Introduction: Making Super Mario - Yoshi Birthday Cake

About: Currently in my final year in IADT Dun Laoghaire, studying Modelmaking, Design and Digital Effects. Hope to work in Miniature film modeling and Architectural Modeling.

This was my first attempt at 'proper' cake decorating. I love baking and cooking and would love to do more cake decorating but rarely have a good reason from spending the time and money on ingredients and supplies. (As I need to build a stock of materials - food dyes, icing, moulds - but I'm a poor student haha).

Anyway. This cake was for my sister, Ruth 21st birthday (shes in the photos). Yoshi is her favourite Super Mario Bros character.

Step 1: Recipe

This is a gluten free, Recipe. Ruth isn't wheat intolerant, but I am, so all my flour is gluten free, and she told me she loved my coconut pound cake when I made it before.
I want to make it 3 tiered so I doubled the recipe.
The normal recipe makes a 9x5x3 inch loaf

G.F. Coconut Pound Cake Ingredients (Double)                        Single 9x5x3inch loaf Quantity       

300g            Gluten Free Flour                                                          150g          Gluten Free Flour
     2tsp            Baking Powder                                                                1tsp           Baking Powder
     1 1/2tsp      Xanthan Gum (optional)                                                  3/4 tsp      Xanthan Gum
     1/2tsp         Salt                                                                                 1/4tsp       Salt
300g            Sugar (White granulated)                                               150g          Sugar
360g            Butter (unsalted, room temp.)                                        185g          Butter
300g            Desiccated Coconut                                                       150g          Desiccated Coconut
3large          Eggs                                                                              3large       Eggs
3tbsp           Milk                                                                                3tbsp        Milk
1 1/2tsp       Vanilla extract                                                                1 1/2tsp    Vanilla

***Note on Xanthan Gum - This is a powder used to in gluten free baking to help food bind and rise,  (gluten is an elastic protein that makes bread rise). If your using normal flour, omit the xanthan gum.
(I haven't really noticed much difference using it.)

***Variations - Don't like Coconut? Why not try an Apple Spice Cake -
add 1tsp Cinnamon, 1tsp Nutmeg, 1tsp Allspice, 3 Apples (peeled and cored), 1/2cup Raisins.

Buttercream Frosting

3 3/4         Icing Sugar
1/2cup      Butter (soft)
1tsp          Vanilla extract
3-4tbsp    Milk

The frosting is to layer over the cake before covering it with fondant.


Multiple packets of white icing dyed - red, black, yellow.
Pre coloured packet of Blue and Green Icing.
Food colouring - Brown, green, black, red, yellow.


3 circular baking trays
General baking equipment (bowls, spoons, knife, electric mixer etc)
Paint brushes(for painting food dye and washing water onto decorations, like glue to stick to the cake)
Butter knife
Rolling pin            (dusting flour)
Chocolate Stars
Cake serving plate/tray/board
Bowls of water            (to stick decoration onto cake)

Step 2: Baking Method

- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Grease your baking pans (I used 3 different sized circular tins.)
-Whisk all the eggs, milk and vanilla.
- Sieve the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt together in an electric mixer bowl. Add the sugar.
-Add the butter, half of the egg mixture and mix at a low speed (for 2/3 mins)
-Increase the speed and add the coconut. Mix for a few mins to aerate the mixture.
-Add the remaining egg gradually (in 2 additions) and mix.
-Pour/Scrape the mixture into your bakings tins. Smooth the top with a spatula.
-Bake in the oven for 55-65mins, until golden brown on top and skewer test. (Stick a skewer in the centre and if it comes out clean, its done).
- Leave cool in tins for a little then turn out onto a wire wrack.

-When they have cooled, carefully cut the tops off so the top is level. I used a long serated kitchen knife and a sawing motion.
-Don't throw out the top off cuts......Eat Them! They're the best bit :D (they're the crunchy bit...damn this is making me hungry). This is also an important taste test...

Step 3: Filling and Buttercream Frosting

- Once you've cut the tops off, slice the cakes through the center, carefully.
- I used a Raspberry Jam filling, layer in the center, then place the top halves back on.
-I then spread a layer of cream between the teires (I don't know why I thought it would work but I found this made it a bit moist, tasted good though). I would recommend using the buttercream between the layers instead. 

- Once the cake is stacked, Dolop the buttercream mixture on the top and spread down with a spatula. Make sure there is an even layer covering the entire cake. This will give the fondant/icing something to adhere to.

Step 4: Icing

I used pre coloured blue and green fondant icing bought in a bakery shop in dublin. I dyed white icing the other colours with food dye and lots of needing to get it streak free. I recommend doing this a few days before making the actually cake because it is time consuming.

- Roll out your blue fondant to approx 1/2" thickness.
- Use the rolling pin to support the sheet of icing when lifting it up and placing on the top teir.
- This is the hard bit. Carefully smoothing the icing down the sides of the teirs with your hands. Rub/massage the icing and work your way down the cake so that you don't get air bubbles underneath the icing.
- Be careful not to tear the icing! if you do you can rub the rip seem line until the icing sticks back together, but it is awkward. If you get any air bubbles, stick a pin in them and rub the area so it flatens and stick to the buttercream undeath.
- Make sure the icing covers the entier cake. For this cake I also covered the inedible base in with the green icing, so that it looked like it was part of the cake. (Like grass)

***Im going to apologise now the woful icing of that cake, in the end it turned out well. But lord knows I could with more experience in the icing department.

Once its covered the cake is air tight and should not go stale (I used cream as one of the fillings remember so it's not going to last too long).

Step 5: Fun Stuff - Decoration

Now its a case of rolling out the pieces of icing I coloured previously and cutting them into pieces to stick onto the sides of the cake to create my mario landscape.

- Cut out clowd shapes from white icing, and green hills. I painted over the green with another layer of food dye for the darker shade of green.
- Used chocolate stars and covered them with yellow icing and painted on black eyes with a tube of writing icing
- Used red for the piranah plants and mushrooms and white tube of icing for the spots/teeth (it was a bad quality icing so the white is a bit transparent, it was 3am at that stage though, so I didn't really care).
- Brown bricks were white icing painted with brown food dye and the coin bricks and coins were cut out yellow icing pieces.
- I put Ruth's name on the coins with a '1up' coin for her age.

Step 6: Finishing Decoration

Here are some more detail images.

-The decorations are stuck on with water. Just wash the back of the piece of icing with a clean wet paint brush and press it gently to the cake.

The Yoshi sculpt is terrible, but all i had was icing for it (which is heavy, so it collapses in on itself) and I was nackered at that stage. Ruth didn't complain anyway.

Thanks for reading and I hope you find this useful. If you have any tips or suggestions to improve this cake (or the Instructable) please leave a comment! :D