Doing an Easter cake is becoming a yearly thing over here, and it has been a blast. In 2016, there was the infamous bunny cake (still far and away the most popular post on the blog). The bunny was followed by the chick, who was followed by a lamb. And this year, I decided to do a duck.
This little guy comes from the Baker’s Coconut Animal Cut-Up Cake. The original is called Quack-Quack the Duck and was decorated with coconut. I just updated the design a little by shortening the neck and wing to bring the proportions in line, and gave him a buttercream makeover.
If you’re not familiar with cut-up cakes, they’re simply a method to make creatively shaped cakes from standard shaped pans. This duck comes from a single 9 inch round. Clever cutting and placement gives this duck his shape.
Now, if you’re like me, cutting pieces so that you get the right proportions sounds like a nightmare. I can barely cut a straight line, much less a perfect curve that intersects the outside at exactly 4 1/2 inches from the top center. Which us what the original instructions tell you to do.
So I made a template for the cutting-challenged like myself. The math is all done for you – just print, place, and cut!
I’ll put my favorite cake and frosting recipe here for you, but feel free to use any cake or frosting recipe you like!
Doctored Cake Mix
- 1 pkg cake mix
- 1 small pkg instant pudding
- 1 cup milk
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup butter
- Mix together all ingredients.
- Pour into greased and floured cake pan.
- Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup shortening
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1-3 Tbsp water or milk
- Beat together butter and shortening.
- Add vanilla and mix in.
- Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
- Add water or milk by Tbsp until desired consistency is reached. Be careful not to add too much!
Duck Cut-up Cake, Step-by-Step
Start with a single 9 in round. This represents about half of a standard box mix. I usually make the rest into cupcakes. They freeze well until I figure out what to do with them (this pull-apart cake comes to mind). You’ll also need the cutting template and a sharp, non-serrated knife.
Cut the outside circle of the template, then place it on the cake. Use the knife to cut along the lines.
You’ll end up with the above. I left the pieces on the triangles so I could tell what they are. Once you’ve cut your pieces, you’ll assemble them on a cake board. Mine is made from half a diaper box wrapped in wax paper.
At this point, you can decorate your duck any way you like. I used buttercream and Wilton decorating tips to get my design.
I started by marking off the beak using Wilton tip 4 and orange icing.
I then used a tip 18 to fill in with stars.
Next, I did the feet with orange stars. I actually pulled the feet away from the body to make decorating easier. Once I finished, I pushed them into place.
I did the eye next, piping the shape with gray icing and the 4 tip, then filling with white and gray using the 18 tip.
Then comes the time-consuming part. I filled the rest of the duck with yellow icing and the 18 tip. Hand strength really comes into play here!
The final step is to add details. I gave the duck feathers on his wings using the 4 tip and orange frosting. To finish, I gave him a blue bow using the Wilton 104 petal tip. I piped petal shapes to make each side of the bow, then two ribbons hanging down.
And that’s it! Enjoy your happy little duck!