Instructables

Dinosaur excavation cake

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This year for my birthday cake I wanted something completely different, I wanted to make a cake that could be interactive, fun and tasty. And what's more fun that playing with your food? How about digging through you birthday cake looking for dinosaurs?!

Uncover dinosaurs buried under layers of delicious chocolate with each layer denoting a prehistoric era complete with biscuit and chocolate chunk boulders, a true paleontologist experience! Using your chisel fork you can dig through the 3 major prehistoric periods to find forgotten fossilized friends, like stegosaurus, triceratops and ceratosaurus.

Using a large baking dish to create a large, deep cake, progressively layer lighter colour cake batters over small toy dinosaur* fossils, then bake. Combine the thrill of digging for dinosaurs with a tasty birthday cake, celebrate with a dinosaur excavation cake!


Enough talk, let's bake!

*baking anything into a cake can pose a choking hazard and may cause the buried item to leach deleterious substances into the cake itself. Make sure your items are appropriate and always inform your guests if there is something buried in their food prior to consumption.

 
 
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Step 1: Equipment + ingerdients

Picture of equipment + ingerdients
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equipment
  • large baking container (metal cookie tin or other)
  • oven
  • hard plastic dinosaur toys*
  • sharp knife
  • mixing bowls
  • small bowls
  • parchment paper
  • scissors



.
ingredients
  • all-purpose flour
  • sugar
  • baking soda
  • baking powder
  • milk
  • vegetable oil
  • eggs
  • salt
  • cocoa powder
  • vanilla extract
  • assorted biscuits, cookies or chocolate
    (maybe all three!)

The dinosaurs I used were hard non-toxic plastic.
*For the Debbie Downers out there remember it's been proven that heating up plastic releases harmful radiation and may cause your brain to expand to super-large dimensions, possibly giving you mind-reading abilities. If you don't feel comfortable with your potential new super powers then you better not try. Leave your comments below!
cfirestone3 years ago
Perhaps you could use the dino molds and make hard candy dinos?

BASIC HARD CANDY RECIPE

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
2/3 cup light corn syrup
Flavorings and colorings to taste (just a few drops will do)

Measure 2 cups sugar, 2/3 cup light corn syrup and 3/4 cup water into a saucepan and blend together. Place over low heat and stir until mixture boils. Cover the saucepan for 5 minutes so that any sugar crystals that have formed on the sides of the pan will be washed down. Now put in the candy thermometer and let the candy boil without stirring. Using a pastry brush or a fork wrapped with muslin and dipped in water, wash off any crystals that might form. After the candy reaches 280 degrees, lower heat so as not to discolor the candy. When candy thermometer registers 300 degrees, remove pan from the heat and allow it to stand until all the bubbles have simmered down. Then add the flavoring and coloring. There are many to choose from but one favorite is anise along with red coloring. One teaspoon of a flavoring extract should be used for this recipe, while only a few drops of an oil such as peppermint, wintergreen or cinnamon are enough. Coloring should be added gradually until the desired intensity is reached. It is important to stir these in as gently as possible. Too much stirring will cause the syrup to solidify into a hard sugary lump. Now the candy is ready to be formed. It may be poured into a pan, 7 by 7 inches, and marked into squares as it begins to harden. Or it may be poured in rounds on skewers or sticks to form lollipops.
Given that you can completely melt a tray of hard candies in a 270°F oven in 15-20 minutes, I suspect they would at the very least severely deform by the time the cake was done. However, you might be able to get away with baking the cake layers separately, and about 5 minutes before the cakes are done, press the (chilled) candies into the top of each layer so that it can finish baking around them. From there, if they survive, a little icing might be enough to finish hiding them once assembled. So many fun possibilities to experiment with!
http://www.amazon.com/3-D-Dinosaur-Hard-Candy-Mold/dp/B0050LP0MW
even better : http://www.amazon.com/Dinosaur-Party-Cube-Tray-Jello/dp/B001GUNJ24/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1314362956&sr=8-3
Wow, this is BEYOND AWESOME. I'm definitely bookmarking this to come back to try after exams!
awesome!!! want to do this!!
Gumby451 year ago
That's a really neat and cute idea :D If I could cook, I would make this :B
mblondin made it!2 years ago
I made one too for my best friend's birthday! (He turned 20! ;D)

I couldn't find anything non-toxic, so in the end, I made three separate layers for each period, and after each layer was done baking, I pushed the dinosaurs into the cake.

I used Oreos for the rocks for mine; and three kinds of cake: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white angel food.

Also, the dinosaurs glow in the dark. So not ONLY is this cake a dinosaur excavation cake, it is also a GLOWING one.

We will be eating it tomorrow while we go to the Dinosaur Museum; all the kids below the age of 20 will be jealous of us big kids and our Dinos. ;D
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mikeasaurus (author)  mblondin2 years ago
That's so amazing, thanks for sharing! I like the mix of light and dark cakes, and the glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs are perfect.

Enjoy the digital patch and 3-month Pro Membership!
xchanyazy made it!2 years ago
I made this for my son's birthday party last week (3 years old), and it was a hit.

Changes I made - used a buttered pyrex baking dish (shaped kind of like an oval dutch oven) and put the dinosaurs in after the cake came out of the oven since the bottom was accessible before I flipped it over.

I used Oreos and Pirouettes for the rocks, with differing densities of each depending on the layer.

Depending on the piece of cake, you could definitely tell there were separate layers or it looked like a swirl cake. I wonder if "floating" the batter (like with a layered drink) would help.

I also had to use normal dinosaur figurines as I could not find appropriately sized dinosaur skeletons in time. I was tempted to use a big skeleton and just put a bone or two in each slice, and then recreate the skeleton after, but that may be a birthday party for slightly older kids (you know, like me).

Thanks for the instructable!
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mikeasaurus (author)  xchanyazy2 years ago
That's so awesome, your cake looks great!

Enjoy the patch and 3-month Pro Membership!
shortone2 years ago
http://www.instructables.com/id/Gifts-For-Guys/

Put you in my gift guide for guys! Just thought I'd let you know :)
mikeasaurus (author)  shortone2 years ago
awesome!
(removed by author or community request)
mikeasaurus (author)  CatTrampoline3 years ago
Do truck utensils count instead of truck tools?

"my son is too old to appreciate this" .
Really? If that's the case I'm in big trouble.

(removed by author or community request)
pfft, any 19 year old with a sense of fun should love this cake.

personally, I would love it for my 20th birthday party ^_^
sbarker22 years ago
My partner would love this for his Archeology graduation. Could you put like a mini china pot or some sort of ceramic/metal object in the cake? Would that be safer then plastic?
You could also use marzipan to mold dino bones. they bake nicely, and they stay pretty soft. :)
and it works better for something like a kids party. :)
dessert9113 years ago
reminds me of a cake I made with my daughter when her science class was studying plate techtonics. put two cakes side by side. one four thin layers of chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, other side yellow cake with chocolate frosting. set up cardboard underneath so the two sides can be pushed together toward middle. the result will demonstrate the theory deliciously. BTW do not frost the side facing the class.
chicopluma3 years ago
can the dinosaurs be made of hard candy without them melting when you cook the cake? It would be awsome, well your idea is already awsome
this is totally AWESOME, I love it :) Such a wonderful idea.

I wonder if this idea could be used to help kids eat healthy food too ?...
You could do a Michael Jackson skeleton cake, but you'd have to put a warning on it. "May contain small plastic parts" and "Not suitable for under 18 year olds" :D
triumphman3 years ago
I agree with the Downers, placing the dinosores between the layers after baking them would be a wise and safer choice. You could dig a hole and fill it with chocolate stuff. Why do you think the UK has banned so many lead filled toys and stuff from China??? And all the water bottles are being replaced! LEAD in the plastic is toxic to humans! Baking will draw out the lead and it will be ingested when the cake is eaten ! FYI ! Your choice. Be safe, seek Peace & Joy. Triumphman.
are you serious? i mean, come one already. with all the toxins in our food, the air, the water, the fact our medications are toxins and the other toxins we dont even *know* about.....do you honestly think this is going to tip the scale either way? its no different then worrying about the fly in your cereal when you're standing knee deep in a cesspool.
jterry33 years ago
Possible choking hazard if the toys are small. Be careful.
Tih3 years ago
Loved it!
I'm a kindergarten teacher and i have to do this for my kids :D
billbillt3 years ago
Very COOL!!!
jenelope3 years ago
If you're really concerned about the plastic chemicals in the cake, you could probably use these silicone dinosaur fossil ice cube trays as cookie molds: http://www.amazon.com/Dinosaur-Party-Cube-Tray-Jello/dp/B001GUNJ24/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
The official max heat for them is 400F, but based on a user comment, I wouldn't go higher than 350. Which just happens to be a common temp for shortbread recipes.
Brilliant thanks for that idea, now I just need to source the icecube tray in UK if I can.
lmnopeas3 years ago
Totally digging this instructable!
This is an awesome idea. You could also surround the dinos with chocolate and call it oil deposits :-D
Definitely going to try this.
A pool of pudding on top could be a tar pit!
I did a LaBrea Tar Pit birthday cake once, about 15 years ago. It had a chocolate tar pit in the middle with plastic prehistoric creatures sinking in it, ringed with broccoli trees.
CementTruck3 years ago
Semi Debbie Downer here. I like the idea a lot. The plastic just has me worried. On the upside (there's always a silver lining), when they dig us up many eons from now they'll know exactly what our lower digestive systems looked like from all the plasticized colons they dig up. ;) JK.

Just a thought; You could bake layers separately and then position the dino skeletons on each layer in a grid pattern (OCD alert) so it is easy to cut the cake. You would need to dig out a little bit of each layer, lay the dino down and re pack with the crumbs. The strata just wouldn't look as cool and random as what you have here.

How big were the skeletons? it's hard for me to tell the scale.

Cool 'ible! Great idea. Nice photos.
I voted for this by the way!
depotdevoid3 years ago

" . . . may cause your brain to expand to super-large dimensions, possibly giving you mind-reading abilities."

Sadly, after having my brain expand to super large dimensions, I have to use all my new found psychic powers to psychokinetically hold up my freakishly oversized noggin.  I insist you warn people of this danger in the future!

Also, great instructable, and happy birthday!

sunshiine3 years ago
Happy birthday and nice ible!
Wow! You have set the bar pretty high for this challenge.
cammers3 years ago
I love this. Well done.
And happy birthday.
ChrysN3 years ago
Fun idea!
instruct393 years ago
really neat!
wilgubeast3 years ago
Did you use real dinosaurs? I'm on the paleo diet, and I'm wondering if dinosaurs count? Did cave men eat dinosaurs?
mikeasaurus (author)  wilgubeast3 years ago
Cavemen totally ate dinosaurs, obviously. It's what triggered the Renaissance, right?
The Renaissance? I thought that was just something that happened to Italians.
SHIFT!3 years ago
Happy Birthday Dude! Let's go out and celebrate it when I return this school year!
mikeasaurus (author)  SHIFT!3 years ago
you're on, big guy!
onrust3 years ago
I could dig into that.
The tiiiiiiny tools did it for me. This is absolutely adorable and I want one.
jbrecken3 years ago
Is there a way to replace the inedible plastic dinosaur fossils with some kind of cookie or candy dinosaurs?
mikeasaurus (author)  jbrecken3 years ago
you could use Animal Crackers, or maybe make your own chocolate garnish dinosaurs (but they might melt into the cake).
Seriously so so cool! I love this!
Angel C3 years ago
This is so Brill! My womb weeble is totally a mini T Rex and would LoVe this for her next birthday party...
I'm already thinking of different containers to cook them in, like big muffin pans, smaller coffee cans {that way I can make individual ones}
Verra CooL!
splazem3 years ago
Happy Birthday! This is sweet!