How to Make a Rocket Ship Cake {Step-by-Step Picture Tutorial}

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How to Make a Rocket Ship Cake

A couple of weeks ago I promised you all a tutorial for how to make a Rocket Ship Cake and I totally flaked out and didn’t do it.  I’m truly sorry!!

So when I got a comment on the original post asking how I did the cake, it seemed like a perfect time to follow up on my promise for a tutorial!

Here goes!!

To do this cake (exactly as I have it done), you’ll need the following (not all pictured above!!):

Start by placing one of the cake tiers on a 16″ cake drum… and here we go.

First up you’re going to place 8 bubble tea straws into the first tier of cake.  Cut them off level with the cake.  See all the details of that here.

Then you’re going to set the second tier directly on top of the first one.  The Bubble Tea Straws will hold the weight of the top cake so it won’t smoosh down (very technical term!).

I believe the technical term for a cake stacked this way is a “Double Barrel” cake.  Now you know.

Now you’re going to do the same thing to that tier…  do 8 bubble tea straws in it.  I used some green frosting between the two bottom cakes (forgot to take a picture), then again between this cake and the next one.  I used green so you could see the freshly added buttercream.

Then add the top of the rocket (the cake baked in the Wilton Wonder Mold Pan):

At this point I tried to fill in/smooth the seams.  I also went ahead and frosted the top of the rocket with a thin crumb coat of buttercream.  What I forgot to show you is that I doweled the cake with a 12″ dowel rod (again, as seen in the How to Stack Tiered Cakes Tutorial).

I sharpened both ends, pushed it into the bottom 2 cakes before putting the top on.  I pushed the top down onto the sharpened dowel so all 3 cakes had the dowel through them… you can see above that the overall cake was about 15″ tall (that’s a 12″ wooden dowel).

Next, you’re going to need to roll out a really big rectangle of fondant!  I roll out my fondant using The Mat by Sweetwise.  I cannot recommend it enough!!    That is one of my most favorite cake tools and I don’t know how I ever lived without it!!

So you can see, I rolled out a rectangle about 26″ x 14″ then I trimmed it down to the size I needed and so it would have straight edges.    To decide on the exact size, you’ll want to measure the diameter of the cake (should be around 25 inches for an 8″ cake) and then the height that you need the panel (should be around 7-9″)   That was plenty!

After you get it cut, you’ll want to transfer it to wax paper that is coated with a thin layer of Crisco shortening.  Since my fondant was rolled out on The Mat, I peeled back the top layer, laid wax paper onto my fondant, then flipped it over and peeled off the bottom layer of The Mat.

This is the easiest way I’ve found to apply large panels of fondant on tall cakes.    I pick up the sheet of fondant, starting at the back of the cake, and apply it to the sides.  Be sure that you either dampen the buttercream on the sides or smooth on a fresh thin (sticky) layer.  This helps the fondant stick!

Here are a few pictures (with my kid and messy house in the background)… hehe.  Some are blurry, but I had my oldest taking them while I worked quickly to get the fondant on…


As you do it, try to get the straight edge lined up on the bottom (if it’s off a little, no big deal!).  After you get it all the way around and smoothed out… then you’re going to peal off the wax paper and work on the seam.

You can see I got a little tear there at the top, and the fondant was a little saggy on the bottom!  Both of these are fixable.  I didn’t get any pics here, but you can take an Xacto blade to trim and straighten the seam and the top edge.  You can use a pizza wheel to trim the edges, just as you do when normally covering a cake in fondant.

For the tear, I usually fill in spots like that with buttercream and smooth them over, or cover them with another decoration (such as the ribbon, a star, etc.).  I really don’t remember how I covered this one (it was weeks ago)… sorry!

Here it is all trimmed up after I did a little more smoothing:

Okay, so after that, you’ll want to cover the top of the rocket.  For this, I rolled out a circle of fondant and just laid it over…

Then I trimmed it up so that it would have a smooth seam with the white fondant.  This doesn’t have to be precise – you’ll have a wide ribbon to cover it up!

Speaking of the ribbon – I didn’t do lots of step by step pics here – you can read my tutorial on how to apply ribbon borders to a cake here.  You’ll want to do a ribbon for the bottom border and the seam on the top… (scroll to see my first picture at the top!).

You can also check out the first post on the Rocket Ship Cake here – I gave more details on the tools I used for the ribbons, lettering, etc.

So, after you put some ribbons on for borders, then you’re going to put your wings on.  Here’s a picture of the shape of the wing.  I made a pretty big “tab” that was inserted into the cake to hold it on.

Unfortunately I didn’t measure this exactly, but I think it was around 4″ tall and 6″ wide overall (including the part pushed into the cake).

Now don’t go and just try to shove this into the cake – it’ll mess things up!  What I did is gently pushed it into the cake an leave a slight indentation where it’ll go, then used an Xacto blade to gently cut through the fondant, then used a butter knife to cut further into the cake, so the wing would easily slide in…

And that’s about it.  Here’s the (unfinished) finished cake:

My white board kept falling over… I had my boys holding it while I (unsuccessfully) tried to get a decent picture.  Anyway, I straightened the top ribbon after this picture, then added all the details to get this final cake:

I used my Ateco round cutters and the back end of a  frosting tip to do the round decor on top.  As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, you can find information about the tools I used to finish it up (the letters, number, etc.) on the original Rocket Ship Cake post!

So… does that help?  Did you learn anything?  Do you have any other questions about this cake? 

Please leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer and help out!

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  1. Jess says

    This is great! I was looking everywhere for a rocket cake and your directions are very clear. One question though. How does one eat this cake once everyone is done admiring it? Fondant seems a bit tough, so I’m worried just cutting into it will smoosh the whole thing. But the seams are all sealed with ribbon, so it doesn’t come apart in tiers… does it? I’m sadly baffled at how to eat this thing.

  2. Kathy says

    Thank you for the instructions, the cake looks wonderful! I am planning to make this cake with your chocolate cake recipe but was wondering what type of icing I should use since you used vanilla buttercream. Can I use chocolate buttercream even though the fondant is white (the 4 layers cake)? Also, I have read in some places that it is not recommended that you use a KitchenAid when making your fondant because it was not made to handle the toughness. Have you had any problems when using a KitchenAid? I was calculating, and it appears it would require about 5lbs of fondant for the entire cake (including decorations), is this correct? Thanks!

    • Rose says

      I think chocolate or vanilla would be fine. I only made fondant with my Kitchenaid a few times and it didn’t work out well. It didn’t break, but it really made the motor sound bad so I stopped trying it. And I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you for sure how much fondant I used – it’s been quite a while since I made this cake. 5 lbs sounds about right, but I can’t promise that’s accurate – it also depends on how thick you roll it, etc.


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