Surprise a Minecraft fan with this beautiful three-layer birthday cake decorated with buttercream petals in Minecraft colors.
The kiddo had a birthday last month. He turned 8 years old! And as I think out aloud each year, where on earth does the time fly? How is it that he is on the halfway mark to 16 already?
After a couple of back-to-back Pokemon birthdays, he wanted a Minecraft birthday this year, complete with a Minecraft cake…ahem. Now if you know me well enough, you would know how stressed layer cakes and frosted cakes make me. I love cakes, but the rustic kind. You know, simple vanilla or chocolate cakes with a lazy drizzle of ganache on top, upside down fruit cakes or tangy-sweet citrus cakes lightly dusted with sugar. That is about all my cake skills. But like clockwork, every September, I take it upon myself to dish out a full-scale birthday cake.
Over the years, I have picked up a couple of tips and tricks for DIY birthday cakes. The toppers are almost always mini toy figures, which also double up as gifts. I am yet to get into the rolled fondant bandwagon. I think toys work just fine. And when it comes to frosting, I am a classic girl. It’s buttercream for me all the way. Nothing says birthday cake like light as air, sweet, fluffy buttercream. And over the years, I have also come to embrace the imperfections in our birthday cakes. I think it’s kind of adorable!
We kept the birthday decor simple this year and the focal point was this large Minecraft Creeper face wall decor made with paper plates. I cannot take credit for this idea, it is there all over the internet. The kiddo found it really cool, so I’d say it worked!
Now, the Minecraft birthday cake details. To make your job easier while decorating birthday cakes, especially layer cakes, pick out a cake recipe that is moist yet firm. I decided on a three layer cake with chocolate-vanilla-chocolate layers. My favorite chocolate cake recipe that is moist and gooey (really, the bestest chocolate cake ever), unfortunately wouldn’t hold well while being stacked and frosted. So I was on the hunt for a firmer chocolate cake and I chanced upon a recipe from Epicurious that sounded promising. And for the vanilla layer, I turned to my trusty yellow cake recipe.
For the frosting and decoration, I decided to do petal frosting buttercream in three colors – brown (chocolate), dark and light greens. It’s not perfect, but I think it turned out kind of cute.
Always allow ample time for making such big cakes. It is preferable to bake and chill the cakes a day prior to when you need them. I feel this makes it easier to frost the cake. Read my post DIY Birthday Cake Tips & Tricks for a comprehensive guide on baking a birthday cake if you are just an occasional home baker like me. It’s not rocket science, if I can do it, anyone can.
Here’s how I made this Minecraft birthday cake.
- All-purpose flour - 2 cups
- Unsweetened cocoa powder - ⅔ cup
- Baking soda - 1½ tsp
- Salt - ½ tsp
- Unsalted butter - 1 cup, softened
- Dark brown sugar - 1 cup, packed
- Granulated sugar - ¾ cup
- Eggs - 4 large, at room temperature
- Semi-sweet baking chocolate - 2 oz, melted and cooled
- Vanilla extract - 1½ tsp
- Buttermilk - 1½ cups
- All purpose flour - 1½ cups
- Baking powder - 1¼ tsp
- Salt - ½ tsp
- Granulated sugar - 1 cup
- Unsalted butter - ½ cup, softened
- Eggs - 2 large, at room temperature
- Vanilla extract - ¾ tsp
- Milk - ½ cup
- Unsalted butter - 2 cups
- Powdered sugar - 8 cups, sifted
- Vanilla extract - 2 tsp
- Salt - a big pinch
- Milk - as needed
- Unsweetened cocoa powder - 2 tbsp, sifted
- Green food coloring gel or liquid - as needed
- Chocolate Cake: Pre-heat oven to 350 deg.F. Grease (with butter or a neutral oil) two 9" round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Grease and flour pans liberally, tapping out excess flour. Set aside.
- Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together for a few minutes till light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes on high-speed.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add melted chocolate and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
- Add buttermilk and dry ingredients alternately in three batches, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat until batter is smooth and just combined.
- Divide batter among the prepared cake pans, smooth the tops, and tap pans on countertop to get rid of any air bubbles.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the cakes pass the toothpick test. Remove from oven and rest cakes for 10 minutes. Lightly run a knife around the edges, invert cakes onto a wire rack and cool completely.
- Yellow Cake: Pre-heat oven to 350 deg.F. Grease (with butter or a neutral oil) one 9" round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour pan liberally, tapping out excess flour. Set aside.
- Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar on high-speed until light in color. Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat until thoroughly combined.
- Add milk and dry ingredients alternately to the batter, beating well after each addition, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Continue beating one minute to make the batter smooth.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and tap the pan on the counter-top to get rid of any air bubbles.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test. Remove from oven and rest cake for 10 minutes. Lightly run a knife around the edges, invert cake onto a wire rack and cool completely.
- Buttercream Frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth.
- Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, 1-2 cups at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl often to incorporate all the sugar. When all the sugar has been added, icing will be thick and a bit dry. Adding milk, a little at a time, beat to get a fluffy, soft consistency.
- Add vanilla extract and salt and mix well to combine.
- Beat the frosting on high for at least 2-3 minutes, adding a little more powdered sugar or milk to adjust the consistency as you go. The frosting should be fluffy, thick and smooth, able to hold its shape if you pick some up on a spoon or small spatula.
- If not using immediately, cover the frosting with cling wrap touching its surface. Cover the bowl with a tight-fitting lid and chill in the refrigerator till ready to use. You can whip the frosting again till fluffy after bringing it to room temperature.
- If using immediately, divide the frosting into four parts. Take two parts in one small bowl and add green food coloring gel to get a dark shade. This part will be used for the crumb-coat, the top and the petals.
- To another part of frosting, add green food coloring gel to make a lighter shade. Remember that frosting color will deepen as it sets.
- To the last part, add cocoa powder and beat till combined well. If it appears to have thickened, add a few drops of milk and beat well.
- Frosting the cake: Add a small blob of darker green frosting in the middle of a cake stand. Place a layer of chocolate cake on it. Spread about ⅓ cup of frosting on top. Place the yellow cake layer on top and repeat frosting. Place the second chocolate cake on top. Thinly frost the top and sides of the whole cake. This is your crumb coating. Chill the cake until crumb-coat is firm. You can also chill it overnight.
- Once chilled, it is time to frost the cake with the petal effect. Take the three colors of frosting in three piping bags.
- On the side of the cake, place dots of frosting in alternating colors, one below the other. Using a clean spoon or tiny offset spatula, gently swipe a dot to the side. Repeat for all colors, making sure to use separate spoons for each color or wiping the spoon after each swipe.
- Repeat the dotting and swiping till you cover the entire cake. Make sure to follow the correct order of colors for the petals to get the desired graduated color effect.
- For the top, you can either frost petals or simply add the remaining green frosting and smooth with a spatula. I also piped some leftover chocolate frosting at the edges.
- Place Minecraft mini figures or other cake decorations and a candle on top, and your Minecraft birthday cake is ready to party!
2. The correct amount of green food gel needed is a matter of personal preference. Start with a small amount and build up the colors to your liking. Make sure to have one color very much lighter than the other for a cool petal effect.
3. You can divide the frosting into any number of parts and make multi-colored rainbow cakes.
4. Always have extra powdered sugar and milk on hand to adjust the consistency of your buttercream frosting.
5. The prep time given here does not reflect the cake chilling time, so plan accordingly. Also, the time taken for decoration will depend on your skill level. Make sure everything is ready and within reach before you start decorating.
How fun is this green and brown Minecraft birthday cake! Perfect for the little birthday boy here who was absolutely thrilled with it!! I hope you will make this for a Minecraft fan in your life or take this idea and use it for other cakes. Do tag me on socials (@happyandharried) if you try it.
Don’t forget to PIN & SAVE this cake idea and recipe for a loved one.
Do you make your own birthday cakes? Do you love the process or do you get stressed by it? Have any genius shortcut hacks? Do share.
Meanwhile, check out my other recipes and ideas for boy birthday cakes here.
- Condensed milk vanilla cake with Nutella buttercream.
- Pokemon birthday cake (yellow layer cake with chocolate buttercream).
- Power Rangers birthday cake (chocolate layer cake with vanilla buttercream).
- Race car themed birthday cake (with whipped cream frosting).
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I am sharing this over at Fiesta Friday.