How to Make a Big Top Circus Cake
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How to Make a Big Top Circus Cake

Difficulty Intermediate
Budget £10 - £30
Time 1 hr +

Follow these tips and techniques for making the greatest cake on earth! Create something really spectacular using rice crispy treats to create circus tent shapes and let your imagination and creativity run wild!

You will need

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How to make

You will also need:

Non-stick icing sheet

Modelling kit & cotton tool wrap

Small sharp knife 



Roll red and yellow modelling paste with a star impressions pin. Cut out eight yellow stars and eight red stars. Leave overnight to set.


Use popped rice to make the tent shapes: melt 50 grams of butter and 200 grams of marshmallows in a microwave for 90 seconds, then stir in 150 grams of popped rice cereal. Leave to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. The mixture is ready to work with once you can make a ball without it crumbling.


Grease a 4 inch diameter funnel and fill to the brim with rice mixture. Press in firmly then place on a cake board. Push a dowelling rod through the funnel and through the rice mixture. Tap to remove the tent shape and leave to set for an hour.


To make the disc, grease the inside of a 5 centimetre circular cutter, fill with rice mixture to 1 cm deep then press down and level. Make a hole with a dowelling rod, remove the disc and leave to set.


To make the mini tent, roll a 3.5 centimetre ball of rice mixture and push a dowelling rod through the middle. Place on a cake board and model around the dowel. Leave to set.


Measure the height of the tent and make a template for cutting triangles with a 3cm base. Divide the circumference of the tent by three as a guide to the number of triangles needed, half white and half red.


With the template as a guide, use a pizza cutter and ruler to cut out triangles from red and white sugarpaste. Remove the dowel and stick the triangles to the rice tent using buttercream. Smooth the edges together with your fingers, trim the points and re-insert the dowel. Repeat to cover the mini tent with 1.5cm wide triangles.


Cut a 5 centimetre blue sugarpaste circle, stick on the top of the rice mixture disc and make a hole all the way through with a dowel. Stick a strip of yellow sugarpaste around the edge, smoothing the joins with your fingers.


Measure the combined height of the large tent, small tent and disc, and trim the large tent dowelling rod to 1 centimetre shorter than this measurement. Slide the large tent, then the disc and then the small tent on the dowel. Roll a ball of yellow sugarpaste and stick on top of the mini tent and glue a red star on top.


Cover the top of the 4 inch cake with white sugarpaste. Stick a 4 centimetre wide blue rectangle to the side to make the inside of the curtain. Cover the top of the 8 inch cake with yellow star embossed sugarpaste. Add 1.5 centimetre wide red and white sugarpaste stripes around these tiers. Use a set square and an icing smoother to ensure the stripes are straight.


Assemble all the tiers of the cake, using dowels to support each tier. Add a 1.5 centimetre yellow strip around the tent join and the top of the other tiers.


Roll out a thin layer of red modelling paste and firmly roll with a star embossing pin. Cut two 9 by 9 centimetre squares. Drape over five dowels then press more dowels into the paste in the gaps between the lower dowels to create a folded fabric effect.


Remove the dowels and gently pinch the folds together at one end to make a curtain.


Stick over one half of the blue door, fanning out the folds. Repeat for the other curtain.


Cut 6 by 6 centimetre modelling paste squares and use the same technique to create red swags for the 6 inch cake. Use the bone tool to press the swag ends on to the cake and stick a ball of yellow sugarpaste in the indents.


Create rows of bunting for each of the tiers. Roll out blue sugarpaste and emboss with the star impressions pin. Cut a straight edge and use just the tip of the crown cutter to cut out bunting flags along this edge.


Stick the bunting flags around the yellow bands on the three tiers and the disc. Use the tip of a #5 icing nozzle to cut mini circles from rolled yellow sugarpaste, pushing out the circles with the end of a small veining tool. Stick a yellow circle to each flag. Cut two 4 by 2 cenitmetre strips of yellow sugarpaste, cut a ‘V’ in the end of each one and stick on the 8 inch cake. Add an 8 by 2 centimetre yellow sugarpaste strip on top and add a printed sentiment. Finally, stick a yellow star over the curtains and add the red and yellow stars around the base of the 6 inch tier.

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