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Koala Cake

This week I’m continuing my animal cake series with this fuzzy little koala cake!

It’s made with super moist, 6-inch chocolate cake layers and delicious chocolate buttercream. It’s just as cute as it is tasty!

image of an adorable buttercream koala cake made with chocolate cake layers

Making this Koala Cake: Step by Step Tutorial

Let’s walk through each step of this cake together to make sure it turns out as amazing as possible!

Step 1: Bake and Level Your Cake Layers

Line three 6-inch round cake pans with parchment rounds and grease with non-stick baking spray or homemade cake release.

Fill with chocolate cake batter, then bake for 24-26 minutes or until a skewer comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let them cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Flip the cake layers onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Level the cake layers with a serrated knife once they’re fully cooled. I also chose to torte each cake layer to turn my 3, thicker cake layers in 6 thinner cake layers, but this is totally optional!

image of moist black cocoa cake layers that have been leveled with a serrated knife

Step #2: Make the Buttercream Frosting

While the cake layers bake and cool, make the vanilla buttercream frosting. You can use either an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer.

If your frosting seems too thick after mixing together all your ingredients, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). Or if the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time).

If you’re unsure how thick your frosting should be, you can learn what consistency you’re looking for in my frosting consistency post. I use a bit of black cocoa to naturally color the frosting, but you can also use a tiny drop of black gel food coloring.

image of grey buttercream frosting in a bowl

Step 3: Assemble and Frost the Cake Layers

Next it’s time to assemble the cake! I recommend freezing your cake layers for about 20 minutes before stacking them. It will make them was easier to handle and frost.

Stack and frost the cake layers on an 8-inch greaseproof cake board. I recommend using a dab of frosting to help stick the bottom cake layer to the board.

Spread an even layer of frosting between each cake layer with an offset spatula. Add a thin coat of frosting (crumb coat) around the cake to fully cover the cake layers.

Smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (30 minutes) or freezer (10 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.

Cover the cake in a second, thicker layer of buttercream and smooth using a bench scraper. Chill the cake again until the frosting is firm to the touch. This will make it much easier to add on the Koala’s facial features and fur.

image of grey buttercream being smoothed onto a 6-inch cake

Step 4: Making this Little Koala’s Face

While the cake chills, roll out the pink fondant and cut out two thick, large circles (about 2.5 inches in diameter). Cut out a triangle from each ear to make it easier to press onto the cake – see photo above. Insert two toothpicks into each ear and set aside.

Roll out the black fondant and use a circle cutter or bottle cap to cut out two 1-inch circles to make the eyes. Add two small white circles to each eye to give them a cartoonish look.

Cut out a semi-circle from the black fondant to make the Koala’s mouth. Add a small piece of pink fondant to look like the tongue.

Knead the remaining black fondant and shape it into the koala’s nose.

I recommend using small circle cutters to get the shape of the ears and eyes just right.

image of fondant cut outs shaped to make the face of a koala cake

Step 5: Add the Finishing Touches

The final step is to add on its facial features and cover the cake in frosting fur!

Remove the cake from the freezer or fridge and add the fondant ears, eyes, nose, and mouth. Pipe grey buttercream fur around the entire cake and the ears, then enjoy!

Koala Cake Substitutions and Swaps

Below are some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this marble cake recipe.

  • All Purpose Flour – This recipe turns out best with AP flour, but you can use a gluten free flour blend or cake flour if that’s all you have on hand.
  • Granulated Sugar – I do not recommend reducing the amount of sugar or changing the type of sugar, as it will change the texture of the cake layers.
  • Black Cocoa – This recipe turns out best with black cocoa (I get mine on amazon), but you can also use regular unsweetened baking cocoa in this cake recipe. For the frosting, I recommend adding a small drop of black gel good coloring if you don’t have black cocoa.
  • Buttermilk – You can also use full fat yogurt, sour cream, whole milk, or an alternative yogurt or milk (almond, soy, oat) if you’re dairy free.
  • Eggs – If you don’t have eggs on hand or you have an egg allergy you can use a flaxseed egg or an egg replacer.
  • Vegetable Oil – You can use any flavorless oil in this recipe, so canola or even sunflower oil would work great!
  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter in this recipe. Just be sure to omit the salt that this frosting recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Heavy Cream – Whole milk or alternative milk (soy, almond, oat) will work fine in this frosting recipe if that’s what you have on hand.

Tips for Making the Best Koala Cake

  • Be sure to properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • Ingredients at room temp mix together better, so be sure you set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Mix your cake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. This will ensure your cake layers are tender and soft.
  • Use a bench scraper to help you get your final coat of frosting super smooth.
  • Chill your cake layers in the freezer for about 20 minutes before assembling the cake. This makes it easier to stack and frost.
  • If you notice your frosting is getting too warm, wrap a paper towel around your piping bag! It minimize the transfer of heat from your hands into the frosting.
  • Make this koala cake vegan or dairy free if needed! Use your favorite type of dairy free milk to replace the buttermilk and heavy cream, and use vegan butter sticks in place of the butter. For the eggs I recommend using an egg replacer like this.
  • If you want to make a larger, 8-inch version of this cake, double this cake recipe to make 3, 8-inch cake layers.
image of chelsey white of chelsweets with adorable koala cake

Making This Koala Cake In Advance & Storage Tips

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you make this koala birthday cake, I’d love to hear what think of it! Let me know by leaving a rating below.

If you plan to share on social media, you can tag me @chelsweets! Also use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations on social media.

Yield: 20 servings

Koala Cake

image of an adorable buttercream koala cake made with chocolate cake layers

This adorable koala cake is made with moist chocolate cake layers and chocolate buttercream. It's just as cute as it is tasty!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 34 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 34 minutes

Ingredients

Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (195g)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (300g)
  • 2/3 cup sifted black cocoa (50g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (6g)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (6g)
  • 3/4 tsp salt (4g)
  • 3/4 cup very hot water (180g)
  • 1 tsp instant espresso of coffee (3g)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (180g)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (75g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg white, room temperature (86g)
  • 3/4 tsp white vinegar (3g)

Grey Black Cocoa Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (339g)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (8g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (2g)
  • 5 cups powdered sugar (625g)
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream or whipping cream (30g)
  • 1 Tbsp of black cocoa (5g)

Decorations

  • 4 toothpicks or small wooden skewers
  • 3/4 cup pink fondant
  • 1/3 cup black fondant
  • 1 Tbsp white fondant

Suggested Equipment

Instructions

Chocolate Cake Layers

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C. Line and grease three, six-inch cake pans.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients (all-purpose flour, sugar, baking cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a separate, large bowl combine the instant espresso or coffee and hot water. Stir until dissolved.
  4. Add buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract, egg & egg white and vinegar into the espresso mixture. Whisk together until combined.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whisk together until fully incorporated. The batter will be on the thin side, but that’s the consistency you're after!
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans, and bake for 24-26 minutes (or until a skewer comes out with a few moist crumbs).
  7. Let the layers cool for 10 minutes, then flip the cake layers onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  8. Level the cake layers with a serrated knife once they're fully cooled.
  9. If you're making the cake layers in advance, wrap and freeze them like this. Remove them from the freezer about 15 minutes before you plan to assemble the cake. They will still be cold, and this will make them easier to stack and minimize crumbing as you frost the cake.

Grey Buttercream Frosting

  1. Beat the unsalted butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds until smooth with a paddle attachment and stand mixer or a hand mixer.
  2. Mix in the vanilla extract and salt on a low speed.
  3. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and mix on a low speed. Half way through add in the heavy cream to make it easier to mix. I like to place a kitchen towel over my mixer to contain any powdered sugar clouds.
  4. Add in the black cocoa. Mix on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached. It should be a light grey color.
  5. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 tsp at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
  6. Cover the frosting with plastic wrap to prevent crusting and set aside.

Assembling this Koala Cake

  1. Stack the cake layers on a greaseproof cardboard cake round or flat plate.
  2. Spread a small dab of grey buttercream on the center of the board, to help your cake layer stay in place. Center the first cake layer the cake board.
  3. Spread an even layer of grey buttercream on top of the cake layer with a large offset spatula. Repeat with remaining cake layers.
  4. Place the top cake layer upside down to make it easier to frost.
  5. Cover the cake in a thin layer of white buttercream and smooth using a bench scraper.
  6. Chill the cake in the fridge (30 minutes) or freezer (10 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  7. Cover the cake in a thicker layer of buttercream and smooth using a bench scraper. Chill the cake again in the fridge (30 minutes) or freezer (10 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch. This will make it much easier to add on the fondant facial features and fur.
  8. Place the remaining grey buttercream in a piping bag fit with a small grass tip and set aside.

Decorating this Koala Cake

  1. While the cake chills, roll out the pink fondant and cut out two thick, large circles (about 2.5 inches in diameter). Cut out a triangle from each ear to make it easier to press onto the cake - see photo above. Insert two toothpicks into each ear and set aside.
  2. Roll out the black fondant and use a circle cutter or bottle cap to cut out two 1-inch circles to make the eyes. Add two small white circles to each eye to give them a cartoonish look.
  3. Cut out a semi-circle from the black fondant to make the Koala's mouth. Add a small piece of pink fondant to look like the tongue.
  4. Knead the remaining black fondant and shape it into the koala's nose.
  5. Remove the cake from the freezer or fridge and add the fondant ears, eyes, nose, and mouth.
  6. Pipe grey buttercream fur around the entire cake and the ears, then enjoy!

Notes

Tips for Making the Best Koala Cake

  • Be sure to properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • Ingredients at room temp mix together better, so be sure you set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Mix your cake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. This will ensure your cake layers are tender and soft.
  • Use a bench scraper to help you get your final coat of frosting super smooth.
  • Chill your cake layers in the freezer for about 20 minutes before assembling the cake. This makes it easier to stack and frost.
  • If you notice your frosting is getting too warm, wrap a paper towel around your piping bag! It minimize the transfer of heat from your hands into the frosting.
  • Make this koala cake vegan or dairy free if needed! Use your favorite type of dairy free milk to replace the buttermilk and heavy cream, and use vegan butter sticks in place of the butter. For the eggs I recommend using an egg replacer like this.
  • If you want to make a larger, 8-inch version of this cake, double this cake recipe to make 3, 8-inch cake layers.

Making This Koala Cake In Advance & Storage Tips

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information

Yield

20

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 437Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 66mgSodium 272mgCarbohydrates 61gFiber 0gSugar 52gProtein 2g

Amanda

Sunday 12th of September 2021

How long would you recommend cooking this recipe as an 8 inch cake?

Olga

Monday 5th of July 2021

What brand of fondant do you recommend? Or do you make your own? Thank you!

Fiona

Friday 18th of June 2021

This came out amazing, thank you!!

Hetal Paliwal

Sunday 30th of May 2021

How to replace egg with flaxseeds. I mean what will be the quantity.

My-Lan Eberhard

Friday 28th of May 2021

is this cake thick? i’ve used your oreo cake i believe and the cake is super thick

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