How To: Panda Cake – Maple Syrup Cake with Coffee Buttercream Icing

Hi Nibblers!

          Panda cake coming your way this week. My inspiration for this cake came from my brother, Richard who recently celebrated his 26th birthday. He’s a lover of pandas and even has a painting to cement those feelings. I had so much fun making this cake. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a Panda face come to life. The only problem I had with it was I totally forgot the fact that once I popped coffee into the buttercream, I ruined the white Panda fur. So, if you’re attempting this at home and want to make sure that your cake is a more accurate interpretation on a Panda just omit the coffee flavouring until you’re ready to decorate the ears / eyes / nose etc.

How To: Panda Cake – Maple Syrup Cake with Coffee Buttercream Icing

What you’ll need:
Makes 3 x 20cm round layers – Takes approx. 4 hours including cooling time
Maple Cake component:
– 250g unsalted butter (softened)
– 250g brown sugar
– 300g self raising flour
– 150g self-raising flour
– 2 tsp. cinnamon
– 250mL milk
– 4 eggs
– 2 tsp. vanilla essence
– 2 Tbs. of maple syrup – extra for decorating
Maple Coffee Buttercream
– 420g of unsalted butter (softened)
– 150g icing sugar
– 5 tsp. instant coffee with 1Tbs. water
– 2 Tbs. maple syrup
– 3 drops of black food colouring

How To: 
Maple Syrup Cake
1. Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees Celcius or 300 degrees Farenheit (fan-forced – if possible)
2. Line round cake tins with baking paper
3. Beat butter and sugar until well combined
4. Add eggs, vanilla essence, cinnamon and maple syrup and continue mixing
5. Add flour and milk in 2-3 portions and beat until all incorporated
6. Spoon cake batter evenly into three cake tins – lightly tapping so that batter spreads to the edges
7. Pop into the oven and bake cakes for 25 minutes – testing cakes with a skewer to ensure it’s cooked. It should come out clean at the end of the bake time. If not, leave in the oven for an extra 5 minutes
8. Leave cakes to cool for 5 minutes in tin then pop onto cooling rack
Note: If you’re short on time, pop cake layers straight into the freezer to cool quicker before decorating – Needs at least 30 minutes

Maple Coffee Buttercream
1. Beat butter on high for approx. 10 minutes until butter turns from an egg yellow to an off white colour
2. Add icing sugar and beat until well combined
3. Add maple syrup and beat
Note: Stop now if you want your panda to have white fur. If that doesn’t phase you, continue on with the steps
4. Add coffee / water mix and beat well then seperate one heaped cup of buttercream into another mixing bowl
5. Add black food colouring to separated buttercream component then set aside for decorating
Note: If you want your cream a deeper black, just keep adding food colouring a drip at a time until your desired shade

Now it’s time to assemble!

Maple Syrup drizzle

1. Level two layers of the cake until they’re almost identical then set aside
2. Cut two 9-10cm diameter circles from leftover 3rd baked cake layer – for the ears
3. From the two 9-10cm circles you just cut, slice the circles evenly to form semi circles then set aside
4. For the Panda’s snout, cut a small circle with a diameter of 3 cm from leftover 3rd cake tier then set aside
Note: With the leftover cake scraps, they’ll be perfect with a cup of tea OR crumbed and made into cake pops. Don’t waste the edible bits!
5. Place first cake layer onto cake board / plate
6. Drizzle on a few swirls of maple syrup on top the the first layer then apply and even coating of maple coffee buttercream
7. Add 2nd cake layer directly on the first layer and repeat the drizzling of maple syrup and application on maple coffee buttercream
8. Apply the maple coffee buttercream around the whole cake covering the edges – no need to be perfect as you’re trying to represent fur
9. Place the 3cm circle about 3cm south of centre of the cake then cover the snout in buttercream
10. Repeat the drizzle of maple syrup and application of buttercream to the semi circle pieces so that you have 2 ears that are also 2 tiered to match the cake
11. Place ears on a 45 degree angle on either side of the top of Panda’s head then apply buttercream
12. Using an open star tip – or whatever you have at home to resemble fur like pattern – pipe black buttercream to cover both ears
13. Proceed to piping/drawing eye patches starting from the snout piece leaving an oval like shape in the middle for the panda’s eyes
14. Continue onto drawing a triangle button nose on the snout and a smile as per my picture displayed

Richie with his cake 🙂

15. Smooth out eye patches and nose with toothpick or an end of a spoon to eliminate the harsh edges created from the piping tip
16. Enjoy!

         I definitely loved doing some arts and crafts with this cake! It’s a dense type of cake but the maple coffee buttercream adds a creamy rich texture that seals the deal. If you do give this one a try, make sure to leave a comment down below! I can already see a panda cake tradition happening in the years to come so I guess stay tuned for Panda cake 2.0 one day. Hope you’re all having a lovely week.

Nibble Away,


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