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A jungle theme is a common kiddie party theme because there’s just something about animals in the wild that children find cool, mysterious, and amazing. Don’t get me wrong, the theme works for grownups, too. Contrary to popular belief, there are several ways to go about a jungle cake. This list of unique safari and jungle cake ideas will show you.
Having planned several jungle-themed parties for my nephews and friends in the past, I would admit that it can be a real struggle to find a cake that’s unique and different. That’s because when we talk about a jungle cake, we always picture the same elements: animals, trees, leaves, and a color palette that’s mainly brown and green. It’s almost always the same animals, too: lion, giraffe, elephant, and probably a monkey.
The good thing is that you can go for a jungle theme and veer away from the jungle cake cliché because there are some unique jungle cake ideas you can get inspiration from.
My Bottom Line Up Front
A jungle-themed cake is not just for little kids. Grownups, who love nature and animals, would appreciate a jungle cake, too. I would prefer something out of the usual fondant jungle cake with gum paste animals. I’d go for a number cake with buttercream topped with a mix of jungle animal decorations and the usual meringues, chocolates, fruits, and macarons.
Narrowing Down Jungle Cake Ideas
Getting unique jungle cake ideas may be difficult because you would have to sift through so many of the more common ones. So to help you save time, I have done it for you. In selecting these cakes, I made sure they fit the jungle or safari theme or that they have elements representing some of our favorite jungle animals.
I also look for the uniqueness factor. This is the tricky bit because “unique” is relative and could mean different things to different people. For me, however, jungle cakes are unique if they fit any of these criteria:
- They apply any modern cake decorating trend.
- They stay away from the traditional fondant animal models.
- They stay away from using plastic trees and animal toys as toppers or decorations.
- They are more experimental and adventurous with the use of colors.
- They don’t stick to the usual color palette of greens and browns.
- They are more creative in the representation of animals or jungle life.
Jungle Cake Ideas
1. Baby Jungle Cake
Jungle cakes with fondant animals are quite common and ordinary. So, some cakemakers give it a new — and cuter — twist by modeling the jungle animals as baby animals. The foliage will be done in fondant, too.
This uber-cute first birthday cake has buttercream frosting with a baby lion, baby giraffe, baby monkey, and baby elephant that are finely modeled in fondant. The leaves provide the foliage for this cake.
Here’s another take on baby jungle animals. This fondant cake also has a baby for a safari tour on a jeep. The name on the base is painted in gold, which is pretty trendy these days.
This jungle cake has baby animals in fondant, but it doesn’t have the usual green foliage. Instead, the leaves are pink and brushed with gold on the sides.
2. Cake with Gold-painted Toys
I know that little toy animals are overused as jungle cake toppers. But if you want a unique and modern twist to this otherwise very common jungle cake decoration, paint it gold. Gold, after all, is a very stylish color these days.
This three-tier buttercream birthday cake takes the jungle theme to a higher level by spray-painting the toy animals’ gold. This makes the toys look less plastic and cheap and classy. To make things more interesting, the cakemaker also wrapped the middle tier with a leopard print wafer paper, then topped the cake with dried pampas grass — both of which are modern cake decorating tools.
3. Prehistoric Jungle
Well, if you’ve decided on a jungle theme for your birthday, it doesn’t have to be the jungle as we know it now. You can go back to prehistoric times!z
This vanilla and Nutella jungle cake shows us exactly what we mean when we say prehistoric, with a T-rex and some plastic foliage right on top of it. The T-rex even has a little party hat and bowtie on and is holding a balloon! The cakemaker also showcases their piping skills on this one. That acrylic name in front of the cake adds a touch of elegance and sophistication.
Here’s another take on the prehistoric jungle cake. This time, T-rex is accompanied by a stegosaurus on top. The green pipings are still there to add texture and more greens to an otherwise overly basic cake.
The cakemaker decided to paint the dinosaurs gold for this buttercream cake. There are synthetic leaves for foliage and pallet knife elements on the sides.
4. Quilt-style Jungle Cake
This cute safari or jungle cake has an expertly executed quilted effect, with the fondant animals and other decorative elements sporting “stitches,” thus making them look like they were sewn.
5. Colorful Jungle Cake
A jungle theme doesn’t have to be dominantly green and brown. Experiment with color combinations. Or you can apply the celebrant’s favorite colors.
This fondant jungle cake, for example, is dominantly pink. Some of the leavers, the balls, the elephant’s ears, and the monkey’s party hat are pink.
More colors aren’t a bad idea. That’s what this fondant cake proves. The flowers give this cake a much-needed touch of pinks and purples, plus there’s a little bit of blue added to an otherwise green palette.
Of course, you can do a jungle theme sparingly, and for a lilac or lavender cake at that. There’s not even a tinge of green in sight. This fondant cake also proves that even if you only have an elephant and a monkey, that’s already enough.
6. Number Jungle Cake
Number cakes are very popular and in vogue right now. These are cakes that are shaped in a number from the top view, which number represents the birthday celebrant’s age. So why not incorporate the two concepts and make a number cake with a jungle theme?
This number cake for a baby girl’s first birthday showcases lots of bright colors. It has colorful cream pipings in various shapes and sizes, fondant animal faces, and fondant leaves.
Here’s another safari number cake, for a baby boy turning a year old. This cake has a more subdued color palette. The theme is carried out through cookies with iced animal illustrations, leopard print, and leaves.
Take a look at this safari number cake with yellow and green piping. The animals are made of macarons.
7. King of the Jungle Cake with Synthetic Foliage
If you want a jungle-themed cake but want to keep things simple and avoid overcrowding your cake with too many animals, then just pick one. There’s no better choice than the king of the jungle himself: the lion.
A toy lion was painted gold for this cake. And just so nobody makes any mistake about him being the king of the jungle, a gold crown is there on top of the cake with him. Add some plastic foliage for more depth and more greens, sprinkle gold, silver, and white balls, then paint the sides with green buttercream using a pallet knife.
Another cake with just the lion roaring away. This cake has the trendy palm leaf in gold foil, chocolate balls, dried grass and leaves, and palette knife painting.
8. Paper-crafted Animal Toppers
You may want to consider making paper-crafted jungle animals as cake toppers. All you need are color boards or specialized paper products, a pair of scissors, glue, and sticks. If you have a Cricut machine, that would be swell, too!
This cake has animal toppers made out of a textured board.
You can also go for printed paper animal cutouts, like the ones on this cake. It’s also nice that this cake has palette knife painting on the side using soft pastel colors.
Paper animal toppers like these also look very cute on a cake.
You can create paper animals and punch leaves for your foliage.
9. Fondant Foliage
While fondant animal figures aren’t exactly a new and different thing, you can still make your cake look modern and stylish by using trendy foliage. Monstera leaves, for example, are quite trendy these days.
10. Palm Leaf + Stencil
This cake uses a combination of modern decorating techniques to turn an otherwise common theme and make it more contemporary-looking. As you can see, the cakemaker used the usual toy animals, but to give it a unique twist, they added a gold palm leaf and a buttercream stencil design on the side.
How about a light blue, white, and gold buttercream cake with gold palm leaf and subtle stencil at the front? The animals are your usual toys from the dollar store, but they’ve been painted gold.
11. Piped Animal Frosting
Who says your jungle cake has to be three-dimensional? It could still look totally cute with a 2D decoration. By 2D I mean piping the design in colored buttercream icing on top of the cake so that it could be seen from the top view.
12. Edible Jungle Images
Edible images are pictures that are printed on edible icing paper using edible ink. So you can print jungle animals and use them as toppers. You can find suppliers or sellers online who could print the images you’d like.
Take this three-tier jungle Christening cake for example. All the animals are edible images, while the leaves are modeled from fondant.
13. Animal Cookie Toppers
You can pipe your design on a sugar or butter cookie using royal icing, then use the cookie as a topper. This cake, for instance, has lion and zebra cookies on top of the Swiss vanilla meringue buttercream.
These tiger and cheetah cookies are so meticulously done. They are painted using edible colors.
If you’re going for a prehistoric jungle, you can go for dinosaur cookies. These cookies have a dinosaur skeleton design and are dusted gold. The leaves are made of fondant.
This cake is a great example of a minimalist cake. Its design details are very simple, with very basic shapes. Even the lion topper doesn’t require mad gum paste modeling skills.
15. Animal Fur Wrap Cakes
Edible image cake wraps are yet another cake decorating technique. These are designs or patterns printed on sugar sheets or wafer paper that you can wrap around the sides of your buttercream cake. You can get cake wraps with animal or fur prints for your jungle-themed cake.
This jungle cake has a different fur pattern for each layer. The first layer is wrapped in leopard print, the second layer in zebra print, and the third layer in giraffe print. Fondant animal figures are lounging on top of every tier.
16. The Lion is Not the Star
We can talk about jungles and leave the lions out of it. They’re not always the star of the show. With that being said, you can go ahead and let the giraffe or the zebra take the spotlight.
This pink jungle cake, for instance, only features a fondant giraffe and no other. Top it with dried bunny tails, pink blooms, pink monstera leaves, and pink macarons and you have one very feminine cake.
Here’s not just one, not just two, but three giraffes frolicking in the savanna. This cake is mostly beige and brown, with dried grass and brown buttercream smeared on the sides.
Here’s another gorgeous cake with a zebra at the center of it all. The zebra’s black and white stripes, as well as the black and white cake wrapper, provide a dramatic contrast against the pink surface of the cake.
And why not a giraffe and a zebra together?
This cake only has a giraffe and an elephant. But what I probably find more unique is that the first tier is in a shade of green I don’t usually see in a jungle cake.
17. No Animals, No Problem
This jungle cake shows you that you can stay true to the theme even without animals involved. You only need leaves, something that says “wild,” and you’re ready.
18. Animal Silhouette Cake
You can cut out animal silhouettes from glittery paper and put them on your buttercream cake. Add a glittery acrylic topper, like this “Wild One” topper, and some foliage to complete the look.
19. Wooden Animal Cutouts
You can use wooden animal cutouts for your toppers or ornaments and add a combination of synthetic and real dried leaves.
20. Two-Tone Jungle Cake
Again, there are ways to make your jungle cake unique and elegant even if you decided to use toys from the dollar store. How? Use modern decorating styles and two-tone frosting.
This cake, for example, has buttercream frosting in white and a very soft pistachio green. Spice it up with gold palm leaf, gold names, dried pampas grass, and colored chocolate balls.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: Technically, jungle and safari are two different things. A jungle is a forest with densely overgrown trees and tangled vegetation, while a safari refers to a trip or excursion. In other words, a jungle is a place while a safari is more of an activity. But when it comes to party themes, you can apply either “jungle” or “safari” to refer to anything about animals in the wild like giraffes, lions, rhinos, elephants, tigers, monkeys, and more.
Answer: Jungle cake pricing depends on a lot of things. It would depend on the kind of cake you want, the flavor and the ingredients needed to make it, the frosting, the design, the size, and the decorative techniques and elements used. Cake prices also vary from baker to baker because of varying skill levels.
If you want to have an idea of how much you need to set aside or allot for your cake budget, the best option is to call bakeshops and inquire. You can give them a picture or a description of the cake you want to order, they will suggest flavors based on their specialty, and they can give you an estimated price.
Answer: Jungle cakes are usually great for birthdays and even baby showers. Sometimes, the jungle theme is used for other celebrations, too, like Christening and even graduations. The theme is mostly used for kids since they’re usually the ones who are most fascinated with animals. Of course, I don’t mean to say that the theme doesn’t suit adults, because as long as you love animals and the wild, a jungle cake would still be a great idea.
Jungle-themed cakes have been around for as long as I can remember. So it’s safe to say that the jungle or safari theme never goes out of style. I think part of what makes the theme attractive is the fact that it’s more generic and you have more freedom to give it your own spin and your own interpretation. You don’t need to refer to a particular character or a specific color palette.