How to make a Moana face cake…

For Olivia’s birthday, in keeping with her Moana themed party, I had to attempt a Moana cake for her birthday…

I always pride myself on making the girls’ birthday cakes myself every year, and no cake is too big a challenge!

Here’s how you can do this one from the comfort of your own kitchen!

What you’ll need for the Moana cake:

  • 4 eggs
  • 8oz self raising flour
  • 8oz caster sugar
  • 8oz butter
  • vanilla essence
  • 2x 8 inch cake tins
  • greaseproof paper
  • mixing bowl
  • an oven also tends to help 😉

…for the filling:

  • 3oz butter
  • 6oz icing sugar
  • strawberry jam

...for the decoration:

  • pink fondant icing
  • orange fondant icing
  • white fondant icing
  • brown fondant icing
  • black icing pen
  • 4oz butter
  • 8oz icing sugar
  • cocktail sticks
  • rolling pin

So, you’ve got all of your bits, time to get down to the cake business!

For Olivia’s birthday, I baked the cake the night before, and then decorated it the morning of her birthday, giving the cake time to cool in the fridge and be easier to work with. You can decorate the cake the same day, but just make sure it’s cooled enough not to wreck the icing!

The Prep…

  1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5/190 degrees C.
  2. Grease your tins with some greaseproof paper, spreading the butter all around the inside of the tins.

The Cake…

  1. Put 8oz of butter into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add 8oz of caster sugar and mix well until the butter and sugar cream together.
  3. Add the 4 eggs and mix these in.
  4. Slowly pour in the 8oz of flour using a sieve, mixing it in stages until there is none left to pour in!
  5. Add a teaspoon of vanilla essence and mix it again.
  6. Pour the mixture equally into the two cake tins, spreading it as evenly as possible.
  7. Pop the tins into the oven, on the same shelf (and if they don’t fit, you’ll have to do them one at a time as they can’t go on top of each other in the oven!), and check back in about 25/30 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when the cake has risen nicely, and you can stick a knife in the middle of the sponge and it comes out clean!
  8. Lick the bowl 😉
  9. Once cooked, place the halves onto a cooling rack.
  10. Once cooled, take a long knife and even the tops of the cake-halves.

The Filling…

  1. Make a buttercream using the butter and icing sugar. You may need more or less depending on how much you want inside the cake, but you’ll be using it for the outside of the cake too. Always make sure you have twice as much sugar as butter to get the right taste and texture.
  2. Spread the buttercream onto one half of the cake.
  3. Spread the jam onto the other half of the cake, and gently place the buttercream half on top of the jammy half!
  4. Leave this in the fridge for a little while to cool and set the buttercream.

The Decoration…

While the cake is cooling, you can prepare some of the features of Moana’s face – her eyes, the flower in her hair, her lips, and even her hair!


  1. Prep your work surface by sprinkling some icing sugar down to work with.
  2. Make two balls (the size of a Brussels sprout each) of white fondant by rolling them in your hands.
  3. Roll the balls out on the surface until they are about half a cm thick, keeping them in the shape of how you want Moana’s eyes to look.
  4. Repeat with brown icing to get her irises, then fix these on top of the white icing shapes with a bit of buttercream.
  5. Use the black icing pen to draw on Moana’s pupils.
  6. Pop them on a small plate and put them in the fridge for the black icing to set – you don’t want the pupils to run into the white fondant!


  1. Make 5 flower petals by rolling small balls (again the size of a Brussels sprout each!) of the pink fondant icing in your hands.
  2. Roll the fondant out on the surface until it’s about half a cm thick again, and, using a small knife or cake tool, make petal shapes out of the fondant. Repeat this until you have 5 petals.
  3. Prop the petals up on a plate, curving the petals if you want to, and pop them in the fridge to set.
  4. For the centre, roll a small ball of orange icing in your hands, flatten the top, and insert a cocktail stick through the bottom, so that it almost looks like a drinks umbrella!
  5. When you’re ready to attach the flower to the cake, affix the petals first using small amounts of buttercream, then place the cocktail stick through the cake in the centre of the petals.


  1. Roll a small ball of brown icing out onto the surface and cut out a lip shape.
  2. Indent a lip line in the middle of the shape – you don’t want two separate lips to fiddle about with!


  1. Take larger chunks of brown icing and roll them into sausages that will fit around Moana’s face.
  2. Roll these into a mixture of sizes to use for her fringe, tufty bits and the rest of her hair. You will need quite a few to layer these up.
  3. Leave these ones out of the fridge! You need the hair to stay soft and easy to mould.

Putting it all together:

  1. Spread buttercream evenly over the entire surface of the Moana cake.
  2. Roll out brown and white icing – you will need a fair amount.
  3. Mix the white icing in with the brown icing to lighten the colour of Moana’s skin. Knead the colours together and add as much or as little as you want.
  4. Once you have the perfect colour, roll the icing out onto surface. You will need to lift the icing up and turn it to prevent it sticking. Use more icing sugar on the surface if necessary!
  5. Make sure the icing will cover the whole cake – you can pick it up and test it by holding it over the cake. Once you have enough, lay it gently on top of the cake and flatten the sides down with your hands, cutting away any excess.
  6. Gently rub the top of the cake in a circular motion to flatten any air bubbles.
  7. First, add the eyes and lips. Use a small amount of buttercream to fix them to the top of the cake.
  8. Add the hair next, using little drops of water on the hair to fix them to the cake. The can be moulded around the cake fairly easily, layering them up and creating her fringe. This works best if the hair strands are not put into the fridge as they need to be easily pliable.
  9. Fix the petals on top of the hair, using water to make them stick. Then put the cocktail stick with the orange top through the centre and into the cake (remember it’s there when it comes to cutting slices!)
  10. Use a black icing pen to draw on the nose, eyelashes and any other features!


You’ve done it! Successfully made a Moana cake!

Share your pictures below!

18 thoughts on “How to make a Moana face cake…

  1. Kids, Cuddles and Muddy Puddles

    What a fabulous cake! I started out with good intentions and I think I made cakes for my son's first 3 years, and my daughter's first 2. Since then, they've been shop bought but still enjoyed just as much! Well done you for making this for your lucky little girl. #KCACOLS

  2. Sarah Barber

    Thank you! I've managed to do relatively well – I still make my stepdaughter's birthday cakes and she's 9 now! Thank you for commenting 🙂

  3. Sheila

    This is such a cute idea! I have never worked with fondant. Is it difficult?#KCACOLS

  4. Sarah | Mummykind

    No, it's super easy to mould! Just like play dough 🙂

  5. NorthernBird84

    that is adorable!!! Well done! #KCACOLS

  6. One Frazzled Mum

    This is lovely! I am no good at baking I don''t have the patience for it! Well done though #kcacols

  7. Lana Pummill

    This looks lovely! Such a pretty cake. I love baking and have some great family recipes, but the artistic hands for decorating is where I am lacking! #KCACOLS

  8. Jo (A Rose Tinted World)

    So lovely. My LO would be so excited if she saw this! #KCACOLS

  9. Sarah Barber

    Thank you 🙂

  10. Sarah Barber

    Haha oh no! You get to just do the good part then – eating it! 😛

  11. Sarah Barber

    I wouldn't say my decorations are amazing, but they're realistic for a mama. doing it at home in her kitchen, no fancy tools! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  12. Sarah Barber

    Another Moana fan?? 🙂

  13. Sensational Learning with Penguin

    Wow, this is so ambitious, well done! I like baking but not sure I'd have the patience for something like this. I hope it was much appreciated at the party, it looks lovely and I bet it tasted great too x #KCACOLS

  14. Sarah Cronshaw

    This looks fab! Thanks for linking up with #KCACOLS, look forward to you joining us again soon.

  15. Sarah Barber

    Haha thank you! My little girl was quite surprised by it!

  16. Sarah Barber

    Thank you for commenting!

  17. […] Sarah Barber on How to make a Moana face … […]

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