Bejewelled elephant

Bejewelled elephant

Masala chai cake

The Birthday Cake Book
Laura Edwards

A symbol of wisdom and luck, this beautiful animal is decked out to party as only an Indian elephant would be, heavily encrusted with rubies, emeralds and gold.

To decorate


Quantity Ingredient
1.4kg white sugarpaste
egg yellow food colour paste
black food colour paste
claret food colour paste
1 Masala chai cake with ginger fudge frosting, baked in a 20 cm round tin
1 quantity ginger fudge frosting, (see note)
icing sugar, to dust
edible glue, (optional)
60 g bag white royal icing, fitted with no. 1 nozzle
selection 2 mm and 4 mm gold and green dragees
clear piping gel
christmas red food colour paste
mint green food colour paste
royal gold powder
clear spirit, such as vodka
70cm 5-6 cm-wide bejewelled or bright ribbon

Special equipment

Quantity Ingredient
25 cm round gold cake drum, (optional)
elephant template
sharp craft knife
small paint brush


  1. To decorate: Colour 1 kg of the sugarpaste a strong yellow-orange with egg yellow food colour, 200 g elephant grey, using the black, and 100 g two shades of pink, using the claret. Leave the rest white. Trim the cake level, turn it upside down and adhere it to the cake drum, if using, or a cake stand with a little of the frosting. Spread the remaining frosting over the whole cake and sides.
  2. Make the tusk: roll a thin sausage of white sugarpaste to 5 cm long, tapering at one end. Dust a work surface with icing sugar. Knead the orange sugarpaste until pliable and roll out to 5 mm thick and slightly larger than the cake and sides. Place it over the cake. Smooth gently with your hands, cut away the excess and reserve. Leave overnight.
  3. For the elephant, on a work surface dusted with icing sugar, roll out the grey sugarpaste to 4 mm thick and slightly larger than the template. Place the template over the sugarpaste and, using a craft knife, cut out the elephant. Lift on to the cake and, either with edible glue or royal icing, stick it to the top of the cake. Cut out one grey ear too. Roll out the deep pink sugarpaste to 4 mm thick and 9 cm square. Cut zigzags at the base and stick on the elephant’s back. Roll out a smaller piece and cut out the cap. Stick to the head. With a knife, score a criss-cross and press in tiny gold dragees. Roll out the orange sugarpaste to 9 cm wide and 1 cm shorter than the deep pink square. Cut zigzags at the base and stick on top. Repeat with the paler pink sugarpaste.
  4. Pipe three rows of little flowers on the cloth. Once dry, place green dragees in the centre of one row. Mix clear piping gel with Christmas red food colour and, using a paint brush, make a ruby centre for the other two rows and the base of the orange cloth. Make an emerald for his forehead with clear piping gel and mint green food colour and pipe white dots around it. Allow the dots to dry for an hour then, with a fine brush, paint with the gold powder mixed with vodka. Mould 1.5 cm tassels from the pink and orange sugarpaste. Mould the ropes for his feet by twisting long thin sausages of orange and deeper pink.
  5. Brush the orange cloth with edible glue, or royal icing, and sprinkle over the tiny dragees. Using royal icing or edible glue, attach a gold dragee eye, the ear and the tusk, then pipe on the nails. Finally, attach the tassels, ropes and ribbon (seam at the back).


  • For the frosting, cream together 150 g unsalted butter and 150 g icing sugar for up to five minutes until light and fluffy. Very slowly add the 1/2 lemon juice and 1-2 tablespoons ginger syrup. Add 2 pieces of very finely chopped stem ginger, if you like. Spread the frosting all over the top of the cake, and carefully transfer to a serving plate or cake stand. Top with a few red chillies, if you want.
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