bat

My second son’s fifth birthday was yesterday. It is tradition in our house for the kids to request what they want in a birthday cake and I try to create it the best I can. Sometimes it fails miserably, trust me, but sometimes it works, especially when the idea is simple and doable.

This year he requested a bat. The kind that flies. Even though this was technically his birthday cake, since it is so close to Halloween, I thought I’d share the how-to, in case you are in need of a bat-that-flies-cake.

Bat Cake
I have a lot of cake decorating supplies, but I am far from a professional cake decorator, as evidenced by my lack of training and the fact that I always end up with copious amounts of frosting in my hair by the time I am finished with a cake. As I mention below in the how-to, I think this cake would look equally cute using an offset spatula or knife to spread the frosting in wavy peaks and lines. You can use ziploc bags with the corners snipped off to make the bat’s face and wing outline.

I used this go-to chocolate cake recipe. I baked it in a 14-inch round cake pan. It made for a very large bat. This could definitely be made in a 9-inch round cake pan (which is how it was made where I originally snagged the idea). You’ll want to scoop some of the batter into a greased and floured pyrex bowl. Since I used a 14-inch cake pan, I used my 7 1/2-inch pyrex bowl and scooped about 2 cups of batter into it after it had been greased and floured. Watch the baking time to judge when it will be done.

If using a 9-inch round cake pan, use a smaller pyrex bowl or round oven-safe dish for the bat’s head, like the one shown below. (Use the remaining batter for cupcakes that you can use or freeze for later.)

As a sidenote, I used this magical frosting. I made one batch of white and one batch of chocolate. I colored about 1 1/2 cups of the white frosting blue for the wings. Make sure to save a tiny bit of white frosting for the face. I had a lot of white/blue frosting left over, so you may consider making a smaller batch or using it to frost something else. I used the chocolate batch of frosting for the black bat so I didn’t have to use as much black food coloring.

Once the cakes have baked and cooled, cut the round cake in half. Arrange it on your platter (or foil-lined cardboard rectangle in my case) so the half-circles are touching in the center and they are angled slightly upward. Wings. That’s what they’ll be.

Take a bit of your blue wing-batter (you can color it orange to make it even more Halloween festive) and run it over the cake in a thin layer for a crumb coat. This is what the name implies – a way to catch the crumbs and is especially useful for dark cakes. You’ll see that you don’t need to go all the way up to the top of the wings since that part will be covered in bat fur. Gross. But we’re not talking literally here. Frosting fur, I guess I should say. In that case, yum.

Once the crumb coat has been applied, use the rest of the wing frosting to apply a thicker layer of frosting. You’ll want this to be as smooth as possible and nice-looking since this is all the attention this area will get once you move on to the wings.

Now, fill a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip (I used a Wilton #6 tip) or in a heavy-weight ziploc bag with a small corner snipped off and pipe in the wing shape as shown below.

If you have cake decorating tips, use a star tip (I used a Wilton #17 tip) and begin piping stars on those wings. I think this would look equally cute spreading the frosting on with a knife or an off-set spatula in small peaks and wavy lines.

Once the wings have all been frosted or piped, place the bat head, flat side down, in the center of the wings.

Cover the head in black frosting. I attempted to use Wilton tip #233, a cool grass/hairy effect, but my frosting was way too runny, so I ended up with stars. Again, I think the bat head would be equally cute if you spread the frosting on with a knife or spatula. Using white frosting, pipe on a face. I did this with a #7 round tip but you could again use a ziploc bag with the tip snipped off.

Now stand back and admire your cute little dingbat!

Just for the record, I thought I’d include some of the other fun birthday cakes I’ve made over the years. I’ve included how-to links and where I got the ideas in case you are interested.

*UPDATE! The pictures have gone missing from this post (after a website update a while ago). I’m working at getting them put back in – sorry!*

Bug Cupcakes from Hello, Cupcake!

Tractor Cake Pan from Wilton

Snake Cake – basically a bundt cake cut in half and arranged to look like a snake. Frosted, studded with M&M’s. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, as my 6-year old likes to say.

Robot, idea from here.

Racetrack, idea from here.

Spiderman Cake Pan from Wilton

Pirate Ship Cake, idea from here.

Killer Whale (Orca) cake. Rice krispie treats covered in fondant, shoved in a 14-inch round cake. My first experience with fondant. Possibly my last.

Frog, idea from here (a great resource for homemade cake decorating ideas!).

Fish cake. 2 9-inch round cakes layered on top of each other and frosted in waves to look like scales. Used orange slice gummies for the lips and tail, skittles for the design.

Elmo cake pan from Wilton.

Cutest dragon cake ever – instructable from here.

Dinosaur cake – how-to video here.

29 Responses to Bat Cake {How-To} and Other Fun Cake Ideas

  1. What a fun cake! I never knew you could bake a cake in a pyrex bowl, that is definitely good to know. All of your cakes look great!

  2. Kim in MD says:

    Your cakes are so cute! You are SO creative, Melanie! Your kids must think you are the coolest mom on the planet! :-)

  3. Kathy Davis says:

    What fun birthday parties your kids have. They are lucky to have such a creative Mom as you.

  4. Kira says:

    My mom did this for us growing up and I have taken on the challenge to continue the tradition. So far, I have only had to make two – a monkey and a tractor. They are so fun to do, and yours are adorable. I will be checking back when birthday 3 rolls around.

  5. Jane says:

    Not only are you an amazing cook, but cake decorator too? So talented! Your boys are so lucky, what darling cakes.

  6. Denissa says:

    How cute! This last year was the first year that I made what my boys asked for and they LOVED it :) My youngest is turning 4 next month, hopefully he picks an easy one like his brothers did! :)
    Made the pumpkin bread last night, and I’ve already had 2 pieces for breakfast! ;) Thanks for sharing another delicious recipe!!

  7. Catherine says:

    Melanie, you remind me of myself, except you seem to be infinitely more creative and organized. I don’t know how you do it all! Your cakes are adorable. I always let my boys choose, but I will simply decorate a 9×13 or a layer cake with their character of choice. I’m not as ambitious as you!

  8. Great job, Melanie! Love it.

  9. Veronica says:

    Wow, I never thought about how many cakes a mom with four children would have to make in her lifetime! These are all adorable–you do great work! I took a couple basic classes and sell birthday cakes on the side. It’s one way I get my baking fix without making too much for myself. If you want to see the cake I made for my 30th birthday, here’s the link: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=280946&id=541706479&l=b33b2468d5 The ones at the end of the album show the cake a little better than those at the beginning. If you are on f/b, do add me! :)

  10. Margaret says:

    I love cakes! I gather from your statement about the orca cake that you didn’t have a great experience with fondant. If you used regular fondant, I’d suggest trying marshmallow fondant. So much easier, and it tastes better too!

  11. ingrid says:

    They’re all super cute! Very nice job…wish I had the patience.
    ~ingrid

  12. i think you need to open your own culinary business. these are incredible! thanks so much for the ideas and the links!

  13. LOVE that bat cake! The SpiderMan cake is awesome too. Actually – they’re all great!

  14. Jen M says:

    I think we might have to make the bat for our Halloween party this weekend…thanks for sharing! All your cakes look awesome!

  15. How creative and talented you are! You have made some great cakes over the years.

  16. umm…wow. You are clearly talented! How long does it take to pipe all those little stars on there? Such cute ideas!

  17. Thank you so much for posting these! I love to make fun cakes for my kids’ birthdays (I’ve had some pretty spectacular failures, but the beauty is that kids rarely care). Anyway, these are some fabulous ones, my kids were all dying over the Shamu one. I love talented people that are willing to share! Also, what kind of decorating tools do you have? Someone gave me the best ever hard plastic tube kind that I loved and broke. Any recommedations on the tools you love and where to get them?

    • Mel says:

      Andrea – you’ll have to pass on any fun cake ideas to me if you have them. I’m always scouring for new, great ideas. It seems there is nearly a birthday a month that I’m scrambling to make a cake for. As for the supplies – I use Wilton. Not because I feel it is superior but mostly because it so easily found at the craft stores in my area. I’ve always been very happy with their products and their cake decorating supplies are very reasonably priced, I think.

  18. grace says:

    very clever, mel. my typical reaction to seeing a bat is squealing and running for my life, but not this time. this time, i’d make a beeline for it. :)

  19. Lindy says:

    Cute cakes! Funny – I’ve made five of the same ones!

  20. Thanks so much for the tip on Wilton stuff, I need to go get some more supplies. Here’s one cake that was a big hit with my kids from a book I have of cut up cakes, the book is listed there to: http://andreawlifeintheslowlane.blogspot.com/2008/01/birthday-cake.html

  21. Amy Weaver says:

    Wow. You are seriously amazing! I cannot even frost a cake, let alone decorate one.

  22. wow! I’m so impressed–please keep sharing your cake creations!

  23. Great site you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find
    high quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate people like you!

    Take care!!

  24. Hi Mel. I think this cake is brilliantly simple and would like to feature it on my post about simple Halloween cake ideas. Would you mind if I included one of your photos on my blog (cakediem.com)? Of course, it will be appropriately credited to you and the post will be clearly linked back to this post.

    Thanks :)

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  26. Aubri says:

    I made this for my 5 year old’s birthday today. He loved it and it was sooo cute! It was really easy too…quite a bit easier than I expected it to be. He wanted white cake and the blue part was red because his favorite color is red. Thanks for a fun, easy idea! Also, thanks for the other links. Besides my 5 year old, I have 2 sets of boy/girl twins, and I always need easy cake ideas because making 2 cakes at a time is a big chore :) Thanks again Mel!

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