So you need a Mickey Mouse birthday cake but don't know where to start? I promise that this is one of the easiest novelty cakes there is to make or construct. That's right, even if you have no baking prowess whatsoever I will show you how to make a Mickey cake that would even make Minnie smile.
It's entirely possible to make something as fancy as the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, or maybe you'd prefer a Mickey face that you can make from store bought cakes and frosting?
Mickey Mouse Face Cake
You can of course cheat and purchase or lease a Mickey shaped tin to get you off on the right track, and then all you need to do is decorate it. Many stores that sell cake decorating supplies will have them to lease for a few days, or purchasing might be worthwhile depending on the price and how many Mickey's you are likely to make.
TIP: A Mickey shaped tin can also be used for making Minnie Mouse cakes, you just need to add a bow at the decoration stage.
Alternatively you could just bake a large round cake and two smaller cakes and fit them together to get much the same shape. Cut off a small section at the bottom of each of the smaller cakes so it can fit more easily against the edge of the larger cake.
DO NOT WORRY if there are gaps; this will be covered by frosting.
WHAT'S A CRUMB COAT? It's a thin layer of frosting spread over the cake that is then left to set. You then have a protective coat around it for when you start decorating and no crumbs will make their way onto the surface to ruin the decoration. (The one pictured is from a bunny cake and is just to illustrate what a crumb coat looks like).
You can then decorate the cake with frosting as you wish. The one pictured above has used baby blue, but this could really be any color to suit, and you could just spoon on the frosting and use a spatula to even it out, so don't worry if you don't have a piping bag.
On the Mickey cake pictured, the face has been given more detail by laying on some fondant icing in the relevant shape, and then the details have been iced over the top. You can read more about working with fondant icing and gum paste in the next section.
Round Cake with Mickey on Top
Getting Started with some Basic Techniques
Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scott06/6021827821/sizes/z/in/photostream/The beauty of Mickey Mouse in terms of design is that you don't even need to be that detailed for the Mickey ears to be noticed. So this could be a good place to start if you are lacking in time. Basically, you need to get a single round cake, or two cakes where one is slightly bigger than the other, and cover them in fondant icing.
Fondant icing (also known as regalice, gum paste or sugar dough) can be purchased ready bought; there are even those that are ready-rolled or ready colored. Unless you are planning on making a lot of novelty cakes in the future, I would stick to the ready colored stuff. Otherwise you need a few pots of food coloring paste - red, yellow and black at the minimum for a Mickey cake, but blue and green could come in useful too.
TIP: If you are really short of time or can't find the colored icing just stick to white to cover the cake. You can always add splashes of color by painting food color onto the icing once it's dried (dilute with clear alcohol first).Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cupcakesanddreams/4169077961/sizes/m/in/photostream/
Make sure that your cakes have flat tops - trim if necessary with a serrated knife. Cover it in buttercream or a frosting of your choice, relatively thinly -- you just need enough to act as a glue for the fondant icing.
Next use a rolling pin and your arms to drape the rolled icing over and place it over the cake. Work your way round, smoothing down and easing out creases as you go. Once it's finished you can trim off the excess at the bottom with a small sharp knife.
DO NOT WORRY if you get creases or the odd crack. You can often ease these over by working it with your thumb to make it join, or else it can be covered up with some Mickey ears or suitable decoration afterwards.
A basic Mickey design can merely consist of the iconic ears image, which is basically a large circle, with two smaller circles on top and overlapping the larger circle a bit. You can cut these out freehand from some rolled gum paste fondant, pipe them out using frosting, or create a template on paper or card and use that to cut around.
You can then stick these symbols around the cake - I use egg white, but frosting works too if you have any spare.
To top off the cake you could either cut a larger version of the Mickey ears shape, mold one from fondant using the circles method mentioned before, or else find a suitable Mickey decoration to place on top.
Why Not Try? A cute addition might be to add a tail to the cake if you have any leftover black fondant. Or add yellow shoe shapes, or buttons around the bottom of the cake.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Shaped Cake
How on earth are you going to achieve this, I hear you ask! Well, actually it's not as fiddly as some of the smaller techniques we looked at above; you just need to understand a little about the cake's construction. If we take it section by section, it isn't too difficult.
If you need to create a nice round shaped cake, then there are tins that are shaped that way, but I tend to just use a couple of ovenproof bowls. You can then trim them as necessary and stick the two together with a nice thick layer of frosting to create a round shape -- this is certainly how I would do it for the Mickey's head part of the clubhouse.
However, you could just as easily create this by rolling a large amount of fondant into a ball shape if the cake you are making is relatively small.
To finish off the head, definitely use black fondant and mold into ear shapes. Press a toothpick into the bottom of each ear until half of the pick is exposed, and then press this into the cake. Use more toothpicks if needed.
TIP: You can also use cocktail sticks or dried spaghetti to keep small elements in place on a cake. To keep larger elements supported (such as the head) you will need a plastic or wooden dowel. This then goes through the bottom of the head into the body and should keep the head in position.
For the body, I would make one round cake, with a bowl cake on top and then cover with fondant.
The other elements such as the shoes, hand and tail I would definitely just mold from fondant. You can mix in some powdered gum tragacanth into the fondant to make it set more firmly and stay in place. Again, glue everything into place using egg white.
TIP: For items like the tail, you can use a piece of bath sponge to support it and hold it into position until the egg white glue has dried.
To complete your Mickey Mouse birthday cake, and give it a professional looking finish, you can add some neat touches by using some cake decorating tools; items you already have in the kitchen will do. For example, either end of a spoon, a grater, a piping nozzle, cocktail sticks, dried spaghetti, or just a plain old knife.
Graters and piping nozzles are great for adding texture to grass, whereas the others can create nice smiles, stitch detailing on buttons, or grooves on the bottom of a shoe.
Now you are left with one amazing looking cake that looks so good no one wants to eat it!
You might also like to consider making some Mickey or Minnie cupcakes to either supplement a larger cake (sending guests home with one in a party bag) or instead of a larger cake, if you are lacking in time. There are some great Disney cupcake kits around that have all the necessary Mickey themed cupcake cases and sprinkles to take the hassle out of the occasion too.
Any questions? Please leave a comment below.