Nickelodeon's original television series Dora the Explorer has created thousands of young Dora fans around the world and many resulting requests for Dora birthday cakes. Luckily, they're not nearly as difficult to make as they might seem, and the cakes can provide lots of fun creative opportunities.
Dora Birthday Cake Options
If you're not dealing with a very specific birthday cake request, you get to choose how to make the cake and what to feature on it. There are a plethora of options, ranging from simple to complex.
Dora Cake Pan
Even if you're still working to establish basic decorating skills, you can get away with a professional-looking cake by using Wilton's Dora the Explorer cake pan. The pan features an enthusiastic Dora in a jumping pose, with her hands above her head and a big smile on her face. Since the pan already has the imprint for the character, all you need to do is decorate according to the Wilton instructions to make the cake look special.
Each pan comes with detailed, step-by-step directions on how to prepare the cake so it looks just like it does on the package. Be aware that you may need some special equipment to make a Wilton character cake, such as a pastry bag, coupler, colored tubs of buttercream frosting, and various decorating tips. Allow for at least a couple of hours to bake and decorate the cake, add details, and fix any issues that might crop up along the way.
Other Character Cakes
Dora might be the star of the show, but there are plenty of other characters she knows that could also be fun to feature on a birthday cake. One option is piping out the whole cast of characters in buttercream on a flat cake or forming them from fondant and placing them throughout a round or tiered cake. Another option is skipping Dora on the cake and instead showing:
- Boots the monkey
- Swiper the fox
- Fiesta Trio
- Dora's backpack
- Dora's map
Bake a 9 by 13 inch rectangular sheet cake and use a flat spatula to frost it with white buttercream. Smooth the frosting out, and let it sit briefly so that it firms up at the surface and edges. Using an image for reference, pipe on an outline of the character you want to feature with black buttercream and a thin round frosting tip. Fill in the outline with the appropriate color of frosting, and smooth it out with the flat spatula. Finally, add detailing with more buttercream, fondant pieces, or small edible candies.
Shaped Dora Cakes
Decorators who are more advanced and looking for an extra challenge might enjoy baking and forming cakes in the shape of Dora, Boots, Swiper, or other characters from the show. Another option is to create a standing Dora cake that is covered with fondant and supported by dowels.
Shaped Sheet Style Cake
For a shaped cake, sketch out a rough outline of the pieces you'll need to fit together to form the finished cake. For example, one sheet cake and one round cake can be cut apart to form Dora's head, torso, arms, legs, hands, and feet. Bake the cakes you'll need for the shape, and let them cool completely. To make them easier to cut, wrap each cake tightly in plastic wrap and freeze it for 20 to 30 minutes or until it begins to feel firm. Cut the cakes into the pieces you need with a sharp, serrated knife, and fit them together with dabs of buttercream "glue." When you have the full shape formed, frost the entire cake with buttercream. Don't forget to begin shaping and putting the cake together on the platter for serving so that you won't have to transport it later.
Standing Dora Cake
Stand up cakes are trickier than shaped cakes and are best handled by experienced decorators. First, bake the pieces of cake you'll need, and cut them to fit together. Secure each piece to the next with buttercream, and insert wooden dowels, which are available online and at most cake decorating supply stores, into the stand-up cake to secure it. Use rolled fondant to cover each piece of the cake. Smooth the fondant over, and use your hands or decorating tools to form facial details, Dora's backpack, and other finishing touches. Transport a standing Dora birthday cake very carefully.
No matter what design you ultimately choose for the Dora cake, do not forget the most important thing: birthday candles for the special child to make a wish on for her birthday.