My husband’s first kid birthday cake was, I have to say, an unqualified success. Not only was it delicious – vanilla cheesecake mousse filling! – and decorated to the nines with tiny excavation equipment in a very realistic scene, but it had a major surprise inside.


The inside of the round part of the cake was diagonally striped in yellow and black, just like construction caution tape! It was a huge hit. I thought I’d do a quick writeup on how we did it.

My husband has caught the cake decorating bug hard – he spends a lot of time watching tutorials on YouTube. He recommends that if you really want to make a cake like this, you find a video tutorial, which is what he did. But here’s a quick overview!

Step one: bake two round cakes, one vanilla and one chocolate. Using gel food coloring, dye the vanilla cake batter yellow and the chocolate black before you bake. When the cakes have cooled, pop them into the freezer for a while to firm up.

cake how to

Step two: holding a sharp knife at a forty-five degree angle, cut each cake in four concentric circles. The easiest way to do this is to get a set of cake rounds in increasing sizes to use as guides. You can wrap them in foil and re-use them! After you’ve cut the circles, carefully disassemble the cakes and then re-assemble them, alternating colors.

Step three: to make the cakes stay together, flip them carefully upside down and pour chocolate ganache over the bottom to fuse the layers. You can ganache the top, too, for extra insurance; just do it after the bottom has cooled (this might involve a trip to the freezer). Wrap them up and put them back in the freezer until you’re ready to assemble. (The best part – we did this a full week ahead of time!)

Step four: Place one cake on top of the other, layering more ganache in between. You can frost with ganache or the frosting of your choice; we used buttercream, dyed brown with gel coloring.

Step five: slice and impress your guests.