Introduction: 3d Dinosaur Birthday Cake

Picture of 3d Dinosaur Birthday Cake

Two nine-inch round cakes, frosting, decorations, and an unquenchable thirst for adventure are all you need.

Step 1: The Raw Materials

Picture of The Raw Materials
  • Two nine-inch round cakes. Cakes made from scratch will be denser and stronger than a cake mix, but you love the Duncan Hines don't you -- just be forewarned that the time you save using a mix will be spent cursing during the frosting crumb coat.
  • Two batches of frosting. We did a butter cream with 50/50 butter/vegetable shortening. Die one batch green. Keep 1/2 of the second batch white and die 1/2 blue.
  • Rolled fondant. We don't know what this stuff is, but we were darn sure we weren't going to make it. Found some multi-colored fondant at Michael's, a big box craft store. Buy the non-stick mini rolling pin while you are at it.
  • Decorations: cinnamon red hot candies for the eyes, candy corn for the tail spikes, chocolate chips for toenails, and toasted coconut for the prehistoric grass.
  • One cardboard cake board, half-sheet size.
  • Frosting pipe tips and bags. Use a star tip. Yes, this makes a difference, so don't skimp here. Really.
  • A partner. Not required, but could speed things up during frosting or at least help pass the time.

Step 2: The Body

Picture of The Body
  • Bake the cakes and cool completely.
  • Take out of pan, and find the center of one cake.
  • Cut the cake in half with a bread knife.
  • Put the two halves together with cuts edges aligned, and place on a work surface as pictured.

Step 3: The Appendages

Picture of The Appendages
Ever heard the advice "measure twice, cut once?" Unless you are a blackbelt paleolithic pastry chef who can think in three dimensions of cake, you will probably want to make a paper template to design the head, legs, and tail. I drew the template below, and you generally want to cut the paper in the same shapes I used. Mouse over the shapes for a description.

  • Cut a 9-inch circle of paper and lay it on top of the second cake. Draw the tail and head in one half, the legs in the other.
  • Cut out the paper pieces and arrange them on your body segment to see how they look. Tweak and repeat as necessary.
  • When you are feeling lucky, carve 'em and stack 'em. Oh, and you may want to fix the head to the body with some toothpicks. Just in case the birthday party gets a little rowdy.
  • Move all pieces to the cake board.
  • Use white frosting to join the body halves together, then join the appendages to the body.
  • Trim the corners and square edges off the feet and shoulders if you like.

Step 4: The Skin

Picture of The Skin
  • Roll the fondant out 1/8 inch thick. Hand cut the fondant with a small knife some diamond shapes for the plates on the dinosaur's back. Detail the plates with a toothpick to give them a ribbed texture.
  • Spread a thin layer of green frosting over the cake. This is called the crumb coat -- and for good reason, as much of the crumbs pull away and get mixed up in the frosting. Use a very light hand on the cut surfaces of cake. Did you use a cake mix instead of making one from scratch? Are you cursing now?
  • Tip: crumb coat one half. Have a partner start piping with the star tip while you finish crumb coating the other half.
  • Use a star tip to pipe on green frosting, then blend in blue for an accent.
  • Stick fondant diamond plates into back. If the frosting does not hold the plates well, stick a toothpick into the plate then stick it into the cake.

Step 5: The Final Touches

Picture of The Final Touches
  • Spread a layer of white frosting on your cake board and toss some toasted coconut around for grass.
  • Add any other finishing touches you like. Candy corn for spikes on the tail, cinnamon candies for the eyes, and chocolate chips for the toes. We made palm trees using tube cookies with fronds of parsley -- this was the first thing every kid wanted so make a small forest if you do it.

Grab the camera and enjoy!


canida (author)2008-04-10

Huge thanks to stwbrry for sharing her templates!
Click here and here to access them directly for download.

linjim830 (author)canida2008-08-23

Can someone tell me where to get the brown shredded coconut? Also how to you hold the body parts together. Thanks so much!

msimon3 (author)linjim8302008-08-25

- toast the shredded coconut on a sheet pan in the oven at 275F until brown - toothpicks!

linjim830 (author)msimon32008-08-27

Thank you!

slugafc (author)canida2008-08-22

Can anyone offer advice on the neck/head?? The head on my "practice" cake crumbled (I made a white cake that was near pound cake density from scratch). What is the extra head piece in the template used for? Also how far in advance should I make the fondant spikes? I want them to be hard enough to use. My son's first birthday party is next weekend!! Thanks!

msimon3 (author)slugafc2008-08-25

Frost the joints of the head pieces to make them sticky, insert a few toothpicks into the top of the neck, and place the head on top. The fondant spikes can made and left out in the air the day before to make them firm. If you live in a hot or humid climate, you may want to dry the fondant on a sheet pan in the oven at a low temp. like 125-150F.

silm (author)2017-04-23

Oh my god what a creation This looks so beautiful. I want to eat this cake.

MaraH11 (author)2017-02-19

Can somepme email me a template for this please.

Mehal Ray (author)2016-10-24

Hi I bake often but new to sculpting. Any body over here care to tell me how many does it serve. Could the cake be made with sponge cake?

Laurat1983 (author)2016-08-07

My little boy loved his dinosaur cake

akwaters made it! (author)2016-05-08

Thanks for great design. I had to simplify the decorations for my non existent icing skills but I think it turned out well. My son loved it so that's the main thing!

KatieH71 made it! (author)2016-04-26

This was a super fun cake to make. My son loved it and so did everyone who ate it! I was a bit skeptical that it would look that good once complete but it was perfect! I piped the spikes out of coloured candy melts instead of using fondant.

amethystlily85 made it! (author)2016-03-17

i had to make the template by hand and i changed the tail so that it came to a point instead of squared off but it turned out AMAZING!! i can't take all the credit, i had a friend help me cut out the pieces and assemble the cake. he also taught me how to fill the piping bag and how to pipe the frosting.

SylviasCakes made it! (author)2016-01-04

I have tweaked the template for this to a 9 inch round cake. Plan to make this for my grandson's 3rd birthday. Here you go.

Dino_apg made it! (author)2015-11-04

Easy to follow instructions and template. Thank you <3

dhamilton2328 (author)2015-11-02

could I please have a template of this email to me?

malinmjaa (author)2015-11-02

Can someone please send me the template for this fantastic cake? :)

Thank you!

BreanneC (author)2015-10-16

Could a template please be emailed to

dhamilton2328 (author)BreanneC2015-11-01

Did you ever get a template?

millcrews made it! (author)2015-08-20

Definitely had a problem with the head, but everything else went swimmingly for me! And, it didn't take as long as I thought it would to put it all together. I think if I had angled the head differently, it might have been okay. Such a great tutorial. Thanks!!!

dhamilton2328 (author)millcrews2015-11-01

Could you possibly send me the template? Im having a hard time downloading the ones here. I would be very greatful!

princessnatty made it! (author)2015-09-26

Thanks for this instructable! Here's my version.

Could you possibly send me the template? Im having a hard time downloading the ones here. I would be very greatful!

BannersT (author)2015-09-25

There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more!

spostbane (author)2015-09-19

It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

millcrews (author)2015-08-20

Geeta99 made it! (author)2015-07-02

I made this for my sons 3rd birthday, the head broke when I was frosting it so ended up laying it down.

Geeta99 made it! (author)2015-07-02


billy.a.vonkampen (author)2015-04-11

This was a really great guide. I made (as close as I could get after running out of room on my pan for a snout :S) a littlefoot cake for my son's 2nd birthday. I wouldn't have been able to do it without this! He is going to FLIP tomorrow!

AnnmariaR made it! (author)2015-03-03

Thank you very much!!! I made this by the seat of my pants yesterday and my now 3-year-old is over the moon with it. I am in the good books big time. Highly recommended. I am a novice baker and it turned out really well at short notice. Highly recommended!

Tricial (author)2015-01-12

Stwbrry, can u please email me the templet? To : thank u.
Do u know a yummy recipe for a vanilla cake?

ManuelF2 made it! (author)2014-12-19

Thanks a million!

I did one for my son's 4th BD, for one day I was the best dad in the world :-)

I simplified a lot, I am not a pro like you... still proud of how it looked like.

ZombieZelda (author)2014-12-12


pudtiny made it! (author)2014-10-14

Here is my cake loosly based on your instructable.

becs1 (author)2014-09-17

I'm going to buy pre-made butter-cream frosting for this - can anybody suggest how much I need of each colour? 1kg tub??

stwbrry (author)2007-06-19

YAY we did it!!! I KEPT MY TEMPLATE. It only took 2 tries to get it right, not too hard, but I can get a copy out to anyone who might want. GREAT INSTRUCTABLE, THANKS!!!!

IceFlamez (author)stwbrry2014-07-18

Can you please send me a copy of your template to ?

Thank you soo much!!

kimgreco (author)stwbrry2012-06-25

Hi would you please send me the template. I am attempting a trail run on this cake wednesday. Thank you

email to


linder1364 (author)kimgreco2012-07-06

could you send me the template? I tried to download the one here and it is very small.

greystone5051 (author)stwbrry2012-06-03

Could I have a copy of the

aspin92 (author)stwbrry2012-03-05


I am going to try and make this cake for my sons 4th birthday. Please can you send me the templates. cheers

cwisener-james (author)stwbrry2011-10-20

I would like a copy of the dinosaur cake template please email,, thanks so much

monitoro (author)stwbrry2011-10-13

could you please send me a copy of the 3d dinosaur template
thank u thanku

SnackFairy (author)stwbrry2011-05-10

I tried to download your template but it keeps printing too large for my 8.5 x 11 paper no matter which size I down load.....I aint going to email you for the template I hope you don't mind.

julesdaniel (author)stwbrry2008-09-20

i was wondering if you could send me a copy of the dinosaur template, the cake looks amazing. My email is

peggysue415 (author)stwbrry2008-08-09

If you still have a copy of the template I would like a copy. Also, if you made the cake did you have any problems with the head staying attached? Thanks

msimon3 (author)peggysue4152008-08-12

Some have mentioned a broken or droopy head, but I think it depends on the cake you use. We reinforced the head just to be sure it would not come apart during transport. To reinforce the head, try sticking 2-3 toothpicks from the top of the head down into the neck, then carefully remove the toothpicks as you serve the cake.

Nancita (author)stwbrry2008-03-31

Hi, My little boy will be 3 years old this saturday, could you please share with me your template, i'll apreciate it!!! Nancy my email

Loyce (author)stwbrry2008-03-26

I would appreciate a copy of the template if you still have it. I am attempting the cake this weekend! Thank you so much!

Ahda09 (author)stwbrry2008-01-16

can i have a copy please!

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