Circus Cake

(This is the second of a two-part post covering my nephew’s birthday cakes. If you haven’t read part one, click here to get caught up).

The second cake I made for my nephew’s birthday was a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting and glaze. I had never glazed a cake before, so I was excited to try! Of the three techniques I got to try while baking the two cakes, I thought this one would be the most fun. It was a lot of fun… and also a lot of mess. I got sprinkles all over my mom’s kitchen! Sorry, Mom!

To bake this cake, you’ll need  vanilla cake layers (I used a standard 1-2-3-4 recipe),  chocolate frosting (my favorite two-ingredient perfect buttercream), chocolate mousse, chocolate glaze, and rainbow sprinkles. For the glaze, mix equal parts chocolate and milk (I did 900g chocolate to 900ml milk). Then fold half of that mixture into (300ml pre-whipped) whipped cream to make the mousse.


I used a cake leveler to cut my two layers into 4 thinner ones. The cake layers will be much easier to manage if you wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them first (add a layer of foil around the plastic wrap if you’re going to leave them in the freezer for more than a day, but you will see a difference if you keep them in for even half an hour). Cutting, frosting, and handling your layers can easily become a crumbly experience if they’re left unfrozen.

For assembly:

    1. Place a ring of frosting around the outer edge of each of your cake layers – except for one! This is your top layer.
    2. Fill the rings of frosting with a blanket of chocolate mousse across the top of each cake layer – again, except for your top layer.
    3. Stack your cake layers on top of each other.
    4. Lightly frost the cake to fill in crevices until you have a smooth surface for the glaze to coat. Getting a smooth surface takes practice, but having a cake stand that turns will help.
    5. Place the cooling (glazing) rack onto a pan that will catch the glaze. Put the cake on the rack.
    6. Now comes the fun part – pour the glaze on the cake and let it slide down the sides until the cake is completely covered!
    7. After the glaze has had a little time to set, lift up your cake in one hand (tip – making your cake on top of a cardboard cake circle makes everything easier) and resign yourself to the approaching mess. Grab a handful of sprinkles with your other hand and lightly smash them against the bottom of the cake. Repeat, making your way around the cake until you have a full ring.
    8. Finish by showering more sprinkles on top. Now is the time to place cake decorations, if you like!



Success! Both cakes were quickly devoured by the guests. My nephew’s slice ended up all over the floor, but I’m pretty sure he liked the bits that made it into his mouth.

The party was also a success! The kids had a ton of fun playing in the living room while the adults watched/talked. The lunch was delicious and the circus theme looked great!

There was no consensus as to which cake came out better. My sister liked the glazed cake better, but I thought the other one was the winner (I am biased though because I like chocolate cake). If you make both, make sure to let me know your thoughts!


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