Lion King Cake

A simple Lion King cake design decorated in buttercream and fondant. This is a pretty easy cake to put together and makes an awesome birthday cake for Lion King fans!

Learn how to decorate a Lion King Cake in buttercream and fondant accents.The Lion King Cake for a 6-year-old boy's birthday

When I asked my 6 year old boy, the cake design he would like for his 6th birthday last year, he was toying around a few ideas and finally, settled on a Lion King themed cake.

I was not surprised with his choice, the movie The Lion King was released in cinemas just a few months before his birthday and he was so into Lion King then.

He did not just stop at choosing the theme for this cake, he was involved in choosing the design too!

He wanted Simba as the main character and along with Simba, he wanted the entire Lion King family including Timon, Pumba, Zazu and Rafiki. And so I set on making a Lion King cake for him.

This was a buttercream covered cake, and decorated with a handmade Simba cake topper (made with paper), Lion King edible image and fondant jungle leaves and fondant letters.

All in all, I had a lot of fun decorating this cake and hope you would too!

How to Decorate a Lion King Cake

These were the main supplies used to decorate this buttercream Lion King cake:

  • Cake - this was a 6 inches round cake that was also 6 inches tall. The cake was made up of 4 layers - 2 layers of vanilla pound cake and 2 layers of chocolate cake.
  • Buttercream - I used by buttercream to sandwich the cake layers as well as to cover it smooth on the cake. I also used the same buttercream to pipe of a layer of rope border on the bottom edge of the cake. 
  • Lion King Edible Image - This was ordered from a local edible images supply shop.
  • Simba paper template - I sourced this from the internet and resized it to fit the top of my cake.
  • Jungle leaves paper template - These were sources from the internet as well and resized to fit the cake.
  • Fondant alphabet cutters - I purchased this from a local cake decorating shop and used them to cut out my son's name in 3D font
  • Round cutter - I used this to cut out my black fondant for the edible image.
  • Juniper Green food color - I used this to tint my white fondant for the leaves. I also used this food color to paint the fondant leaves.
  • CMC powder - I added CMC powder to the white fondant when cutting out the letters for my son's name as well as to the green fondant when cutting out the fondant jungle leaf topper.
  • Glitter craft paper - This formed the background of the Simba cake topper
  • Scissors and glue
  • Long wooden skewers and toothpicks - these were for the Simba cake topper, the leaf cake topper as well as the 3D fondant alphabets.

And this was how I put the Lion King cake together:

  • I do not have an edible image printer at home, so the first thing I did for this project, before I even baked the cake was to order an edible image print of the Lion King family. 
  • I got the image from an internet search and ordered a print of it in a round frame from a local edible image printing shop. I did this one week ahead of the birthday.
  • Next was the Simba cake topper. I wanted to find the simplest way to get a nice Simba topper for the cake. I could not find anything that was to my liking that were available for purchase, so I went ahead and made one myself with paper and a thin skewer.

How to Make Simba Cake Topper

  • I then cut it along its outline.
Cut the image out following its outline

  • Since this was a normal A4 paper, I knew I had to paste it onto a thicker cardboard in order for it to stand upright on the cake, so I choose to use a gold glitter cardboard as the backing.
  • I applied glue to my Simba cut out and pasted it onto the cardboard.
Attach the image onto gold cardboard with glue before cutting the outline out.

  • And then I cut the cardboard, leaving a thin outline of the gold visible around Simba after cutting.

Simba cake topper with gold glitter background

  • In order for the for the topper to stand upright onto the cake, I had to attach a long thin skewer to the back of Simba cut out with some tape. And to make sure the tape and the skewer did not show on the reverse side of the Simba topper, I decided to attached another piece of glitter cardboard at the back.
  • To do this, I attached the skewer first and then applied glue all over the back of the topper and attached it to the reverse side of my glitter card board.
  • And then I cut the cardboard out, following the Simba topper outline as closely as possible.
The back of the cake topper covered in gold glitter cardboard.The reverse side of the cake topper

  • And this was how the completed Simba topper looked like:

Simba cake topper complete with a long skewer attachedSimba Cake Topper for a Lion King Cake

How to Make Fondant Jungle Leaves & Fondant Palm Leaves - Without Cutters

  • All the leaves on the cake were made using fondant. I had a total of 5 leaves - 4 attached to the side of the cake and one placed in an upright position next to Simba topper. 
  • I did not have any special cutters for the leaves. So I used paper templates as a guide in cutting them out.
  • To begin with, I needed the leaf templates. These jungle leaves are pretty easy to draw, but i chose to get mine from the internet. 
  • I printed the leaves images and cut them out following their outlines. 
  • Next, I tinted my white fondant green and rolled it thin.
  • Using my paper templates as guide, I cut out the leaves using my sugar craft knife. 
Use the paper template as a guide to cut out the fondant jungle leaf.
A fondant leaf cut using a paper template

  • And then I used my sugar craft tools to draw the veins on my leaves. 
Vein the fondant leaf with a fondant shaping tool
Mark the veins on the fondant leave with a sugarcraft knife.

  • Once I had all my leaves cut out, next was painting them. You don't have to paint them if you choose so, but painting gave the leaves a bit of depth so I used my green gel food color and painted the centers. I diluted the food color with some water so that the color was not too concentrated.
Paint the centers of the fondant leaf with diluted green food color

  • I then let the leaves aside for the paint to dry.  I kept them covered as I did not want the fondant to dry out completely.
  • As for the leaf topper on the cake, since it was going to be placed upright on the cake, I added some CMC into the green fondant before cutting the leaf out. And I also rolled the fondant slightly thicker than the rest. This was so that I could attach a toothpick to it.
Place the paper template on the piece of thickly rolled green fondant.

  • And because the leaf was thick, cutting it out with a sugar craft knife needed a bit more effort and I also had to smooth the sides of the leaf with my sugar craft tools after cutting for smooth edges. 
Use a fondant shaping tool to smooth the sides of the cut-out leaf

  • I then painted the leaf just like the other leaves and attached a toothpick to the bottom. I let this leaf to set and dry so that it could stand upright on the cake.

Let the paint on the fondant jungle leaves set.

Assembling the Lion King Cake

  • A day before the birthday, I baked the cakes. I let them cool completely, before leveling and layering them with buttercream.
  • I then covered and smoothed the entire cake with buttercream and piped a small rope border all around the sides with the star tip number 18. 
Cover the cake with buttercream and pipe out a row of pipe border all around it.

  • The first decoration on the cake was the edible image of the Lion King characters.

Lion King edible image

  • I wanted to image to have a thin black background so I rolled some black fondant thin, cut a circle out of it. I made sure the circle was large enough to fit the edible image. I then attached the edible image onto it with a damp brush.

Roll a piece of black fondant and cut it with a round cutter
Attach the edible image onto the black fondant with a damp brush.

  • I attached the edible image (along with the black fondant background) onto the front side of the cake with some buttercream.
Attach the Lion King edible image onto the sides of the cake with buttercream

  • After that, I attached the 4 leaves around the edible image, 2 on the left and 2 on the right, as shown below:
Attach the fondant jungle leaves onto the sides of the cake
Fondant jungle leaves on a buttercream covered cake

  • The Simba cake topper went on next followed by the leave topper. Since both these toppers had wooden picks attached to them, attaching these to the cake was just a matter of poking the picks into the cake.
Attach the Simba cake topper onto the buttercream covered cake
Attach the fondant jungle leaf cake topper onto the buttercream covered cake

  • Next, I made the letters. I added my son's name in 3D block letters all around the front top of the cake. To make the letters, I kneaded some CMC into white fondant, rolled it to about 1 cm thick and cut the letters out using my alphabet letter cutter. For ease of attaching them to the cake, I inserted a toothpick into the bottom of each letter.
  • I then painted the front surface of each letter in gold, to match the gold border of the Simba topper. 
  • I had to let the letters rest for a few hours to set and hold shape before I put them on the cake. I actually prepared these letters while waiting for my cake to bake, so right after adding all the remaining decorations on the cake, I was able to put the letters on.
3D fondant letters painted in gold on buttercream cake

And with that, the Lion King cake was complete. My son was truly happy with his cake. I was happy to make him happy and I hope you will find this tutorial useful.

Happy Decorating :)

A Lion King Cake in Buttercream and Fondant accentsThe Lion King Cake

Pin this Lion King cake tutorial for later here:

Learn how to decorate a Lion King-themed cake with this easy tutorialThe Lion King Cake Tutorial

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