TMNT Birthday Cake

I’m so excited, friends…Vanessa is here today to share with you how she made this amazing cake for LC’s Epic TMNT Birthday Party!  You’re going to love it!


So we meet again, artsy friends! I’m a little late to the party, so to speak, but I’m here today to talk all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cake. I had the honor of making Little Crafter’s birthday cake for his TMNT party. He had some ideas on what he wanted it to look like, which is always very helpful. Amy and I discussed her wishes, as well as finding some online inspiration, and I combined everything into a design I hoped would knock Little Crafter’s turtle shell off. I think it worked.


To make this cake, you will need to make a two layer, 8 inch cake of your choice. I have discussed in past posts some cake recipes if you wish to use those. If not, use your favorite, or cut a corner and use a box mix. Whatever floats your little ninja turtle boat. You will also need a batch of my buttercream icing to stack the cake, to frost it before applying the fondant, and to apply the grass around the bottom.

(This is a double recipe. I went ahead and made it a double, just to be sure I had enough.)

Vanessa’s Buttercream

2 lbs of confectioner’s sugar
2 cups of vegetable shortening
5 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of butter flavor
4-6 Tablespoons of milk
Clear Karo syrup, as needed, for thinning the icing to your preferred consistency

*Alternate suggestions: You can do half shortening and half butter, omitting the additional butter flavor. It will not be as white, and it can get extra soft on you, but it’s so yummy. Also, adjust the vanilla based on what flavor YOU want. Use clear for a true white icing. If that doesn’t matter, use real vanilla extract. The Vanilla Karo syrup is used to help get the consistency that you want, after all ingredients have been mixed together. Just add a tablespoon at a time, until you get it to where you want it. I add some when I have put the icing in the fridge, and need to rewhip it, too. You may not need to add any.

*Helpful tip: For total deliciousness, use whole milk.

Cream the shortening together with the vanilla and butter flavor. Then, start adding the sugar 1 cup at a time. Run the mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes between each addition. This really helps achieve a good, smooth consistency. After all the sugar is mixed in, add 4 Tbs of milk, and mix until it is incorporated well. If you want to add a little extra, you can add another 1 or 2 Tbs of milk, but you don’t want the icing to be too thin. You can always use Karo syrup to adjust the spreadability as well. I think I just made that word up. You’re welcome.

Other Items You Will Need:

10 inch cake board to place the cake on
8 inch cake board, to cover in fondant as the sewer lid
Dowel rods to anchor the turtle heads and sewer lid in place
Rolled Fondant
Gel colors
Roller to roll out the fondant
I use “the mat” to roll the fondant in
Tools to work with the fondant. {I use several fondant cutters that are the roller kind, like pizza cutters, and I use tools intended to shape and model the fondant. Also, brushes to apply water, which is used to hold fondant onto fondant.}
Edible silver luster dust
Lemon extract
Fondant letter cut-outs
Wilton frosting tip number 233, a coupler and pastry bag
Vinyl food safe gloves
Wax paper


Now to get started making this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cake! Stack and frost your 2 layer, 8 inch cake. You don’t want it all lumpy, but it doesn’t have to be perfectly crumb-free either, since you’ll be covering it with fondant. Measure out the amount of fondant you will need to cover your 2 tier cake, based on an 8 inch round cake and whatever height your cake turns out to be, when stacked. I always google this info, since my cakes turn out different heights, depending on the height of each layer. Then, add about a pound or so, depending on how many “steel repair patches” you want to add to the steel sewer pipe, and to account for covering the 8 inch cake boards to complete the sewer lid. Tint the correct amount with a very small amount of black gel icing (you can always add a little at a time until it’s perfect), and knead it into the dough until it is mostly uniform. Now, remember, this is going to have a beat up, steel look, so the color does not have to be perfectly uniform, but it shouldn’t look like marble, either. I used The Mat to roll out my fondant. You can purchase one from It is soooooo worth it. The mat changed my life of fondant, forever. Look how nice and ready to go it is!

(Remember to just roll out the amount needed to cover the cake at this point. Reserve the rest for the details!)


Then, just lift off one of the sheets, center the fondant over the cake, and let (you may need to help it get going) the fondant release from one side, and roll the mat back, letting the fondant ease off the mat and down over the cake. It really will roll off the mat. Then, with your hand and a smoother, work the fondant down and around the cake until smooth.


Trim the excess with the “pizza cutter” style fondant cutter. I am sure to push the edges in for a rounded look. Now, I rolled out the rest of the gray. I taped 2, 8 inch cake boards together, and used them as a pattern for figuring out how much I’d need to cut to cover the boards. The top part I left some overlap to wrap around to the bottom, to hold it all together. Then, I kneaded the leftover gray fondant, rolled it out, and cut out patches as I needed them, recovering the rolled fondant with the top sheet of the mat between patches. I used water to stick them onto the cake where I wanted them, then rolled small balls of the gray fondant and used water and a slight smush with my finger to apply them to the patches to look like bolts, holding the patches in place. You can do this in whatever pattern you’d like. I chose this pattern, so that I could use one of the center ones to display LC’s age.


You will notice I used a tool to indent the top of the “sewer” for added “construction” detail. I used the blunt end of a “fancy” toothpick to achieve this look. Use your tools to add any details you want. I even used the blunt side of biscuit cutters to impress the top of the sewer lid. Speaking of fancy, it’s time to use the luster dust. It’s always best to follow the instructions on the luster dust. I used a 1:1 dust to lemon extract mixture. Once I had that mixed up, I went to town with a wide paintbrush (the kind made for food, not walls… let’s not get crazy), and covered all the gray fondant on the cake and “sewer lid” with the luster dust to give it that metallic look.


Now, let’s make some turtles. You’ll have to decide how big you want the heads, and account for turtle hands, and tint that amount of fondant green. Then, divide the fondant into 4 balls for the heads and a 5th for hands. Smooth the balls into whatever shape you are going for. Use your tools to create mouths, and an indent for eyes, which also helps form the “snout” section of their face. I made sure they each had a different shaped mouth, as well, to help differentiate the turtles. I made the heads all slightly different shapes, based on a picture of the turtles that I had handy.


I colored and cut strips of fondant based on the colors of their eye masks. I cut 2 little strips to make it look like it was tied onto their heads. I placed it around their head, and then made little eyes out of white and black fondant, and applied them over the mask. Remember, brush a small amount of water onto the back of the fondant to get it to stick to the other fondant.


Then, I used white, red and black fondant to fill in the details for the mouths. I used my tools to create some lines around the mouths, as the turtles look a little lined/wrinkled around their mouths. I pinched off little sections from the leftover green fondant, and formed hands with my own hands and my tools. One per turtle. Finally, it was time to use dowels that I had measured to go down into the cake, but would not stick up through the top of the turtle heads, and stick them into the cake, and slide the turtle heads down onto them. Taller heads in the front, shorter in the back. I placed the hands next to the turtles, tucked under the head a smidge.


So the lid wouldn’t squish the turtle heads, I made a pipe structure for the center of the cake, with a dowel, that supported the lid. I used the luster dust on it, and all, to make it look like part of the sewer, and like it belonged there. Then, I rested the sewer lid on that and supported it by sticking a skewer into the cake and up into the lid, to keep it in place. I then punched out letters with each of the bandana colors to spell LC’s name and one for his age. I put the age on front, and his name on the sewer lid. Finally, I tinted some buttercream green, and used the wilton tip 233 to create grass all around the bottom of the sewer pipe, to give it a more finished, look.


And, there you have it, friends, a made to order Teenage Mutant Ninja Cake for a very crafty 6 year old! All the little party guests loved it, even the not so young guests. Haha Turtle power!



Stay Sweet!

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  1. It took no less than 8 hours. I’m pretty sure it was closer to 12. Haha I’m a little unsure because I break it up over 2 days by coloring fondant & making buttercream in advance. 🙂

  2. Seriously, this is the cutest cake EVER!!! I don’t dare show my nephew because he would want it and cake decorating is not my specialty. lol Great job!!

  3. Pingback: Stitch Blog

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