Frank Robot Cake

1. Bake THREE rectangle cakes at least a day before you plan to decorate. Use a rectangle 24 cm x 35 cm cake tin.

Please note: The quantities shown and instructions are for baking ONE cake.

2. Make the royal icing

Beat egg white in an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, on a slow speed until bubbles start to appear.

Add sifted icing sugar a little at a time, beating on a higher speed until it forms firm peaks.

Add lemon juice and mix in gently. Tightly cover the icing with plastic wrap as soon as it is made so it doesn’t dry out.

Note: Royal icing will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days. Remove from the fridge, bring to room temperature and stir well before using.

Colour royal icing orange by adding a few drops of yellow and a toothpick tip of red colouring.  Mix well and continue adding colour proportionately until desired shade is reached. 

3. To Make The Antennae: Use the tip of a sharp knife to carefully ‘drill’ a small hole in each giant Jaffa, then push the sharp end of a skewer into each hole. Holding the skewers, dip each Jaffa into the orange royal icing until completely coated, then set the antennae aside in a glass to dry.

4. To Make The Control Panel: Cut the liquorice sheet into a rectangle about 7 cm x 11 cm. Separate the layers of 2 giant liquorice allsorts, gently and briefly washing the layers in water if necessary, then setting them aside on a paper towel to dry. You will have 6 black squares, 4 orange squares and 4 white squares.

Cut a circle out of 1 orange square and then a triangle out of the middle of that circle. Place 2 white squares side by side and cut out 1 semicircle.

Cut 2 white strips from the leftover white squares. Cut 3 narrow slices from the sherbet liquorice log. Cut 3 jelly beans in half. From a black liquorice allsort square, cut a small arrow that is 2 cm long.

Using the picture as a guide, arrange all these lollies on the liquorice rectangle and attach them with royal icing. Set the control panel aside to dry.

5. To Make The Arms: Stack 2 giant liquorice allsorts on top of each other and hold them together by pushing a toothpick through the centre of them, leaving 5 mm of toothpick sticking out below. From the leftover orange squares, cut out 2 rings (make circles and cut out their centres). Attach the ring shapes to the end of each arm by pushing the tip of the toothpick into the edge of the orange ring. Make a cut through the bottom half of each ring to create pincers.

6. Make the buttercream 

Beat butter in an electric mixer, using a paddle attachment, until the butter lightens in colour.  Slowly add icing sugar in small batches (so it doesn’t fly out of the mixing bowl), beating in between until combined. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

Note: Start with room-temperature butter (not melted) and to beat with an electric mixer until the butter turns from a yellow to a white tone before adding icing sugar. If necessary, make buttercream in two batches, mixing together at colouring stage to ensure consistent colour.

Buttercream can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, but bring it back to room temperature and beat again before using so it is as light, fluffy and soft as possible.

Colour buttercream dusty blue by adding a drop of blue colouring and a toothpick tip of black colouring, mixing well then continuing to add colour proportionately until desired tone is reached.

7. To Make The Body And Head: Level the cakes with a cake leveler if possible.  Turn cakes over. 

Cut the cakes into 4 squares measuring 15 cm x 15 cm each.

Take the first cake for the stack and fill by evenly spreading buttercream over the top surface, then place the next layer on top. Repeat to make a four cake stack.

From the leftover cake, cut 3 squares measuring 10 cm x 10 cm. Fill and stack the cakes with buttercream to make a three cake stack.  Stick this 10 cm stack onto a 10 cm x 10 cm cake board with a little buttercream.

Crumb coat both cake stacks  by applying a thin layer of buttercream with a palette knife or offset spatula to achieve a very thin, smooth finish (you should be able to see the cake through the icing). Never wipe excess crumb-coat icing back into the main bowl of icing as it will be full of crumbs and spoil the rest of the icing.

Refrigerate cake until dry to the touch.

Place the large cake on a serving plate and cover it with buttercream to a smooth finish.

8. To Make The Neck: In the centre of the top of the large cake arrange 9 small orange liquorice allsorts into a square 3 x 3 lollies wide. Push a skewer through the middle of each corner orange liquorice allsort, right down into the large stacked cake.

Cut the top of the 4 skewers flush with the top of the liquorice allsorts. Spread buttercream on top of the liquorice allsort square and place the small square cake on top. Cover this cake with buttercream to a smooth finish.

9. To Make The Legs: Stack 3 giant liquorice allsorts together and push them onto the end of a skewer. Repeat this process for the second leg. Insert the leg skewers into the front of the large cake, as shown.

10. To Attach Control Panel: Use royal icing to stick the control panel to the front of the robot, holding it in place for a moment until it sticks.

11. To Attach The Arms: Push a toothpick sideways into the top liquorice allsort, then push the other end of the toothpick into the side of the large cake, ring pincer facing downwards. Repeat this process with the other arm on the other side of the cake.

12. To Make The Eyes: Twist apart 2 Oreos, discarding the side of each biscuit that has no icing on it. Cut 2 thin slices off the black liquorice log and stick 1 to the icing side of each Oreo, using royal icing. The specific placement of the liquorice slices gives the eyes personality, so practise on paper first if you like. Attach the eyes to the head with royal icing.

13. To Make The Teeth And Lips: Cut a thin slice off each of the green, pink and yellow liquorice allsorts. Attach them to the head in a line, using royal icing. Cut slices from the leftover black liquorice sheet for lips and press them into the buttercream around the teeth, as shown.

To Assemble The Antennae: Bend the floral wire into random zigzags until the wire is approximately 9 cm in length. Wrap the ends of the wire around the top of the skewers directly under the orange-coloured giant Jaffas. Cut the straws down to 6 cm and slip them over the Jaffa skewers.   Push the ends of the skewers into the robot’s head.

The Great New Zealand Birthday Cake Book


For buttercream:

500 g Pams butter, softened and at room temperature

1.4 kg Pams icing sugar

4 tbsp Pams milk

To decorate cake:

food colouring: red, yellow, black & blue

2 Oreo cookies

2 giant Jaffas

1 black 11 cm x 11 cm liquorice sheet

12 orange giant liquorice allsorts

1 sherbet liquorice log

3 jelly beans in different colours

12 liquorice allsorts: 1 green, 9 orange, 1 pink & 1 yellow

1 short black liquorice log

8 skewers

1 square (10 cm x 10 cm) cake board


1 x 20 cm length white floral wire

2 straws