This airplane cake is a single-tier chocolate cake covered in fondant and topped with a 2d royal icing airplane. The fondant clouds randomly added to the cake match the overall theme of a flying airplane. An absolutely easy and creative idea for anyone attempting to make an airplane (aeroplane) themed cake!
I made this airplane themed cake for a 5 year old boy’s birthday a couple of years back. It was the boy’s wish to have a cake with airplane on it for this birthday and so his mom requested that I make one for him.
Why is this cake different from all my other cakes
This cake was very different from all my other cakes and that is simply because the birthday boy was lactose intolerant which meant no butter and milk and milk-related ingredients in the cake or the icing. All my cakes were made using butter and have milk in them (see my cake recipes here), so I was reluctant to accept the order at first. I also told the mom that I do not have a separate set of utensils and cake pans to cater to her order and she was ok with me using my existing ones.
We discussed further on the cake and agreed that I would bake the cake using margarine (hydrogenated palm oil) and that I will use water instead of milk in the cake recipe. Margarine produces cakes that are as soft and fluffy as butter does and I know this because my mom used to bake cakes using margarine when I was a kid.
So, to cater to my customer’s needs and to make sure none of the ingredients I use in the cake could cause an allergy reaction to her son, I gave her the list of ingredients that would go into her cake. She then confirmed the ones that were ok to be added and the ones that were not. So it turned out that only butter and milk had to be substituted. I baked a chocolate cake for the boy using my chocolate cake recipe but substituted butter with margarine and milk with water.
As for the frosting, since I fill and crumb coat my cakes with buttercream before covering it with fondant, I had to substitute the butter with margarine and use a margarine-based butter cream as the cake filling and crumb coat.
How to Make an Airplane Cake
These were the main supplies I used for this airplane cake:
- Cake – This was a 10 inches square cake baked using my chocolate cake recipe (with the butter and milk substituted for margarine and water).
- Buttercream – well, this is not really buttercream because I did not use any butter in it. The original recipe uses butter, but for this order, I had to substituted butter with margarine. My original buttercream recipe is here.
- Fondant – I used my classic homemade fondant for this project. Again, I presented the list of ingredients that I used to make the fondant to the boy’s mother and she confirmed that all the ingredients in my fondant recipe were ok for her boy.
- Royal icing – This was used to make (pipe) the airplane. I used the color flow technique to create the airplane in royal icing on a parchment paper and once the airplane was dry and set, I removed it from the parchment paper and attached it to the cake.
- Airplane template – I hand drew this on a piece of parchment paper based on a few images I found on the internet.
- Food coloring – I used Wilton and Americolor food colors in royal blue , black and maroon for the project.
- Block letters alphabet cutters – These were purchased from a local cake decorating supplies shop and are the same set I normally use to make 3D lettering on cakes. For this cake, instead of the letters standing upright, I did them in the normal horizontally lying position.
- Disposable piping bags and piping tip 3 – These were used for the color flow technique of the airplane.
- Sugarcraft knife
And this was how I decorated the cake:
- I started off by getting the airplane template ready. If you are good at drawing, you can always draw one by hand. I am definitely not good at drawing. So I decided that I would find an image that I could trace from. Kids coloring books are a good place to look for a basic airplane templates. I got mine from the internet.
- I found one that I liked, resized it (see my guide here on how to resize images for cakes). And then I printed it out. Once printed, I changed the design a little by removing some parts and enlarging others. This is so that so that everything was easy to pipe on.
Making the airplane motif with royal icing
- Once the image was ready, I traced it onto a parchment paper. I could have piped the icing directly onto the parchment template. However, I did not want to transfer any of the pencil lead onto my royal icing airplane. So I placed another piece of parchment onto the parchment template and secured both pieces of paper together with paper clips.
- I then filled my piping bag with black royal icing (in stiff consistency) and piped the outline of the airplane on the second piece of parchment attached to my airplane template.
Filling up the outlines
- Once the outline was done, I filled the white sections of the airplane with runny royal icing. To make the runny royal icing, place some stiff royal icing into a bowl. Add a few teaspoons of water. Mix and check the consistency.
- To check if the icing is of the perfect 'runny' consistency, run your spoon through the icing. If it smooths out in the count of 10 seconds, your icing is ready. If it smooths too fast, your icing is too runny. And you need to correct it by adding some stiff royal icing to it. Similarly, if the icing takes longer than 10 seconds to smooth out, it is still stiff. And you would need to add more water to it.
- The method I used here is similar to the method I used for my royal icing butterflies. Click here to see how I piped my royal icing butterflies.
- Once I have filled the white sections of the airplane, I did the maroon sections. And finally, I filled all the black ones. With that, the airplane was all completely filled with royal icing. To finish off the airplane cake topper, I piped another round of black outline (both outside and inside sections) on the airplane before putting it aside to dry and set.
- I left the airplane aside to set overnight. In fact, I made 2 of these royal icing airplane cake toppers just in case one of them chips or breaks.
Getting the cake ready
- While the airplane topper was drying, I went ahead with the cake. Once baked and cooled, I leveled, filled and crumb coated the cake with buttercream. And then I covered it in fondant. Next, I cut a long strip of maroon fondant and attached it all around the lower edge of the cake. I used warm water to attach the maroon fondant strip. After that, I shaped tiny white fondant balls by hand and attached them all around the cake as the border, also with warm water.
Assembling the cake
- Once that was done, I peeled my royal icing airplane off the parchment paper very carefully. And then I placed it on the cake. As I feared, the first airplane broke right in the center as I was placing it on the cake. Luckily I had a spare and it saved my day. I used little dabs of royal icing on the back of the airplane to stick the airplane to the cake.
- Once the airplane was in place, I went on the place the lettering. I used maroon fondant for the letters and secured them to the cake with a damp brush. And finally, for added decoration, I added white clouds randomly on the top of the cake as well as the sides. These clouds were cut out free hand out of white fondant using my sugar craft knife.
With that, my airplane birthday cake was complete.
Hope find this guide useful.
Happy Decorating 🙂