When my son turned 8 he wanted a rainforest animals cake. I have always vowed to make my kids’ birthday cakes.  My older son loves to try to challenge me by coming up with very interesting and time-consuming ideas, but art is my passion so I embrace every minute of it.  Besides, the look on his face is gratification enough.  I even took the day off work to work on this cake (and many others)!

I started coming up with ideas for his rainforest cake and scanning books for pictures of animals that I thought I could make out of fondant.

I decided to make a two tier cake with the top tier slightly smaller and set back on the cake.  On top of that I set an upside down cupcake to serve as a sort of hill where the river/waterfall started.

I covered the whole cake in buttercream then decorated with lots of buttercream leaves and a river/waterfall going down one side of the cake.

Out of fondant I created a toucan, jaguar head, rocks, leaves, tree trunks and a sloth to hang from the trees.  I formed all the animals and let them harden.  Then I used Wilton icing colors to paint them the vibrant rainforest colors.

I scattered the rocks around the river and put the toucan on the tree.  The jaguar is peeking out of the leaves (so I didn’t have to make an entire jaguar!) and the sloth is hanging from the trees.  That little bugger did not want to stay on his trees.  I was so frustrated and had tried everything: more icing, toothpicks, etc., so I finally hot glued him on (covered the glue with more leaves) and just warned everyone not to eat him!

As soon as my son saw his cake, he was so excited and already coming up with his idea for the following year’s cake!