Introduction: Totoro Cake

About: Mom, wife, traveler, baker, jewelry maker...and so much more!

We are all big fans of Totoro in our home, especially Ameli who would love to watch this beautiful Japanese tale every day. She wished a Totoro cake for her birthday and it was up to me to deliver.

I had to figure out how to make the whole thing work. I knew I didn’t want to use fondant because we don't like the taste, so I opted for modelling chocolate. The base of the cake was Sacher which is pretty dense and would hold the shape well. The design was a famous scene from the story with a few details which are also characteristic of the tale. If you’re a Totoro fan as well or just want to get inspired, here’s how I made the Totoro birthday cake.



9 eggs

420 g dark chocolate melted in water bath

450 g butter

375 g all-purpose flour

450 g powder sugar

3 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

apricot marmelade

cake mold, diameter 20 cm


recipe for modelling chocolate here:

brown chocolate: 1 kg dark chocolate + 300 g sirup (corn, rice, agave…)

white chocolate: 200 g white chocolate + 70 g sirup

grey chocolate: 200 g white chocolate + 70 g sirup + black food colorant (gel)

red chocolate: 100 g white chocolate + 30 g sirup + red food colorant

pink chocolate: 100 g white chocolate + 30 g sirup + red food colorant

green chocolate: 100 g white chocolate + 30 g sirup + green food colorant

beige chocolate: 100 g white chocolate + 30 g sirup + 1 tsp ground cinnamon

potato starch for rolling

rolling tin

silicon mat

silicon spatula

Step 1: How to Make the Stump

1. I made the cake in two batches because this amount of batter wouldn’t be nicely baked all the way to the center if baked all at once. I whisked the egg whites to snow and left them in the fridge. Then I mixed the remaining ingredients and mixes the egg white snow in the end very carefully to keep the butter fluffy. Then, preheated the oven and baked the cake for 75 minutes on 180 °C. The cake must cool down completely before cutting it in half, so that in the end I had 4 discs. I put them on the top of each other and in between them a generous amount of homemade apricot marmalade which I put also on the top. I left the cake in the fridge overnight so that the cake had a chance to soak in the marmalade.

2. First I prepared the dark modelling chocolate – the tutorial is here. I put about one fifth of it aside and rolled the rest to be aprox. 8 mm thick.

3. I used this chocolate to cover the cake and only then I realized I should have put it on a stand first. Also I didn’t clean my hands from the starch properly, that’s the white powder on the chocolate. No problem, at the end I took a clean kitchen towel, sprinkled some water on it and cleaned the chocolate carefully.

4. I started forming the roots of the stump.

5. Some went over the edge of the cake stand. I scratched the chocolate with fork and knife to give it some bark texture.

6. For the upper part of the stump I rolled out the beige chocolate (I set a piece aside for the hair) which, by the way, I colored with cinnamon which was a great idea, it smelled and tasted so good! I made some annual rings from the dark chocolate and placed the whole thing on the stump.

Step 2: Totoro

1. I made Totoro’s body from the dark modelling chocolate, rolled out grey chocolate and covered the body with it.

2. The belly is done with white.

3. I painted the face with black gel colorant.

4. Finally, I used the rest of the grey chocolate for the ears, hands, paws and decoration on the belly.

Step 3: Girl

In a scene from the tale, little Mei lies on Totoro’s belly. On our Totoro birthday cake it has to be our Amelia of course. First, I made the dress and head which I bent a little and put in the fridge for 15 minutes to make it stay bent and then I added the sleeves and arms, then the hair and as last the legs with shoes. I made the legs separately, bent them and left them in the fridge for a while, then attached them to the body.

Step 4: Susuwatari

Another thing that just had to be on the cake are the Susuwatari which I made small balls from the dark chocolate and then covered them in small chocolate decorative rolls. The eyes are from white chocolate and black colorant. Another option would be to make cake pops and cover them in the chocolate decoration.

Step 5: Final Details

1. I made a leaf with the first letter of the birthday girl's name. The leaf was molded completely in hand and the veins are very superficial knife cuts. The letter "A" is made from 2 grey ropes of modelling chocolate.

2. I also added a little "ghostly" friend. All just manual work, no tools.

3. The movie is full of cute little details - mushrooms, acorns, flowers... once again, I molded everything in hand.

Step 6: Serve

Before you serve the cake, put it in the fridge for a while to make sure all the details stick to the base. If something won't stick, a helpful trick is to brush it very lightly with alcohol. Another option is to put a drop of melted chocolate on the piece, place it on the cake and hold it until the chocolate hardens.

Enjoy a few more details of the cake, also check out how it looks on the inside. The marmelade soaks the cake and makes it nicely moist.

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