Delightfully Decorative

Gluten Free Lion King Chocolate Orange Cake

It was recently my birthday and I went to see The Lion King The Musical. Yes it is as amazing as you dreamed! So obviously my birthday cake had to be Lion King themed, and yes I blew out the candle whilst the circle of life was playing.

I chose to make a chocolate orange cake coated with Terry’s Chocolate Orange ganache, and it was pretty damn delicious if I do say so. As I am told that you can’t make your own birthday cake, I compromised and made this one with my sister, accompanied by the Lion King soundtrack of course!

Since we weren’t baking for anyone else we made this cake gluten free but not vegan. It could however be done by making this vegan ganache recipe with an orange dark chocolate and making the vegan version of this chocolate cake.


You will need:

  • 6 inch round cake tin
  • 8 inch round cake board
  • Cake scraper
  • Tape measure
  • Fondant rolling pin
  • 2 silicone mats or baking paper
  • Cocktail stick
  • Small sharp knife
  • Cake smoother
  • Fluffy cake brush
  • Small craft knife
  • 1 tbsp of spirit (gin/vodka)
  • Thin cake brush

Ingredients:

  • Chocolate cake (additional 1/2 tsp of orange extract)
  • Chocolate Orange ganache
  • Icing/ confectioners’ sugar to dust
  • 1.2kg white ready to roll icing (or orange/yellow icing if you don’t have food colour)
  • Egyptian orange and golden yellow gel food colour
  • Red and yellow powder food colour
  • 250g black ready to roll icing

Step 1

Bake 4 layers of your chocolate cake in 6 inch round tins. Follow the linked recipe for instructions and set aside to cool.

Step 2

Heat your chocolate orange, dark chocolate and cream together to make your chocolate orange ganache. Or follow my vegan ganache recipe using orange dark chocolate or an additional tsp of orange extract. Let cool to the right consistency, it should be thick and gloopy, but not set enough that it doesn’t spread.

Step 3

Place the cake on some cling film or baking paper. Spread ganache between the layers of cake stacking them over the cling film and crumb coat the outside with a palette knife. This is just a thin layer where the crumbs will show, but it holds them in place so that they don’t show in the final layer. Allow the ganache to set.

Step 4

Apply a thicker layer of ganache smoothing with the cake scraper. Make sure that the layers are straight and the top is even, adding extra ganache in places to even out the structure if necessary.

You can use a firm rectangle of plastic instead of a scraper for those of you who don’t have one. A turn table also makes this process much easier.

Step 5

Once you are happy with the shape and smoothness of the surface, leave to set in the fridge for at least half an hour. The firmer the ganache, the easier it is to cover. If you can leave it over night that’s perfect.

Step 6

Knead the white or yellow ready to roll icing to warm it up. For the white icing add orange and yellow gel food colour to your desired shade with a cocktail stick and knead until the colour is even.

Step 7

Place the silicone mats side by side or lay out the baking paper and dust with icing sugar. Measure the circumference of the cake with a tape measure and make sure the mats or baking paper are as long. Take 3/4 of the yellow icing and roll out a long rectangle just over the height of the cake and length of its circumference this should be about 2.5mm thick.

Step 8

Lifting the rolled out icing across your arms to support it, wrap it around the base of your cake. Once the sides of your cake are covered, trim any excess icing at the join and at the top with a sharp knife.

Step 9

With the remaining yellow icing roll out a circle of about 7 inch diameter and 2mm thick. Place this on top of the cake and trim the excess. You will need to work quickly while the icing is still pliable.

Step 10

Blend together any seams in the icing with a cake smoother, so that the join around the top and down the side aren’t visible. Smooth all the icing until you are happy.

Step 11

Mix together some red and orange powder food colour and brush onto the cake with a fluffy cake brush. Take big strokes that gently glance the surface of the cake, working from the bottom upwards. This way there is less powder on your brush further up the sides of the cake, creating the ombre effect.

Using more orange powder this time and tapping any excess powder off the brush, work from the middle of the blended colour upwards until you are happy with the colour and blend.

Step 12

Roll out half of the black icing into a thin 9 inch circle and cover the cake board, smoothing with a cake smoother and trimming the excess around the edges. Lift the cake and place in the centre of the board. This is easier of you have a cake lifter, but not necessary.

Step 13

Print out a silhouette template for the characters you want on the sides of your cake. I printed two trees, one with a giraffe under, these were great to hide any imperfections in the covering. I also printed Rafiki holding baby Simba on Pride rock and the scene from Hakuna Matata with Simba, Pumbaa and Timon. You can choose the characters you want to use but if you would rather use the same as me, here is a link to the sheet I printed. Timon was so small he had to be free handed.

Cut out the silhouettes with a craft knife, as you do so you can simplify the shape.

Step 14

Roll put the remaining black icing and dust with a small amount of icing sugar. Place the template over the icing and cut out with a clean small craft knife.

Step 15

Lightly brush some gin on the backside of the cut out black icing and position it on the side of the cake, the gin should act like glue but not affect the taste. Once all your characters are on the sides of the cake stick the icing version of Rafiki’s Simba drawing on top.

Step 16

With remaining off cuts of black icing make some V shapes in varying sizes, and use these as birds to cover any imperfections on the cake.

Take millions of pictures and enjoy!

Thanks for reading 😊

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