Big Top Extravaganza

Who doesn’t love a circus themed party!
Ballons, bright colours and face painting were a staple for our kids party for years.
Add in a clown and fancy dress, and be prepared for a day to remember!


Materials –

  • 15cm (6in) round, 7.5cm (3in) deep and 15cm (6in) round, 13cm (5in) deep cakes (see recipes), on a thin cake board or foam board, layered and fill with buttercream or ganache.
  • 200g (7oz) extra buttercream or ganache.
  • 1kg (2lb 4oz) white sugar paste (rolled fondant).
  • Flower paste (gum paste) – 35g (1¼ oz) black, 200g (7oz) red, white and yellow 50g (1¾oz) green, 25g (1oz) blue.
  • 20cm (8in) round cake, 7.5cm (3in) deep, covered with white sides and a blue top, dowelled.
  • 25cm (10in) cake drum iced in white sugarpaste.


Equipment –

  • 13cm (5in) round card, board or paper template.
  • Templates – entrance, cone strip, side strip and flag (See tepmplates)******
  • Three thin dowels or straws.
  • (Jem) Scallop strip cutter.
  • Star cutters – 1.5cm (5/8in), 2.5cm (1in).
  • 1cm (3/8in) Circle cutter
  • 1m (40in) length of satin ribbon.

  1. First of all we need to carve the circus tent!
    Place a cocktail stick in the top centre of the 15in (6in) round, 7.5cm (3in) deep cake. Carve down and out from the cocktail stick to the base until you have a wide cone shape with straight sloping sides.
    Firm up the cake by storing in the refrigerator for an hour or so.
  2. Place your 13in (5in) round card, board or template on top of the 15cm (6in) round, 13cm (5in) deep cake. Carve down and out from the board to the base to create the tent sides, and coat with buttercream or ganache and firm in the refrigerator.
  3. Roll out 450g (1lb) of white sugar paste and cover the cone cake. Use a smoother and work at it to achieve a flat surface, then run it around the base of the cake perpendicular to the work surface to make a 4mm (1/8in) flat edge all the way around the cake.
    Set aside to dry.
  4. Circus Tent cake 1Roll out the remaining sugarpaste and cover the base part of the tent.
    Set aside and dry for an hour or so.
    Place the entrance template on the front of the cake and out out the icing.
  5. Circus Tent Cake 2Roll out your black flowerpaste to 2mm (1/16in) thick and use the same door template to cut out the entrance. Please the entrance shape back into the cake, and smooth with your finger to achieve best results.
  6. Circus Tent Steps 3Roll out 30g (1oz) of red flower paste to around 2mm (1/16in) thick. Using the entrance template, cut out the shape, and then cut directly in half vertically.
    If you leave the paste for around 5 minutes or so, it will harden to make handling easier.
    Brush some edible glue onto the outer edge of the triangular halves, and inside the doorway of the tent and carefully attach the red piece onto the cake.
    Open the back corner gently, and hold it for 30 seconds or so to ensure it will stay in place.
    Repeat for the other entrance side.
    Circus Tent Cake Steps 4
  7. Thinly roll out around half of the remaining red flower paste.
    Cut out nine full side strips to go around the tent using the template as a guide.
    Use edible glue to stick a single strip on the back of the cake trimming where necessary.
  8. Cut out another red flower paste strip to be positioned above the entrance of the tent. Use the entrance template once again to cut around the shape of the door and trim to fit.
    Sure the piece in place using edible glue.
    Glue four strips on each side of the cake spacing them evenly apart between the front and back strips already in place.
  9. Using the cone strip template, cut out six red flower paste strips which will go on top of the tent.
    Stick the strips evenly into place using edible glue, and adjust where necessary to fit neatly at both the top and base of the cake.
  10. Stick the 20cm (8in) cake onto the cake drum and assemble the tent using three dowels or straws in the bottom tier to hold the weight of the cone.
    Secure the base and top in place using royal icing.
  11. Circus Tent Cake steps 5For the trim around the top of the tent, fill in the gaps between the red strips on the base of the cone to allow for our scallop border to sit flat. Simply cut out tiny strips from white flowerpaste, trim to fit and glue in with edible glue.
  12. Now roll out 30g (1oz) of yellow flowerpaste to 55cm (22in) long and cut a scalloped edge using your scallop strip cutter.
    Using a large knife, cut a parallel straight edge down the other side of the flowerpaste, around 1.5cm (5/8in) from the scallop edge.
    Roll a marble sized ball from the remaining yellow flowerpaste and glue it to the top of the cake using edible glue.
  13. To decorate the bottom tier, calculate the circumference of your cake.
    Working off my original measurements, it should be around 67-70cm (26-27½in).
    Divide the circumference of the cake by eight, and the height of your triangles will be the height of your cake.
    Make a triangle template of your measurements to make it easier and accurate.
  14. Circus Tent 6 Thinly roll out the white and yellow flowerpots and use your template (from step 13) to cut out eight triangles of each colour.
    Stick one colour upwards, and the other downwards with edible glue around the cake.
    Use the remaining white and yellow flowerpaste to gut out some stars for added decoration.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *