Matilda turned 8 this Fall! I can’t believe it. All she wanted to eat on her birthday was a minion cake! With a two-month old at this was quite the challenge! After lots and lots of thought and tedious calculation I finally created a template for a 3-D minion cake. I took plenty of notes back in September and finally have a free moment (baby is sleeping zzz…) to share the instructions. I hope this tutorial helps to make someone else’s birthday special! Besides, who doesn’t love Minions?
Matilda you are the sweetest little girl! Please please don’t grow up! xoxo -Mom
Keep reading for a detailed tutorial with lots of photos!
How to Make a Minion Cake: Practical Advice
Do not make the same mistakes I make… so here is some free practical advice for making this minion cake. First, do not expect to do all this work in one night. Yes, I did! It was a crazy weekend! I started the cake at 8PM after my kids went to bed and finished the cake at 3AM the day of my daughter’s birthday. Luckily, I hit Michael’s the day before making the cake for a few missing colors and the six inch baking pans. I just happened to have an oven safe bowl for the dome part of the minion’s head.
If possible, prepare the buttercream and cakes a day or two in advanced. Wrap the cake layers for the minion in saran wrap and freeze until ready to use. This saves a lot of time when assembling and decorating the cake. I have seen way too many Cake Boss episodes and forget that I don’t have a 20 person staff to help me out.
Marshmallow fondant can be made in advanced but in my climate it dries out very quickly. Also, don’t worry too much about perfection with your little minion cake. After watching Despicable Me over 100 times I realized minions come in all shapes and sizes so the layers of cake do not have to be exactly the size that I have outlined. I really doubt I have an ounce of artistic ability so I used a coloring page online to come out with the proportions used in this tutorial. I am much better at Geometry – there was a lot of math involved in coming up with this design.
In the end, after all the stressing the cake was not 100% perfect – but this happy little minion cake was devoured in moments and the kids LOVED it! So just enjoy the process. There may be bumps and wrinkles in your minion cake but just let it go and have fun! I let my ten year old daughter stay up until 1AM to help out. Kids LOVE this! So enjoy the minion cake journey! Oh yes, don’t be overwhelmed by the list of supplies, I am just trying to remember everything.
Step 1 : How to Make a Minion Cake – Gather supplies
Checklist: Supplies needed for a Minion Cake
- at least 2 six inch round cake pans
- one oven safe dome shaped bowl with approximately 6 inch circumference
- 2 six inch cardboard rounds – one of which has a one inch hole cut in the center – be sure they are at least 1/4 inch larger around then the baked cake
- 4 six inch round parchment paper rounds
- yellow food dye (I used Americolor lemon yellow)
- black food dye (Americolor super black)
- brown food dye (Americolor brown)
- denim color blue (Wilton delphinium blue)
- food safe marker (Wilton black)
- bamboo skewers or other support for cake construction – cut four about 3 1/2 inches , cut one 8 1/2 inch
- toothpicks for supporting minion arms and minion hair
- Round cookie cutter measuring 3 7/8 inches, for outside edge of goggle (found in Ateco set of round cookie cutters)
- Round cookie cutter measuring 2 3/4 inches, for cutting inside edge of goggle (Ateco round set again)
- Small round cookie cutter measuring 7/8 inch, for cutting the iris of the minion eye and also for cutting the buttons
- Large gas station straw for cutting the black pupil
- Wilton or other tool set for cutting 3/4 inch straps for overalls and the goggle strap
- Wilton tool for pressing stitch design into the overalls
- Wilton silver pearl dust (to paint over goggles… I skipped this step but it would look awesome!)
- lemon extract or vodka for painting the goggles silver
- two cakes mixes, baked using the following recipe for 3D cakes – again make two batches to fill the total 4 six in cakes and the small dome cake for the top
- one batch fluffly buttercream, recipe found here – or other stable buttercream icing of your choice
- two batches marshmallow fondant, recipe found here, or ready made fondant from a cake supply store
So let’s make a minion cake!
Step 2 : How to Make a Minion Cake – Bake the cake layers
Thank you Michael’s Craft Stores for the 40% off coupons. I was able to find six in cake pans. I was in budget mode so instead of buying the cardboard rounds (maybe only $0.50 each?) I traced the top of my cake pans and covered them in aluminum foil. I measured from the top of the cake pan because I wanted the cardboard rounds to be slightly larger than the cake itself. We need to allow room for the icing. In one I made a circle in the center so that a large bamboo skewer support could go through the entire length of the cake. More on this later. Now you are ready to Bake your Minion Cake!
Cut parchment rounds 6 inches using the cake pan as a guide. Do not attempt to bake your cake with out a layer of parchment paper at the bottom. It is a lifesaver! Place the parchment rounds at the bottom of the cake pan and coat generously with cooking spray. Bake four 6 inch round cakes as directed in the following recipe – there will be extra batter for the dome portion of the cake and maybe even a little leftover for mini cupcakes. If desired use your favorite recipe, just make sure that it produces a sturdy cake that can be stacked. We did two chocolate layers and two yellow cake layers. When the six inch round cakes have cooled, trim each one so that they are 1.5 inches high. The round dome portion should measure about 2 inches at the highest point. This does not have to be exact.
Here is the bowl I used for baking the dome portion of the cake. This is a vintage pyrex bowl I found at a yard sale a long time ago. I never knew it would come in handy for this cake! If I didn’t have this perfect bowl I would simply bake another six inch round cake and slice it to make the dome shape for the top of the minion cake. Rice crispy treats could also use for this part of the cake. I lucked out with this pyrex bowl.
Step 3 : How to Make a Minion Cake – Frost the cake and construct the minion cake body using buttercream
I am ready to go! In this picture I am trimming the round cakes so that they measure about 1.5 inches high. An inexpensive Wilton cake leveling tool does the job. Note I have the buttercream ready to go (I made way too much that day). I also have two foil covered rounds that will be used in constructing the minion cake. Notice that the second round has a small hole in the center.
This part is so fun! Place a layer of icing on the foil covered cardboard round. Next comes the first cake layer. Again, these layers of the minion cake are made from 6 inch round cake pans and trimmed to 1.5 inches high. After that first chocolate layer I added a thick layer of buttercream. On top of that, a yellow cake layer and more icing. So basically, icing, cake, icing, cake, icing. As you can see above I place 4 skewers into the two cake layers about one inch from the edge of the cake. Why am I adding bamboo skewers? Because our minion cake needs BONES! Some cheap support. After the bamboo skewers are placed into the two layers of cake I trim them so the top is about 1/8 inch below the buttercream. You could use fancy supports from a cake decorating store – but for me the bamboo skewers work fine. Just remember to look for them when you are cutting and serving the cake.
After the bamboo skewers are added gently place the second cardboard round on top of the icing and the skewers. This cardboard should rest on the skewers so that the skewers can hold the weight of the next three layers of cake and icing. Notice that the cardboard rounds are slightly larger than the cakes. This allows room for a thick layer of buttercream icing.
Continue by adding in this order; buttercream, cake round, buttercream, cake round, buttercream, small dome-shaped cake. As you can see the final height of the minion cake will be around 9.3 inches – a very manageable size for a stay-at-home-mom bakery. The minion cake is starting to take shape.
I next insert two bamboo skewers into the layers of cake to keep the entire minion cake together. Trim just below the last layer of buttercream. Again, take note of the placement for when you are serving the cake.
Now slap on that first layer of icing – yes the crumb layer so that the entire minion cake is covered in icing. Place the cake in the refrigerator to cool as you clean up or work on the fondant… or even better yet – stop here and save the decorating for the next day!! Once this layer of icing has cooled add an additional layer of icing, nice and smooth. Remember the fondant will only look as pretty as the buttercream layer underneath it…. I just thought of a simple shortcut – add yellow food dye to the buttercream and make that the minion skin. Not as professional looking but would still be very cute!
Step 4 : How to Make a Minion cake – Prepare and Decorate with Fondant
As stated above, you will need two batches of the marshmallow fondant recipe. Dye one entire batch yellow for the minion skin, including arms. The second batch of marshmallow fondant should be dyed as follows – about 2/3 of the batch in delphinium blue with a little bit of black for the overalls, about 1/4 of of the batch black for the mittens, boots, buttons, and other details. The remainder should be split between white and grey. White fondant for the eye. And a small bit of grey fondant for the goggles.(use the smallest amount of black to get grey). Save a small piece of fondant to cut the 7/8 brown eye.
If you have never worked with marshmallow fondant before I would do a practice round a couple weeks before the party. It is very fun, but stressful if you are running out of time.
Roll out the fondant either using the dry method (cornstarch) or using shortening on the rolling pin and counters. I prefer to use corn starch to roll out the fondant because it is easier to clean up. You will need a large piece of yellow to cover the entire minion cake. This large piece of yellow fondant minion skin should measure about 12 inches high by 20 inches wide. Carefully place the fondant over the minion cake and smooth using fondant tools. The back of my cake is sort of a mess – why? Because this is for fun, and I tend to work quickly at this stage in making the cake. No one cares what the back of the cake looks like! Seal the yellow fondant together and cut the edges to fit around the base of the minion.
Progress! The minion is almost ready to go! Now simply cut out the rest of the details and place on the cake. I am able to use just a bit of water to get the fondant details to stick. If necessary use corn syrup or piping gel to get the details to stick to the base of the minion cake.
Cut out the pieces for the goggle first. Use the sizes listed in the photo above. I found it helpful to let the cut pieces sit on the counter for a few minutes to dry out before placing them on the cake. When I rushed, the eye started to sag and loose it’s circle appearance. Also cut out the 7/8 inch buttons to be used later.
Wrap black fondant around the toothpicks to create the minion hair. I could have made more. Prepare a large 19 inch by 2.5 inch rectangle of the blue for the base of the overalls. Use a fondant ribbon cutter set at 3/4 inch to cut long strips of fondant for the goggles and the overall straps. Add stitch details using the same ribbon cutter tool. Secure arms and legs using toothpick that come out of the side of the minion cake. Just play around with the fondant as if it were modeling clay or play dough – this should be fun! Last place the buttons and the pocket on the minion cake.
The final step was to add the cute smile on the minion cake using a black edible ink marker. So fun! I am available for questions so let me know if I left something out.
Here is the minion image I used to get my measurements for the minion goggles. I really hope you are able to recreate this minion cake. Enjoy!
Essential tools and supplies