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A Prehistoric Birthday and a Dinosaur Cake

April 16, 2013

I found out recently that children with above average intelligence are referred to as Gifted and Talented, or G&T.

I imagine you’d want to be pretty careful going around calling your kid G&T, though, as people may lick them inappropriately.


I’m not entirely sure what the criteria is to be classified as Gifted and Talented.
I think my kids are awesome but I don’t know if they are displaying evidence of superior intelligence.

Talent? Hells yeah. D Man recently busted out some Hammer Time and I damn near called Johnny Young…. except his reinvention flopped like Donald Trump’s coiff in the rain.

Gifted? A picture speaks a thousand words.

That's what gifted looks like, no?

That’s what gifted looks like, no?

I heard recently that children that show a deep interest in dinosaurs may possibly have superior intelligence. If that truly be the case, then my boy is a genius.

We’ve been all about primordial beings for ages.


Not technically eons, as he’s only just turned three, but the train obsession turned into a dinosaur obsession about a year ago and it’s stuck like poo in a bear’s fur.

A day is not done until I have pierced my instep with a triceratops, or discovered a velocoraptor in my butt crack. Twelve months ago I didn’t know my sauropods from my theropods but I’ve had a crash course and I’m hoping someone may soon label me as gifted. Or at least a dino-nerd.

Or maybe they’ll stick with special.

When D Man’s third birthday loomed, it was obvious that it must be a Dinosaur Affair.

dinosaur costume

One of his favorite things in the whole wide word is a trip to see the dinosaurs at the museum, and we went on Monday to kick off his birthday week.

visiting dinosaurs at the museum

Po’face, anyone??? He’s having a great time, I swear.

We also had an archeological dig to mark the occasion. We chipped and hacked at the plaster block to reveal the Tyrannosaurus Rex bones.

archeological dig digging for dinos

You know I love a little cake challenge. You may remember my Hoot Cake from last year, so this year I knew it was all about dinosaur cake. I had never seen one, and the Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake bible didn’t have one so I was flying blind.

I was never going to try to get a gluten-free, sugar-free cake past the toddlers, so I decided I would make a big-ass lamington cake. I thought it would have less sugar because it doesn’t have icing. Does it?

Probably not.

I used 70% dark chocolate and thinned it with milk to make a ganache sort of chocolate coating rather than icing. Many lamington recipes use heaps of sugar in the chocolate icing, so I reckon we came out just on top.

But, you know, it’s a birthday cake after all.

The sponge turned out more dense than I expected, I would say it’s more like a butter cake, but it was yummy and there was only one little piece of dino left, so I reckon he was a RAWRRRRRRing success (except that momentary intake of breath when Mister H suggested it looked like an angry kangaroo.)

I based my cake recipe on this one from Eat, Little Bird, and I doubled it, but she used a KitchenAid, which I don’t have (are you reading this KitchenAid???), so I used ye olde worldy electric beater.

Such a peasant. dinosaur birthday cake

I made the method up, and winged the rest.

This is to make a birthday cake for 25 people.

What you will need :

For the cake –

  • 370g plain flour, sifted (I really did it this time)
  • 370g butter, room temperature
  • 6 eggs, room temperature (which should also weigh about 370g in shell, funnily enough)
  • 460g caster sugar (I know, I know!!)
  • 80g cornflour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla paste, or extract
  • 250ml milk

For the icing :

  • 150g 70% chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 150ml milk
  • 1 1/4 cups of dessicated coconut
  • green and red food colouring
  • a squeeze of cream cheese icing with cocoa for claws, I had some left over from cupcakes or you could cut liquorice.
  • a marshmallow for an eye
  • Tic Tacs for teeth

Preheat oven to 175C fan forced, or 180C if it’s not.

Line a deep flat cake tin or baking tray with baking paper. Mine is 3 x 9 x 2 inches.

Cream together your butter and sugar until creamy and pale. At least 5 minutes of good beating.

Add your eggs one at a time and continue beating on high for a further 5-7 minutes.  Add vanilla, and milk.

Turn beater onto medium and combine your flours and baking powder in a few batches. Try not to beat too much at this stage, but ensure it’s all combined.

Pop into your tray and stick in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. If the top browns too quickly you will need to cover it with foil.

Turn out to cool on a rack, bottom up, and then freeze overnight if you have the time. It will make the cutting part a lot easier. The flat bottom is now the top of your cake.

dinosaur cake ready to cut

Remove from freezer and divide in half through the middle. The best way to do this is run the knife around the entire edge, where you think the midpoint is, first. Then ensure that every cut around the knife is on your line.
Spread your raspberry jam on the bottom and sandwich together.

raspberry jam for lamington cakeUsing a small knife trace your shape on the top before making any bold moves. You can see how I shaped mine. When you’re happy with it, cut away!

I put foil on my serving tray and then a layer of baking paper on top as the decorating was MESSY! I removed baking paper before serving.

Rearrange shapes to suit and secure the tail with cut skewers. I did the spikes separately, as an afterthought because I had left over bits.

Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 9.43.59 PM

Create a bain marie in a bowl over a saucepan and add your chocolate and milk and stir until melted. Leave to cool slightly. Meanwhile, put one cup of coconut into a bowl, add a few drops of green colouring and mix through with wet hands that you’ve shaken the excess water off. Do the same with the final quarter cup of coconut and the red colouring.

Take your chocolate sauce and gently spoon in on the top and push it over the edges. You will need to get your hands in there and smooth the chocolate sauce on every single little nook and cranny. It will drip on the baking paper. Spoon chocolate over your triangles and gently press the red coconut on all but the side you will stick to the cake.

chocolate on dinosaur lamington cake

Once satisfied you need to sprinkle your coconut over the entire cake. It’s tricky to get on the edges, so I pressed it and threw it!
I had left over chocolate icing from the cupcakes in the week to make the claws, but if I didn’t I would use a liquorice strap. Super easy.

Dab some Tic Tacs in your chocolate and stick them on, then cut your eye to your taste.

head close up for dinosaur cake

We had a little party, with a couple of friends. I organised all sorts of fun games, but didn’t play a single one because I was eating sausages and drinking wine.

I am officially shit at kid’s parties.

But I make up for it in cake.

Happy birthday, my darling little stinker. I love you more than life itself.

lighting candles on the dinosaur cake
birthday boy blowing the candle

Hooking up with Jess for some hot tuesday group action. Thanks for having us, as always, Miss J!

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  • Reply monk-monk April 16, 2013 at 7:23 am

    I hope he loved it because that cake looks awesome!!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys April 16, 2013 at 7:50 am

      He loved looking at it, and then he loved eating it and leaving trails of lamington in his wake!!!

      Sent from my iPhone

      On 16/04/2013, at 7:24 AM, Keeping Up With The Holsbys

  • Reply Cooker and a Looker April 16, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Mmmmm G & T. The cake looks fab Mrs H. x

  • Reply Cooker and a Looker April 16, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Mmmmm G & T. The cake looks fab Mrs H. x

  • Reply coloursofsunset April 16, 2013 at 8:28 am

    the cake is gorgeous, and so is D Man. He’s more gifted than you think – he stuck a round peg in a round hole! 😉

  • Reply redlandcitygirl April 16, 2013 at 9:22 am

    That is one amazing cake – can’t believe you winged it and it still turned out so good! Still chuckling to myself over the first photo … 😉

    visiting from #teamIBOT xxx

  • Reply BOYEATSWORLD April 16, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Great idea for a party and the cake looks fab! Your child is clearly gifted. If he weren’t there’d be something stuck up both nostrils… a look my non-gifted two year old has been fashioning this morning! 🙂

  • Reply Bunny Eats Design April 16, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Nice cake Mama!

  • Reply Have a laugh on me April 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Gee you crack me up – gotta get me a G&T toddler to have on hand for the witching hour! Great cake – I did a dino one a wee while back – wasn’t as shapely as this! Em x

  • Reply always josefa (@always_josefa) April 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I adore that costume Mrs H! and that cake is just gorgeous! Your post got me thinking – my boys love dinosaurs – adore them actually – and ever since rediscovering those vast creatures with my boys – I think I quite like them too!

  • Reply missrbit April 16, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    I LOVE the costume. The son of one of my closest friends is going through a massive dinosaur phase. He has dinosaur-everything and doesn’t tire of it! When I told my boyfriend, he started telling me about how much he loved dinosaurs as a kid (and secretly, still does). He was quite jealous of my friend’s son’s many dinosaur toys haha. Must be a boy thing hey? 😉

  • Reply Karen April 16, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    You had me laughing pretty hard at ‘velocoraptor in my butt crack’!! We’ve all been there (maybe with different toys though)
    Great cake looks awesome! x Karen #teamIBOT

  • Reply momsasaurus April 17, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Hahaha! I was doing ok with choking back the laughter until I got to “angry kangaroo.” Then I lost it and woke up the baby. Well worth it!

  • Reply EssentiallyJess April 17, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Oh that cake is awesome!!! I secretly love kids birthdays for all the crazy cakes I get to make. So much fun

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys April 17, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      I know, right? Any cake is good though. I like grown up tiered delicious boozy cakes too.

      Sent from my iPhone

      On 17/04/2013, at 2:44 PM, Keeping Up With The Holsbys

  • Reply Zanni Arnot April 17, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Wow, impressive! I don’t ever attempt birthday cakes, as I know this is one area I have no G&T. I hire my friend who is a professional. xx

  • Reply Kate April 22, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Oooh, very exciting, mine must be gifted and talented too! We had a dinosaur birthday last year when he turned 3, and having a dinosaur party again this year. Hope you’ve got a different dinosaur up your sleeve for next year’s cake!

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