Swan Cake Tutorial


A majestic swan cake makes a stunning centerpiece for any celebration, and I’m excited to guide you through creating this elegant cake. We’ll be making a fondant swan head, delicate chocolate feathers, and beautiful buttercream flowers.

One of the greatest joys of being a “cake lady” is sharing in people’s celebrations over the years. I often find myself making the wedding cake, followed by the baby shower cake, the first birthday cake, and so on. It’s a privilege to witness these milestones and watch the children grow up.

A dear friend asked me to create a swan cake for her daughter’s birthday. She also requested a smaller smash cake to match the theme. A smash cake is a smaller cake given to the baby to do whatever they want with it (mostly smashing it, hence the name) I decided it would be a good idea to make two swans: a mama swan with a baby swan.

The idea to film a tutorial came to me only after I made the big mama swan.  So in this tutorial I will show you how to make the smaller swan cake, the design is slightly different but the techniques used are the same. For the smaller cake, I used a 6" round cake.

small swan cake with buttercream roses

Watch the Swan cake video Tutorial below

Swan Cake Tutorial

You will need:

6" or 8" round cake frosted in buttercream

Fondant or gumpaste
Tylose powder
Pink gel paste
Compound chocolate or candy melts (white and pink)
Oil-based food color
Piping tip 104
Piping bag
Cake board or sheet pan
Parchment or wax paper
Barbecue sticks
Tylose glue (water mixed with tylose powder)
Soft foam or cornstarch
Gold dust and vodka for painting beak
Small brush for painting details

Making the Head of the swan 

First, make the swan head at least 2-3 days ahead so it has time to dry. Gumpaste is ideal for this, but I used fondant mixed with a bit of tylose to make it dry faster and harder. I also colored it pink with a teeny bit of pink gel paste.

Shape the Fondant: Roll the fondant into a log and shape one end into a point for the beak. See the video for more details.

making the swan head with fondant

Form the Head: Use a swan head template or eyeball it. Cut the extra fondant on the other end with a knife.

using the swan template to make the swan head

Insert a Stick: Insert a barbecue stick into the center of the swan’s head, brushing it with tylose glue for better adhesion.

adding a stick to the fondant swan head

Drying: Let the swan head dry on soft foam or a bed of cornstarch until it’s hard to the touch, which takes a few days.

Grab the Swan template here

Swan Cake Template

I’m offering this along with all of my other printables completely free to all of my email subscribers.  To get your printables just subscribe to my email newsletter in the box below.  The password will be sent to your email within minutes and you will get access to all of my other free printables as well along with my weekly email newsletter. 


Making the feathers 

To make the feathers, I used compound chocolate (or candy melts). You can also use real chocolate but make sure they are tempered so the feathers will set hard nicely.  

For this cake project, I wanted the feathers to have two colors, so I melted white candy melts and divided them into two bowls. I colored one bowl pink with oil-based food color (gel or liquid food colors will seize the chocolate) and kept the other bowl white.

melting chocolate for swan cake feathers

Prepare: Cover a cake board or sheet pan with parchment or wax paper.  This will make removing the chocolate feathers easier. 

Making buttercream roses

Using tip 104, make buttercream roses (see video). I used uncolored and pink buttercream, putting half of each in the pastry bag to create two-tone petals. 

Keep the buttercream roses at room temperature.

swan cake piping a buttercream rose
swan cake piping a buttercream rose
swan cake
swan cake piping a buttercream rose
swan cake piping a buttercream rose
swan cake piping a buttercream rose

Assembling the swan cake

Frost the 6" cake with buttercream and chill the cake before assembling the swan cake. 

Buttercream Roses: Using a flower scissor, transfer the buttercream roses to cover the top of the cake.

placing the buttercream roses on the swan cake
placing the buttercream roses on the swan cake

Swan Head: Insert the swan head slightly offset to one side of the cake.

adding the fondant head on the swan cake
fondant head on the swan cake

Chocolate Feathers: Peel the feathers off the wax or parchment paper and insert it evenly on both sides of the cake.

adding the chocolate feathers on the swan cake

Additional Flowers: Add more buttercream flowers around the swan head.

swan cake

Finishing Touches: Brush the beak with gold dust mixed with vodka (or black if you prefer).

painting the beak of the swan cake with gold

Paint the eyes: Paint the swan’s eyes with a small brush.

painting the eye on the swan cake

I have to admit, this part was a bit nerve wracking for me. I had to hold my breath while doing it. And doing the other, it never comes out the same for me.  Good thing, we can only see one side of the cake when it’s displayed.

Swan Cake 2 swans

For the bigger swan cake, I used an 8” round. I placed the feathers on the sides of the cake, added buttercream roses primarily on one side, inserted the head, added more roses, and finished with feathers on top.

Swan Cake Tutorial big swan

Isn’t she a beauty?

elegant swan cake

Here's another variation of a swan cake that I made.  The cake is for the birthday of my friend's aunt.  They wanted an all white cake.  I added gold highlights on the wings as well. The neck of the swan cracked on me, so I added a pearl "necklace" around the neck to cover the crack.  I think it actually looks intentional and nicer.  Phew! 

Swan Cake design

I hope you enjoyed this swan cake tutorial! 

This cake is perfect for birthdays, baby showers, and any special occasion where you want to impress your guests with a stunning centerpiece.

Until next time, happy baking!


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