Wednesday 3 November 2010

A cake….in the shape of a dumpling?

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a GIANT DUMPLING CAKE!

IMG_7078 edit
This cake was made by a friend and I for a friend’s birthday, and we decided on a ‘Chinese Themed Cake’, for reasons that, to this day, I am not sure of. Plan A was to make a steamed Chinese cake, but this was impossible because neither of us had a steamer, or a big pot, or a steaming tin pot thing. So we moved on to Plan B: a Chinese-y decorated cake, with three tiers and dragons spiralling down them and painted Chinese symbols and lantern shapes; but you just reading that will guess it’s pretty difficult (if not, my birthday is at the end of August). But we were on a strict time budget.

Plan C: Chinese SHAPED cake. It was brilliant! And the other day we were all sat in my room eating dumplings, so what better way to say ‘happy birthday’ than with a massive sugar-fied version? So, the plan was to walk in with the cake and candles, get looks of surprise at how amazing the cake was and how it resembled a massive dumpling, cut the cake, share some out, receive our praise, and leave. But instead, the response from the birthday boy was:

”Is that…a giant maggot?”

Well, I thought it was brilliant.


The making of the cake/maggot

This one was really fun. Especially because we didn’t really know what we were doing.

So we started with a sponge cake mix, because that wouldn’t take up much time. Then added some raisins to look like herbs in the dumplings and red food colouring make it look meat-like. Into the oven for 20 minutes…

Here’s one I made earlier!

Then after a lot of cutting the pieces of cake, sticking together with glue (a.k.a. apricot jam), eating the leftovers, realising that we just ate what was meant to be the top shape of the dumpling, some desperate patchwork, we got something that mildly resembled a half dumpling! Hurrah!

The icing was the ready rolled stuff, and the green bits (‘spring onions’) were made from ready made coloured icing. All that needed to be done was yellow (get it?) icing writing, some champagne candles (I know it’s weird to put champagne on top of a dumpling cake, but if you know our friend Laurence, this is standard practice).

And after ALOT of random photos with this cake (Asian poses, Asian cake, Asian photo extravaganza!)…


We presented it to birthday boy…

IMG_7124Um, I think you’re eating the wrong part of the cake.

Lesson learned today: some people mistake dumplings for maggots. I sincerely hope that they don’t mistake maggots for dumplings.

Giant Dumpling Birthday Cake…thing

Serves 10-12
Cake takes 15 minutes (not including baking time), plus however long it takes you to figure how how to cut the cake and lay the icing so its the right shape.


300 g unsalted butter
275 g caster sugar
eggs, beaten
300 g self-raising flour
1tsp rum
250g raisins, soaked overnight
red food colouring

1 packet ready rolled white icing
1 packet coloured icing
Apricot jam to glaze

If at this point you’ve just read that you’re supposed to soak the raisins overnight, and you haven’t (I’m guessing that’s most of you), then just put them in a bowl with some water and bung into the microwave for a minute or two.

Set the oven to 175C/gas 4. Lightly butter two sandwich tins, each with a diameter of 20cm.

Cream together the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, and then slowly add the beaten egg. Add the rum, and fold in the sifted flour. Add the raisins and whilst stirring, add enough food colouring so it turns pink and flesh-like. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tins.

Bake for 20 minutes. Leave to cool and then remove from the tins.

When it is out, it’s really up to you how you cut the cake, as long as it can be stacked to resemble a dumpling shape in the end. We kind of cut each cake about 3/4 along and then cut the larger piece into two. Then mixed and matched...

Stick the cakes together with apricot jam.

To make the dumpling skin icing, cut the circular rolled icing into four pieces. Use a half for each half of the dumpling. For one half dumpling, lay the two long straight sides of icing quarter on the cake board on either side of the cake, with the edge of the icing sloping downward towards the back of the cake, and the short straight side aligned with the face of the half dumpling. Overlap the icing, and pinch together.

This is pretty hard to explain, and I’m probably confusing you more now, so…good luck.

Roll bits of green icing into small flat shapes and stick with jam onto the open dumpling face to look like bits of vegetables.

Decorate with candles, icing, ribbons, chopsticks, noodles…anything!


  1. We didn't soak the raisins overnight!!

    Love the photo collage ^_^


  2. I love this! What a great idea!


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