We are all big fans of Totoro in our home, especially Mina who would love to watch this beautiful Japanese tale every day. She wished a Totoro cake for her birthday and it was up to me to deliver.
I had to figure out how to make the whole thing so that it works. I knew I didn’t want to use fondant because it just doesn’t taste well, so I opted for modelling chocolate. The base of the cake was Sacher which is pretty dense and would hold the shape well. The design was a famous scene from the story with a few details which are also characteristic of the tale. If you’re a Totoro fan as well or just want to get inspired, here’s how I made the whole thing.
- 9 eggs
- 420 g dark chocolate melted in water bath
- 450 g butter
- 375 g all-purpose flour
- 450 g powder sugar
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- apricot marmelade
- cake mold, diameter 20 cm
- recipe for modelling chocolate here
- brown chocolate: 1 kg dark chocolate + 300 g sirup (corn, rice, agave…)
- white chocolate: 200 g white chocolate + 70 g sirup
- grey chocolate: 200 g white chocolate + 70 g sirup + black food colorant (gel)
- red chocolate: 100 g white chocolate + 30 g sirup + red food colorant
- pink chocolate: 100 g white chocolate + 30 g sirup + red food colorant
- green chocolate: 100 g white chocolate + 30 g sirup + green food colorant
- beige chocolate: 100 g white chocolate + 30 g sirup + 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- potato starch for rolling
- silicon mat
- silicon spatula
How to Make the Stump
I made the cake in two batches because this amount of batter wouldn’t be nicely baked all the way to the center if baked all at once. I whisked the egg whites to snow and left them in the fridge. Then I mixed the remaining ingredients and mixes the egg white snow in the end very carefully to keep the butter fluffy. Then, preheated the oven and baked the cake for 75 minutes on 180 °C. The cake must cool down completely before cutting it in half, so that in the end I had 4 discs. I put them on the top of each other and in between them a generous amount of homemade apricot marmalade which I put also on the top. I left the cake in the fridge overnight so that the cake had a chance to soak in the marmalade.
First I prepared the dark modelling chocolate – the tutorial is here. I put about one fifth of it aside and rolled the rest to be aprox. 8 mm thick.
I used this chocolate to cover the cake and only then I realized I should have put it on a stand first. Also I didn’t clean my hands from the starch properly, that’s the white powder on the chocolate. No problem, at the end I took a clean kitchen towel, sprinkled some water on it and cleaned the chocolate carefully.
I started forming the roots of the stump.
Some went over the edge of the cake stand. I scratched the chocolate with fork and knife to give it some bark texture.
While the cake rested in the fridge I made more modelling chocolate.
For the Totoro figure, I started by rolling out the beige chocolate (I set a piece aside for the hair) which, by the way, I colored with cinnamon which was a great idea, it smelled and tasted so good! I made some annual rings from the dark chocolate and placed the whole thing on the stump.
I made Totoro’s body from the dark chocolate, rolled out grey chocolate and covered the body with it.
The belly is done with white.
I painted the face with black gel colorant.
Finally, I used the rest of the grey chocolate for the ears, hands, paws and decoration on the belly.
In a scene from the tale, little Mei lies on Totoro’s belly. On our Totoro birthday cake it has to be our Amelia of course. First, I made the dress and head which I bent a little and put in the fridge for 15 minutes to make it stay bent and then I added the sleeves and arms, then the hair and as last the legs with shoes. I made the legs separately, bent them and left them in the fridge for a while, then attached them to the body.
Another thing that just had to be on the cake are the Susuwatari which I made small balls from the dark chocolate and then covered them in small chocolate decorative rolls. The eyes are from white chocolate and black colorant. Another option would be to make cake pops and cover them in the chocolate decoration.
A leaf with the first letter of HER name
I added some more details – flowers, mushrooms, leaves, acorns and a friend of Totoro’s.
Cake on the inside
Here’s some more photos of the cake: