Monday, October 16, 2017

Super duper easy Moana Te Fiti cake...

The Disney movie 'Moana', is taking up where it's predecessors Frozen, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and The Beast, have left off. If you haven't seen or heard of it, you've probably, like me, been living under a rock.
So when my almost 4 year old granddaughter started asking for a Moana cake for her upcoming birthday, I actually had to go away and watch the movie to have any clue of what she was on about!
Here is the story of how I turned 3 $4 mud cakes, some Betty Crocker frosting, dessicated coconut, green food colouring, and purchased sugar flowers into the pretty cake you see above. Apparently a HUGE hit with the 4 year old set :)
You need:
3 purchased cakes, any flavour. Or of course you can bake your own.
2 tubs prepared buttercream frosting or again, about 3-4 cups of your own recipe.
Green food colouring
About 200-300gms of Dessicated Coconut
A small quantity of Green fondant
Sugar flowers, small light and dark pink and yellow, and medium frangipani and hydrangea blossoms or any other you like
Cake board
Bamboo skewers
Start by tinting the coconut green. This is not difficult but it is a bit tedious. I was adding about a teaspoon of green food colouring at a time, and just smooshing it around to break it up and mixing it through. It took about 5 minutes to add enough, and distribute it evenly, to achieve the depth of green I was after.
Take the first cake, and turn it upside down onto the cake board. Because mine were already iced with Glace` icing, there was no need to fix them in place with fondant or buttercream. The icing just grabbed onto the cakeboard.
You can see the icing reflected in the cake board here!
Empty a tub and a half of the frosting (about 2-3 cups) into a medium mixing bowl. Add 2-4 teaspoons of green food colouring.
This sounds a lot, but I was surprised at how much I needed to get the depth of green I was after.

Cover the entire cake with the green buttercream. No need to get fussy with smoothing because this will soon be completely covered in coconut and you won't see it.
...You don't even need a crumb coat with this cake, as the coconut will hide all ills...
Now start applying the green coconut. Sprinkle it liberally over the top...
...and spoon it into your cupped hand...
Pressing it gently on to the sides with your palm. You will lose a lot to the bench at this stage, so be prepared for a clean up later!
Keep going until the cake is covered, then gently angle the cake and the board over the bowl of green coconut and use your fingers or a pastry brush, to brush the excess coconut from the board and the base of the cake, back into the bowl.
Take your other two cakes...
...and trim about 5-7 cms (2-3 inches) from the outer edge to make 2 slightly smaller cakes. I was fortunate to have a cake tin just the right size to use as a template...
Just trim roughly. Again, it will all be covered with buttercream and coconut, so you won't see any irregularities.

 Sit the next cake, upside down again, on the first layer, top with buttercream, and sit the third cake, upside down on that one.
Fix the cakes in place with the three bamboo skewers, and trim the to the surface of the cake with a pair of scissors. Remember to remind anyone cutting the cake, that the skewers are there.
Completely cover the two top layers with your green buttercream.
Apply the green coconut to the two top layers, the same way you did with the first layer.
Take a piece of green fondant about the size of two thumbs, and roll it into a rough snake shape.
Press the shape of the Heart of Te Fiti into the front of the twin layers of your cake. Remember, it's not actually a swirl. Starting from the bottom, it's sort of a rough wave shape, with a curve over the top of it. If that seems too hard (and really it's easier than a swirl), do whatever works for you. There seems no limit on the variations of this idea, really. If it looks right to you, then it will look right to your child.

Us a piece of silicone baking paper and a fondant smoother to flatten the swirl out a bit if you wish.
Smooth the buttercream with the baking paper and smoother as well if you like, but it's not necessary.
Start applying your light and dark pink flowers, using mostly dark as far as you can to replicate Te Fiti in the movie.
Again, the flowers are going to hide any imperfections, like this dent you see in the right side of this photo. That was just from applying the swirl, and without scooping the icing off, I couldn't make it smooth for the life of me. It didn't matter at all. Te Fiti actually morphs into a hilly island, so islands have hills and valleys, right?
I just kept applying flowers until the dent was basically unnoticeable.
These little hydrangea blooms were wired (and were only 95c each!), making it easy to fix them wherever I wanted them.
Frangipani flowers were added to the top, and I was done.
This ingredients for this cake were as follows. Prices are approximate:
3 x premade mud cakes $4 each = $12
2 tubs frosting $5 each = $10
Supermarket small sugar flowers $3 each pack with lots in them = $12
Green food colouring $2
Green prepared fondant $3
Coconut $2
Fancy sugar flowers from a cake decorating store $17
Cake board $2
Total outlay : $60
BUT, I have plenty of ingredients left for another identical cake (my daughter wants one for her 18th in January!), including re-using the larger sugar flowers, so the next Te Fiti cake I make will only require an outlay for the cakes, frosting and a cake board, which will total $24.
So I could realistically make two Te Fiti cakes for $84, or just $42 each.
Try getting a professional cake decorator to make this cake for you for that price!
Other ways of reducing the costs might be:
Bake the cakes yourself
Make the buttercream yourself
Make your own cake board or just use a serving platter or dinner plate
Make marshmallow frangipani flowers for the top
Make pineapple flowers for the top and the base
If you used all of these ideas, you could reduce the costs of making this cake to around $20-$25, and THAT is overestimating.
I could have done any or all of these BUT, I had limited time as I'd already had three fails for another cake idea I'd had, AND my new range hood was being installed that day, and I could not get to my oven!
Things we do for our grandchildren, honestly ;-)
I hope you've found this tutorial helpful.
Have a great week!


  1. Oh Mimi,
    This is just my idea of fairytale goodness - how simply sweet and abundant it looks . Guess who is copying this for a birthday on Saturday - thank you thank you thank you:) I love it!!!!

    1. I'm glad you love it. I was a bit chuffed. Mimi xxx

  2. Dear Mimi, Your cake looks absolutely stunning. I bet your granddaughter loves it. I always look forward to seeing what you get up to - it is always inspiring and always beautifully presented with clear instructions.
    Del xx

    1. Thanks Del. I love sharing my trials and tribulations. Nobody's! Mimi xxx

  3. Mimi, I love the cake. As would my daughter who actually believes she is Moana.

    The green coconut cracked me up, when I was younger my brother had a rugby field cake. Mum did the same tinting coconut green for the grass, but I think the icing must have set before the coconut made it on to the cake. So when he blew out the candles, green coconut went EVERYWHERE lol. One of the most memorable birthday cakes from our childhood!!!

    Lovely job!

    Jen in NZ

    1. Thanks Jen. I laughed at your green coconut story. I can see how that would happen! Mimi xxx

  4. What a beautiful cake. I have never heard of Moana. I'm falling behind in my fairytale stories. ha. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thankyou Thel. I was behind too! It's a gorgeous movie. Mimi xxx

  5. It's so pretty! And I love coconut so that's an added tasty bonus!

  6. I enjoy browsing your site. With thanks!


I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx