I made this Panda cake for a baby shower. It was so much fun and it came out better than I expected! I must have changed the design plan three different times before coming to this final one!
Totally worth the effort!
I did all the decorating, and storing of the Panda cake in my VERY cold garage. I had to take many mini breaks to thaw out! It was a timely process, but totally worth it! I really think keeping the frosting cold made all the difference! I had a lot of fun, learned some new tricks, and all the guests thought it was professionally done! They liked the look and taste of the cake- I call that a success!!
Things I learned!
1st- the Wilton 3-d Bear pan is a must for this Panda cake! It is easy to use, and gives the perfect 3-D bear to design! I did a “practice” bear about a week and a half before the final cake was needed and I am so glad I did!! My sample cake was a mess! I followed the directions for the cake and mixed 1 box of regular cake mix and 1 box of pound cake and it came out pretty good. But, when I went to frost the bear, I learned all kinds of things!
2nd- make sure your frosting is cold and stays cold or it will run! A buttercream frosting recipe like in the directions booklet that came with the bear pan is good, but a little too powder sugar tasting. For the final cake I did something different. with a little trial and error, I found a terrific frosting! It holds up well and tastes good! I used the buttercream recipes in the booklet that came with the bear pan, but because I didn’t like the taste, I mixed it with a container of store bought frosting. For the black frosting, I made the chocolate buttercream recipe, than added store-bought vanilla frosting. To make it extra black, I added a whole tube of black gel icing.
3rd- make sure you have a good FLAT bottom and/or stabilize the bear. My practice cake fell face first right after I got it frosted and it was a mess!! Also, the directions that came with the pan say to use a star tip to do the “fur”. This is good, but you really need a very small star tip, and a larger one. I used a #13 tip and a #5 tip and got great results on the final cake. I also left my cakes frozen until I was ready to assemble and decorate.
Don’t let the cake fall!
For the final Panda cake, I made a large round base cake (about 14 inches) and stabilized the bear cake to it by putting wooden bamboo skewer sticks in an “x” pattern through the top of the bear into the bottom cake. It is easy having some hold the bear while another person gently taps the sticks into place. I clipped of the stick that extended through the top with a pair of wire cutters. I found out the hard way that you should frost the bottom round cake BEFORE you attach the bear cake since doing it afterward leaves some hard spots to frost!
Frosting the cakes!
After stabilizing the bear cake to the round cake, I frosted all the cakes. I followed the instruction booklet that came with the bear pan for the bear, but used the small star tip around the eyes. I also used a small sixlet decorating ball for the eye. Since the larger star tip leaves some gaps, I went back after using the large tip and filled in noticeable gaps with the small tip. For the bottoms of the feet I cut small circles from the edible decorating paper and added white frosting accents then applied to the paws according to the directions that came with the decorating paper.
Making the paw bottoms
Adding Details to the Panda Cake
The cube was made from a 6×6 square cake pan. I cut out a 3 inch square twice and stacked them, then covered with fondant. Make sure your pieces are very square! I decorated using white sugar balls and various decorative items that I applied with a little bit of frosting.
Around the edge of the base cake, I added pirouette stick cookies in varying sizes and then wrapped with coordinating ribbon. I pinned the ends of the ribbon so they would stay together.
Finally, I added a cute kids hair bow to the Panda cake (which the mom-to-be got to keep for the new baby), added a few fondant flowers around the edges and at the back of the cake (behind the bears rump), and inserted some greenery in random places to look like leaves. I used plastic aquarium plants, cut into smaller pieces to make the leaves.
A Panda Cake Worth the Effort
I did all the decorating, and storing of the Panda cake in my VERY cold garage. I had to take many mini breaks to thaw out! It was a timely process, but totally worth it! I really think keeping the frosting cold made all the difference! I had a lot of fun, learned some new tricks, and all the guests thought it was professionally done! They liked the look and taste of the Panda cake – I call that a success!
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