Humpty Dumpty Birthday Cake

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Settler's Cookbook

By Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Published 2009

  • About

You need a lot of cake for this, and much will end up as scrap – good to eat with sips of tea for an awfully long time. Still the thing itself is a work of naive art.


  • 24 oz self-raising flour
  • 24 oz soft margarine or butter
  • 3 tbsp hot water
  • A pudding basin (for Humpty)
  • Two shallow sandwich-cake tins
  • 24 oz caster sugar
  • 12 eggs
  • A square cake tin, deep and large (for the wall)


  • Grease and flour well the tins and basin, particularly the latter as the shape needs to be intact when you take the cake out.
  • With a small electric beater, beat all the cake ingredients until they are well mixed. When the mixture is the right consistency, it should drop down slowly from a spoon.
  • Pour into the tins and basin and bake at 375°F, 190°C, gas mark 5 for thirty minutes.
  • Check with a skewer. If it comes out wet, return to the oven to bake but reduce the temperature. You may need to place a sheet of foil over the top if it is turning too brown.
  • When baked, slide a knife round the edges and turn out the cakes carefully. Let them cool.
  • Using the same beater, mix the icing ingredients until smooth.
  • Divide the icing into four parts, one larger than the other three combined. Put them into separate bowls.
  • Into the largest portion, beat in the cocoa. Leave one portion as it is.
  • Carefully colour the third portion green using tiny drops of colour and building up the shade.
  • For the fourth portion add drops of the red colouring to make pink icing.
  • Separate out the different-coloured Smarties (get kids to do this).
  • Cut the square cake in two, then place one piece on top of the other to make a wide wall.
  • Slap on the brown icing, and carefully etch in rough brick shapes with a skewer.
  • Using an icing set, squeeze some creepers over the wall, willy-nilly, with the green icing, then have fun beautifully arranging the flowers around these.
  • Cover Humpty with white icing and roll in desiccated coconut. Place the two eyes (or brown Smarties) and a mouth (or a line of red Smarties to make a smile) on to the face.
  • Place the egghead on top of the wall.
  • Using the spare cake, cut some legs and stick them in front of the wall. Cover in pink icing and pink Smarties – the trousers.
  • Take one round cake and cover with green icing.
  • Round the outside rim, carefully arrange Smarties in two alternate colours.
  • You need to cut out a smaller circle with the other round cake, using a bowl to mark it out.
  • Cover this in green too, and place in the middle of the larger circle. It is the hat to place on top of Humpty’s head, which you will need to flatten by cutting a slice off the rounded top.
  • A ribbon around the hat and a bow tied round the neck complete the cake.
  • Add candles on top of the hat.

To decorate the cake

  • Plenty of Smarties, like 15 tubes
  • Some decorative sugar flowers
  • Sweets shaped like eyes and a mouth – available in my local sweet shop so should be anywhere else really
  • 2 pretty ribbons
  • Butter icing made by beating together 1 lb 8 oz soft butter, 1 lb 8 oz icing sugar and juice of half a lemon
  • 2 cups desiccated coconut
  • Colourings (green and red)
  • Cocoa powder