How to make a circus cake

Today I’m going to show you how to make a circus cake – this basic design can be altered to include any circus animals at the top and you can easily add other characters (clown, seal with a ball) around the tiers.

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I used a dummy tier (made from polystyrene) for the top tier so the first step was to lightly brush over some water and cover it with white fondant.

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To add the ‘tent’ dome I found a pot lid that was the same size as my cake and traced around it on some light card.


Next I cut a straight line into the centre of the circle and then twisted it around and stuck it together with some sticky tape

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I then rolled out my white fondant, lightly brushed some water on the cone and then covered it in fondant.

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I then rolled out my red fondant and cut out stripes around 1 cm wide (I used stripe cutters but you can simply cut these out yourself by hand. Stick these onto your dummy tier and then stick the cone on using some water around the edges.

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Cut out more red stripes for the cone and taper off one of the ends before sticking it onto the cone.

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Roll out some blue and using a scallop cutter, cut out a strip before sticking it around your circus tent. Also cut out some blue stars and stick them to the tent.

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To make the elephant, colour some fondant grey, roll into a circle and flatten slightly. Using a ball tool, make two indents for the eyes and attach two small circles using some water. Note: – for the modelling of the elephant and monkey I have added tylo powder to the fondant so that the characters will dry hard.


Roll out some thin grey, cut out a circle and cut that in half. Flatten both circle halves on a foam block using a ball tool and then stick onto the elephant for the ears. I used some cutters underneath the ears so that they could dry in place.


Next – for the trunk, roll out a sausage of grey fondant and make a sharp cut at one end. Using a toothpick make two holes.

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Flatten the other side of the trunk and then attach underneath the elephant head with some water. Using a toothpick make a hole at the back of the head.


To make the monkey I used some brown fondant and some lighter brown. Roll out a circle for the monkey head and then two smaller light circles for the eyes and attach with water.

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Attach a larger oval shape for the mouth and stick it over the lower part of the eyes. Use a circle cutter for the ‘smile’ and a toothpick for the nostrils. Dot the eyes using an edible marker.


To make the ears roll out two dark brown balls and make an indent using a small ball tool. Stick onto the face and then attach a toothpick at the back of the head. Stick both heads into your circus tent with the toothpicks (also use some water so that they stick to the cake as well as being stuck into the polystyrene with the toothpick)

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Roll out some white fondant, cut it into a triangle and then cut the triangle in half and ruffle the sides out

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Attach a fondant flag to a toothpick

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I covered the bottom tier (which is the actual cake) with blue fondant and added red triangles with some water. I also added some mini yellow stars in between the triangles and the birthday girl’s name using some tappits.

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The best part about this cake is that I still have the top tier which I can use again 🙂

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8 Responses to How to make a circus cake

  1. Sandi July 1, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    Thanks so much for this tutorial, I was just wondering how you deal with having fake layers
    When it comes to serving? Most people would assume it’s all cake…?

    • BronnieBakes Admin July 1, 2014 at 10:41 am #

      Hi Sandi

      I don’t sell cakes so if I make them for friends and family I am usually there so I just take off the top tier and cut the edible tier. If I’m not there, then I make sure they know that the top tier is the fake tier (usually they might have only needed a 1 tier cake but I ended up doing a two tier for tutorial purposes for the blog, so they are never disappointed if they get a dummy tier).


  2. Heather March 21, 2015 at 2:12 am #

    I love the cake! Can you tell me what “light card” is that you used for the tent? Also, where can I find it?
    Thank you!

    • BronnieBakes Admin March 23, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

      Hi Heather

      I have used 120gsm thickness card which I bought from Officeworks (australian shop) – but if you search for that thickness it should be fine!

      All the best!

  3. Marci January 21, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

    Hi! I love the cake! And never thought of doing a dummy layer. Where do you buy the polstyrene layer?? I am hoping to try this next week. Thanks for for the tutorial!

    • BronnieBakes Admin January 21, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

      Hi Marci 🙂

      Cake shops should have them



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