Birthday with Dora

Last year we had a fairly large party for my nephew’s first birthday, with two monkey cakes and monkey cupcakes.  This year, the party was much more low-key.  But no matter what size party you have, there must be birthday cake.  Connor loves Dora the Explorer, calling her “Deera”.  And he even has his own ‘takpack’.  So the cake making team consisting of me, my Mom, and our family friend Nancy set out to make a Dora cake for the fiesta.

First, my Mom baked a Mexican cinnamon chocolate cake.  Even if you never have a reason to make a Dora themed cake, this is a great recipe!  We modified it slightly, replacing some of the water in the original recipe with coffee.  It is very moist, with just a hint of cinnamon.

We may not be professionals, but we took this project quite seriously.  Many Google searches were performed.  Nancy drew several stencils of Dora’s face and hair to use as a guide.  My Mom ran around town to find edible materials for the project.  Several eyeballs were made for practice.  I performed surgery on Dora’s face with a toothpick when we had a slight mishap.  We had a lot of fun along the way, and this was our final product.


Although this picture is a little blurry, I think Connor liked it too.


Cinnamon Chocolate Cake

2 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa powder
2 c. sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. brewed coffee
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs
1 t vanilla

Prepare a 13″x9″ pan by placing parchment paper on the bottom and sides.  Coat paper with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Add butter, oil, coffee, water, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla and mix until smooth.  Pour batter into a 13″x9″ pan which has been coated with cooking spray.  Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake at 350F for approximately 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

-Lightly adapted from

Decorating the Cake as Dora

1 can white frosting
1 can chocolate frosting
1 small batch homemade frosting (butter, milk, confectioner’s sugar)
2 tubes black gel
1 package Kraft flat marshmallows
Food Coloring
Red colored sugar

Make one stencil for Dora’s face, and one stencil for her hair.  Place stencils on cake, and dust with powdered sugar.
Tint a skin colored frosting by mixing white frosting with a small amount of chocolate frosting and yellow food coloring.  Spread on cake in the face area not covered with powdered sugar.  Spread chocolate frosting on the hair area not covered with powdered sugar.
Tint the homemade frosting with blue food coloring, and spread on all other areas of the cake.
Make Dora’s eyes by trimming two flat marshmallows, and adding chocolate frosting, black gel, and a tiny piece of marshmallow.
Make Dora’s mouth by trimming a flat marshmallow, dipping it quickly in water, and then coating it with red sprinkles.
Using black gel, outline Dora’s face and hair.  Outline Dora’s eyes.


3 thoughts on “Birthday with Dora

Leave a Reply to Kerry Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s