Harry Potter fans will love this easy Monster Book of Monsters cake for a birthday party, Halloween dessert, or Harry Potter themed party of any kind. All you need is a simple box cake mix with easy cream cheese frosting and a few easy piping tricks.
In our house, the 11th birthday is officially known as the Harry Potter birthday.
Both girls requested a dessert fitting of a future Hogwarts student for their special day.
The Peanut's Golden Snitch birthday cake was so simple but stunning. I wasn't sure how we were going to follow that up for Little Pea.
Then she really threw me for a loop when she requested a Monster Book of Monsters cake for her birthday.
At first I thought it would be complicated, but then I realized I had everything I needed right in my kitchen!
This crazy impressive cake is PERFECT for a beginner baker because:
- It uses a simple box cake mix.
- You could use canned frosting, but homemade is more delicious and takes just a few minutes.
- You only need one special frosting piping tip.
- The technique is VERY forgiving and really fun.
- Tools You Need
- How to Bake the Cake
- Make the Frosting
- How to Assemble the Layer Cake
- How to Decorate the Monster Cake
- How to Frost the White Pages of the Book Cake
- How to Pipe the Frosting Fur
- How to Make the Red Tongue
- Place the Candy Google Eyes
- Trouble Shooting Tips
- More Harry Potter Ideas
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
Tools You Need
The supply list for the cake is really very easy.
The Essential Items You Need:
- Box Cake Mix: Choose your favorite flavor. My lady requested vanilla.
- 1 tub of chocolate frosting and 1 tub of vanilla frosting *See Note Below
- 2 Brownie Pans: This is a two-layer cake. To get the right size and shape to mimic a book, you need a baking pan sized 11 x 7 inches. Do not try to substitute a 9 x 13-inch pan, it will be too big. You can buy a 2-pack of the perfect shaped brownie pans here.
- Grass Piping Tip: To give the monster that unique furry look, I used this piping tip.
- Prepared Red Fondant: You can buy premade and pre-colored fondant to use for the tongue in small packages like this one.
- Candy Google Eyes: For the monster to look back at you, you need a simple package of candy google eyes like this. I love the variety of sizes for future projects.
- Parchment Paper: This comes in handy for lining the cake pans to make sure your layers come out neatly.
A note on frosting:
You could make this cake with canned frosting but I strongly encourage you to make my homemade cream cheese frosting instead. You'd just need one batch of the classic cream cheese frosting and one batch of the chocolate cream cheese frosting to finish the cake.
Make them back to back in the same mixing bowl, you wouldn't even need to wash it in between if you made the plain frosting first.
Once you try homemade frosting, you'll never go back to the prepared kind again.
I cut corners on box cake mix all the time, but the homemade frosting makes all the difference.
Nice to Have Extra:
- Cardboard Cake Boards: You can build and decorate the cake on the actual cake platter you plan to serve it on if you prefer, but I loved the ease of using this white coated cake board. It makes the cake very easy to store in the fridge as needed. You can buy them individually at Michael's or a bakery supply store or just buy a pack of them to keep for other projects here.
How to Bake the Cake
Prepare the box cake mix batter according to the directions on the box.
Line the bottoms of the cake pans with parchment paper trimmed to fit the surface of the pan.
Grease the pans with softened butter, place the parchment rectangle on the bottom, and rub the parchment with a little more butter.
Pour the cake batter into the pans evenly. I was able to use my entire batch of cake batter across the two pans, but don't fill your pans more than ⅔ full or they may overflow.
Bake the cakes according to the directions on the box. I used the time for the 9 x 13-inch cake and just reduced it by a few minutes to check if they were done. A toothpick should come out cleanly when inserted in the middle.
Let the cakes cool completely.
Make the Frosting
You can use either buttercream or cream cheese frosting, whichever you prefer.
My ladies LOVE cream cheese frosting so that's what we used.
To tint the monster's fur brown, I added cocoa powder to ⅔ of the frosting, leaving ⅓ of the frosting plain cream colored for the open side of the book.
To keep this cake easier, you could use canned frosting but it may not hold the shape as well as homemade. Just buy 2 cans chocolate and 1 can vanilla frosting.
How to Assemble the Layer Cake
Place a cake board over one of the cake pans. Pinching the two pieces together, flip the cake out over onto the board and place it on the counter.
Tap the pan and wiggle it a little to make sure the cake dropped onto the board neatly. Lift the pan. Peel away the parchment paper.
Spread an even layer of frosting over this first cake layer.
Use a second cake board to flip the second cake layer out of the pan. (If you didn't buy the cake boards, you could use a non-stick cookie sheet instead.
Peel the parchment off the second cake layer and carefully lift the layer with your hands and quickly place it on top of the first frosted cake layer.
How to Decorate the Monster Cake
There is a very specific order of decorating that I recommend:
- Frost all four sides of the cake with cream colored frosting.
- Pipe the spine of the book with fur.
- Pipe the bottom "cover" of the book around the three edges of cream frosting.
- Roll the red fondant, cut out the tongue, drape it from the top of the cake down one of the sides.
- Finish piping the top of the cake in brown fur.
For full instructions on each step, see below.
How to Frost the White Pages of the Book Cake
Use the reserved cream colored frosting to frost all four sides, but not the top, of the cake.
I simply used a butter knife to spread the frosting but you can use any frosting knife you prefer. Smooth it out as evenly as you can around all four connecting sides.
How to Make the Pages Texture:
I gently dragged a fork in horizontal rows to create the texture of the pages on the cream colored frosting.
How to Pipe the Frosting Fur
Use a frosting coupler and piping bag to secure the grass textured piping tip.
Fill the piping bag with the chocolate frosting and twist the open end closed.
Choose one long side of the cake to become the "spine" of the book. Starting at the bottom corner, pipe a dollop of frosting and gently pull away from the cake while releasing your squeeze on the piping bag.
This will give a hair-like clump of "grass" with straggly ends. The first few won't look really great but as you fill in the space, it will start to come together.
Move the tip right next to where you just squeezed and pipe another dollop of frosting. Move in long rows from side to side all up that side of the cake.
Once the spine has been covered in brown fur, pipe a border around the bottom edge of the three "pages" sides of the cake to mimic the bottom cover of the book.
From here you'll want to make the red tongue and place it according to directions below.
Lastly, I worked in patches, moving row by row, to make sure every spot of the top of the cake was covered for the front "cover" of the book.
How to Make the Red Tongue
Roll out the prepared red fondant with a rolling pin on a baking mat.
Use a paring knife or pizza cutter to cut a long strip about 1.25-inches wide. Then trim the forked edge of the tongue.
You want to lay one edge of the tongue on the top of the cake draping down over one side of the frosted pages.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You'll want to have the chocolate fur frosting ready to go so you can pipe that bottom cover row first and THEN lay the tongue over that. You'll hide the top edge of the tongue with more fur.
Place the Candy Google Eyes
Tuck the candy eyes into place on the top of the book.
Give your fur a once-over and add more dollops of fur to hide any open patches you missed.
Trouble Shooting Tips
Extra help in case you run into trouble:
If you have trouble getting your cake layers out of the pans, don't panic about a tear in the cake. You can always glue it back together with frosting as needed.
Make sure the cake is completely cool before you try to turn it out of the pan and frost it.
I placed my cake and frosting bag in the fridge for 10 minutes when the frosting got too soft and the fur wasn't keeping it's shape.
The heat from your hands will melt the frosting in the piping bag if you hold it too long. So work quickly or take chill breaks as needed to firm things up.
The pages texture on the sides is easier to do when the frosting is cold. You may wish to chill the cake after adding the cream frosting but before adding the tongue.
If you're having trouble with the fondant, sprinkle at TINY drop or two of water and smooth it out over the surface of the fondant. It will help soften it up and give it a nice glossy appearance.
Monster Book of Monsters Cake
- 1 Box Cake Mix assembled and baked according to box directions
- 1 can of chocolate frosting or 1 batch of chocolate cream cheese frosting *See notes
- 1 can of vanilla frosting or 1 batch of cream cheese frosting *See notes
- Red fondant
- Candy google eyes
- Grease and line with parchment the bottom of two 11 x 7-inch brownie pans. Fill them no more than ⅔ full with cake batter and bake according to box instructions until toothpick comes out clean. Let them completely cool before decorating.
- Turn one cake layer out onto a cake board and remove the parchment. Frost the top of the layer with cream-colored frosting.
- Turn the second layer out and place it on top of the first layer.
- Frost all four sides of the cake with cream-colored frosting. Use a fork to make horizontal lines to mimic the pages texture.
- Add chocolate frosting to a piping bag fitted with the grass piping tip. (See notes in post about required tools.)
- Pipe one long edge of the cake to form the book spine.
- Pipe a row along the bottom of the three pages sides to form the back cover of the book.
- Roll the red fondant out. Cut a narrow strip about 1.25-inches wide. Trim the forked tongue. Lay the tongue from the top of the cake down over the side of the pages.
- Finish piping the fur on the top of the cake to form the front cover of the book.
- Add candy eyes to top.
- NOTE: For full piping instructions, methods and troubleshooting tips, see post above.
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