Learning how to decorate a ladybug birthday cake is a fun process that will help you develop and expand your cake decorating skills. A ladybug cake is a great choice for a spring birthday or a child who is fascinated by insects.
How to Decorate a Ladybug Birthday Cake
A good place to begin when thinking about how to decorate a ladybug birthday cake is a picture gallery. A quick Web search for "ladybug cake" will return dozens of results and allow you to browse through the designs that others have come up with before.
Be creative with your cake, and don't feel as if you have to limit your ideas to just round cake designs or only red-and-black decorations. Consider your decorating skill level and work out a design that you're excited to create.
A round ladybug shape cake is easy to decorate and simple to make.
- Prepare one cake mix or enough cake batter for one two-layer 8- or 9-inch round cake.
- Bake the cake as directed, but instead of using a cake pan, use a rounded casserole dish or a large ovenproof bowl. You want your cake to be the shape of half a sphere. Coat the bottom of the bowl with parchment paper, and use a liberal amount of cooking spray.
- When the cake is finished baking, let it cool completely. Loosen the edges with a knife, and unmold the cake onto a tray, a cutting board, or a large platter.
- Chill the cake in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes until it is firm.
- Using a flat spatula, butter knife, or baking spatula, frost the cake with buttercream.
- Decorate the cake to look like a ladybug.
- You can cut a smaller cake piece to form an optional head to the ladybug.
Ladybug on a Flat Cake
Another option is to create a ladybug that sits on a sheet cake.
- Prepare and bake one 9-inch by 13-inch sheet cake, one round ladybug as directed above, and one very small additional cake to use as the ladybug's head.
- Chill the cakes in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes until they are firm.
- Ice the sheet cake with buttercream and the ladybug with another color of buttercream. Cut a wedge at the front of the ladybug and add a head. Cover the head with buttercream.
- Using a wide spatula or a flat cutting board, gently slide the frosted ladybug onto the frosted sheet cake.
- Finish decorating the ladybug and sheet cake as desired.
Making a domed ladybug birthday cake is just slightly more challenging than the ideas above, so it's well suited to beginning or intermediate decorators. You'll need a flat spatula; a sturdy zip-top bag or pastry bag and round decorating tip; two pieces of string-like licorice to use as antennae; and red, black, and white buttercream frosting.
- Use an oven-proof bowl or one half of a domed cake pan to bake the birthday cake.
- When the cake is finished and has cooled, apply a crumb coat and then frost two-thirds of the cake with red buttercream, leaving a rounded section plain at one end. Smooth over the frosting with a flat spatula.
- When the frosting has stiffened, fill in the plain rounded section with black buttercream. Smooth it with the flat spatula, and outline the border with a round frosting tip and pastry bag or a sturdy zip-top bag with a hole cut at one end.
- Outline large black dots on the ladybug's body with the black buttercream, and fill them in by smoothing the frosting with the flat spatula. Pipe a horizontal black line to divide the ladybug's shell in half.
- Use the pastry bag and tip or zip-top bag to pipe on two large white circular eyes. Place a small black round candy or a dab of black frosting in the middle of each eye for a pupil. If you like, you can also pipe on a smile for the ladybug.
- Stick the licorice antennae above the ladybug's eyes before serving.
If you're an advanced decorator, you might enjoy the challenge of making a more detailed ladybug cake with a fondant coating. Using fondant means you can add more texture, color variation, and specific embellishments to the cake, and you'll be able to create and execute your own design easily. When you're making a very detailed cake, keep in mind that you'll need to set aside plenty of time to do the decorating in stages and finish everything before it's time for the birthday party.
Another idea is to purchase a ladybug cake pan and decorate the cake as suggested on the pan design. With store-bought icing and a cake mix, that process would save considerable time versus making the cake and icing from scratch. For example, Wilton, the premiere manufacturer of decorating equipment for home bakers, produces a ladybug cake pan that makes it a snap to turn out a professional-looking cake. The ladybug shape on the pan is friendly, cartoonish, and especially well suited for small children. To decorate, you'll need a few specific Wilton frosting tips and a pastry decorating bag with coupler, all of which you can purchase at a cake decorating supply store or even a large grocery store.
- Create legs and large, googly eyes for your ladybug from candies.
- Bake a round plain cake and cut it in half to form open wings for your ladybug.
- Bake a set of cupcakes, frost them with green buttercream, and top each with a small fondant or marzipan ladybug.
- Bake a rectangular sheet cake and pipe on different colors of frosting to form ladybugs and other small insects.