How to make a rubber ducky cake


For Baby's first birthday, Rubber Ducky you're the One. This adorable cake will wow the whole family, who'll think you worked a lot harder on it than you actually did. Professional baker Liv Hansen for Betty Crocker kitchens shows how to make this memorable rubber ducky cake.

How to make a rubber ducky cake Assembling the rubber ducky cake:
  1. Trim off the dome of the 8” cake with a serrated knife. This will ensure your rubber ducky cake is nice and level.
  2. Trim the edge off of the 9” cake with your knife.
  3. Invert the 8” cake onto a platter and spread the top with 1/3 of a cup of yellow frosting using an offset spatula.
  4. Place the 9” cake (right-side up so the dome is on top) on top of the 8" cake layer.
  5. Trim the edge off the smallest cake and place on top about 1” from the edge of the 9" cake layer, using frosting as glue. This will form the head of the rubber ducky cake.
  6. Use two orange candy slices to form the tail. Glue on with frosting and/or secure with toothpicks (remember to remove them before serving).
  7. Apply a crumb coat (this is a thin layer that seals in the crumbs), and chill in the freezer to set it.


Decorating the rubber ducky cake:

  1. Once chilled, apply the final layer of frosting. To make the head smooth and round, use the strip of paper to smooth the frosting, starting from the bottom and sliding your way over the head.
  2. For the mouth, cut another orange slice about ¾ of the way through, and dip in granulated sugar (this will aid in reducing the stickiness of the inside of the duck’s mouth). Mold the candy until it resembles a duck’s beak and adhere to the cake with a toothpick.
  3. Using a bit of frosting, ‘glue’ the chocolate nonpareils to the duck’s head to make the eyes. Make pupils by gluing on chocolate chips in the center of each nonpareil.

Betty Crocker's Rubber DuckyCake serves 15.

For more about this cake, visit





LAURIE: Hi, I’m Laurie Gelman for Every baby knows that rubber duckies mean fun in the tub, so it’s the perfect theme for a first birthday party. It's easy to follow, too. Just use yellow. Yellow plates, cups, and napkins, and for decorations? Dozens of duckies! The highlight of this party is, of course, a rubber ducky cake which is easy to make. Liv Hansen is here for Betty Crocker Kitchens, and she’s going to show us exactly how to do it. Hey Liv, how are you?

LIV: Hi, Laurie.

LAURIE: I can’t help thinking that a baby’s first birthday is a milestone event. You really want to make it special.

LIV: Well how about making a rubber ducky cake?

LAURIE: That sounds great.

LIV: Okay. Well what you’re going to need is one eight inch round, one nine inch round, and one cake baked in a custard cup, in a ten ounce custard cup. Okay, so the first thing that we’re going to do, is we’re going to start trimming off the dome of the eight inch cake.


LIV: I’m going to use a serrated knife, it makes it easier to cut the cake. And I’ve also chilled these cakes in the freezer for about 45 minutes, and that firms them up a bit.

LAURIE: Nice. Can you use one cake mix for all three of these?

LIV: You can.


LIV: So I’m going to take the first one, and I’m going to invert it. That way there’s fewer crumbs. And we’re putting it right on our platter. Now this one had a little bit of an edge. I’m just going to take my small serrated knife and just cut it off a little, make it easier to frost.

LAURIE: You want to keep that dome?

LIV: I do want to keep that dome. That’s going to help create part of the duck shape.


LIV: I’m going to, I have some frosting over here. And I’ve tinted it yellow.

LAURIE: Nice. Just a little yellow food coloring?

LIV: Yep, you can just buy it in the supermarket.


LIV: And I’m going to take a third of a cup, place it right on top. I’m going to use my offset spatula to spread it. Because a little offset, a little bent there.

LAURIE: Gotcha.

LIV: Now I’m going to take this one, but I’m going to keep the dome side up, and center it.


LIV: Okay. Now this little custard cup one is going to act as the head. So I can also trim this just a little bit. And again, I’m going to just take a little frosting for glue, and you’re going to set it in about one inch. Then, take this little sugared orange candies, and we need to make a little tail. So, we’re actually going to use these as the shape underneath. So you can use one, or maybe two, or maybe even stack them like that.


LIV: And if they’re not going to stick right away, you can use a little frosting as glue or to really reinforce it you can stick a toothpick through it right into the cake. Just make sure, when you’re serving it, that you tell people and you remove those toothpicks before eating.

So now we’re ready to crumb coat the cake. So I’m just going to get this out of the way.

LAURIE: Okay. And when you say crumb coat, what do you mean by that?

Liv: A crumb coat is just a thin layer of frosting that we spread over the entire cake. And that’s going to seal in any crumbs that might stray into your final coat of frosting.


LIV: Now take a nice dollop. Now you can see that we’re actually going to have to angle the frosting in a bit. That’ll help also give the shape of the duck. I’m using some of the frosting on top to help me frost the sides. I actually have one ready to go, and its chilled already in the freezer. Why don’t I go get it?

LAURIE: Great. I’ll move this.

LIV: Thank you.

LAURIE: Oh, what a nice idea to put it on a cake plate!

LIV: Yeah, it's like it's swimming in a little pond.

LAURIE: It does!

LIV: Okay, so we’re ready to frost this one.

LAURIE: Great.

LIV: I’m going to show you a little trick after we have all of the frosting on, how to frost a curved area.

LAURIE: Oh, okay.

LIV: So, okay, so I’ll give you a little start here so you can get the sides.


LIV: I think we almost have it all –

LAURIE: Yeah, it’s covered!

LIV: Coated.


LIV: A little bit on the tail here. Now this is a little trick I have. We want the head to be round. So what you can do is, you can actually take a piece of paper, or maybe even a little strip of cellophane and you can frost with it. You’re going to come over here.

LAURIE: Oh, nice trick!

LIV: And just curve it over. And then you just scrape it off.

LAURIE: That really works!

LIV: Yep, nice. Okay, little, little trick. So you can use paper to frost a cake.

Okay, so now its time to put the face on. So what we have are these little candied orange slices.

LAURIE: You used those for the tail.

LIV: I did use those for the tail. And what you can do, is actually just take a scissor and cut right down the center of it, but not all of the way through. Just about three quarters of the way through. And you’ll see that it opens up like a mouth.

LAURIE: Like a mouth. That’s cute.

LIV: One little trick to form it is I have just some basic granulated sugar, and I’m just going to dip that in there. Because that’s sticky on the inside. And then, you’re just going to form it with your hand. Mold it until you have a kind of beak shape. And then, we’re just going to stick it right on. And then, if it doesn’t stick, the best tip is to jus stick a toothpick right through it.

So the next step is the eyes. I’m going to start with two nonpareils chocolate candies, and just place them above the beak. And then, just to give it a little pupil, we’re going to use chocolate chips. And you can adhere that with just a little dollop of icing as your glue. Okay. And there you have your rubber ducky.

LAURIE: He looks fantastic! As most moms know, you know this, a baby’s first party is mostly about the picture you get with them and their cake. So don’t miss this memorable moment. They grab it, they shove it in their mouth, they get it all over their face, its fantastic. Thank you so much for showing how to make this.

LIV: Thank you.

LAURIE: I’m Laurie Gelman for

meet theexpert
  • Liv Hansen

    Liv Hansen Professional Baker and Author Liv Hansen is the author of three books, has appeared on the Today Show, Top 5 (Food Network), The View and Roker on the Road, and was a finalist on the Food Network Challenge: Haunted Gingerbread. more about this expert »