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Birthday Clown Cake

I baked this cake for every one of our two sons' birthdays until they became teens. Kids and adults alike love it! —Marlene Dick, Oakville, Ontario
  • Total Time
    Prep: 1-1/2 hours Bake: 25 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 8 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Yellow, orange, green, teal, magenta and black paste food coloring
  • 10 Starburst candies
  • 5 ice cream sugar cones
  • Assorted candies for decorating


  • Line two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans with waxed paper and grease the paper; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, water and vanilla until smooth; stir into dry ingredients until well blended. Transfer to prepared pans.
  • Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • In a large bowl, beat shortening and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth. Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake.
  • Divide the remaining frosting among six small bowls. Tint each with yellow, orange, green, teal, magenta and black food coloring. Cut a hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert round tip #3. Fill bag with yellow frosting. Pipe ribbons and bows around tops of Starburst candies to make gifts; set aside. With black frosting, pipe "Happy Birthday" on top center of cake.
  • Place cones around top edge of cake for clown hats. On sides of cake, pipe clown faces and collars. Using a variety of frosting colors, piping tips and candies, create clown hair, faces and collars. Decorate clown hats. Place gifts around bottom edge of cake.
Editor's Note
Use of a coupler ring will allow you to easily change pastry tips for different designs.

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  • jenwynn
    May 22, 2013

    I used a strawberry cake mix but used the frosting recipe as it made a lot! This was so fun to decorate & make. I loved making it more than the kids loved seeing it, which they really, really liked! I used various candies that made it so much fun. Thanks for sharing!

  • Htardugno
    Dec 4, 2010

    I made this cake and decorated it yesterady. The children and I had so much fun with the decorating. Everyone loved the flavor of both the cake and the frosting. My little boy loved his birthday cake. Thank you for a fun and tasty cake.

  • puffybloomers
    Mar 19, 2010

    Made this for my sons 26th birthday. Made it with a box cake and did 3 layers. Used skewers under the cones to keep in place.Turned out fantastic. It's tradition for my adult son (the CPA) to get a kiddie cake and this one is awesome.