the freezer. Typically you can freeze a sponge for up to 3 months.
  • Children can help with some mixing and learn about weighing from quite a young age, it's up to you to decide when your children are ready to help with mixing spoons, and decoration, but they could be budding bakers as early as 4/5 years old.
  • The main allergens to be aware of in this recipe are gluten (in flour) and dairy. If anyone attending the birthday party has any allergies, you can source allergy-friendly sponge cake recipes online, and adapt so you still have tiger cake decorations.
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Disclaimer

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