My kids’ birthdays are just 12 days apart, so when we have a birthday party, it’s always a joint party. This year the kids chose the dragon, Smaug, for their joint cake. I baked three graduated rounds of lemon coconut cake. I stacked two of the rounds for the mound of gold and jewels, and shaped the third for Smaug’s body.

His neck, head, legs and tail are made of marzipan. I sprinkled yellow tinted sugar over orange icing to create a beautiful sparkly gold effect on the treasure. I made sparkling candy and poured it into aluminium foil moulds for the wings. I poured the extra candy onto a greased sheet and cut it up for the jewels that stud the treasure.

Just before serving, the neck broke (I think my marzipan was too dry), and he needed emergency repairs. Otherwise, he held up beautifully and was a great hit with kids and parents alike.