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Rubber Ducky Cake with yellow frosting and candy eyes.

Let’s hop in a time machine…

Rubber Duck Cake! Back in the 80’s when the wonderful Women’s Weekly Children Cake Book was released. What a pure joy this book was and still is! Purely from a design perspective, this book is filled with interesting design choices.

Like for example, before I saw the cake we’re making today: The Famous Rubber Ducky Cake, I had no idea that ducks had an afro. And even though photographic documentation proves they don’t, I just think every single photo of a duck is now fake news. Ducks have afros. Not a joke, just a FACT.

Lately, I’ve been really fascinated with cakes from the ’80s.

It wasn’t just an amazing era for music, but the food was bonkers and so different back then. And in this day and age where we have over the top instagramable and TikTok food trends that are so fast-paced and almost disposable, it’s a comfort to be able to travel back to the ’80s and see what was so popular, and what people were drawn to. Simplicity. We don’t need a realistic fondant toilet roll cake. You can use buttercream and candy and make an awesome cake. That’s what the ’80s teaches us.

Nicks’s favourite thing…

I absolutely adore how cute this rubber duck cake is. I think it’s so retro and kind of ugly but in a really cute way. Isn’t it funny how far we’ve come in cake making? Simple new inventions have helped us create these incredible cake sculptures and edible art. But there’s something really charming about this cake and how cute it is!

What does Rubber Duck Cake taste like?

This rubber duck cake is made up of my super moist and delicious vanilla cake. It’s a great recipe because it’s easy to carve shapes like duck cakes!

What are the ingredients I need?

All-Purpose Flour – also known as plain flour.

Caster Sugar – Also known as superfine sugar.

Baking Powder – one of the things used to help the cake rise.

Salt – I used fine salt.

Unsalted butter – If using salted butter, leave out the salt.

Eggs – I used large eggs

Milk – I used whole milk. You may use plant-based or skim milk.

Vegetable Oil – You may also use sunflower oil.

Greek Yogurt – This helps the cake stay moist. You won’t taste it. Alternatively, you can use sour cream or leave it out of the recipe.

Vanilla Extract – Always use good quality vanilla extract.

Powdered Sugar – also known as icing sugar.

Yellow & Pink food gel – This is optional. You can use natural food coloring if you wish. But to get the color I did in the video use the Americolor brand.

Liquorice Strips – you can use any type of candy similar to liquorice strips.

Smarties – You can use anything similar to smarties.

Cheese flavored popcorn – I used cheese flavored popcorn purely because it looked nice and yellow.

Ruffled chips – There’s no substitute for a good ruffled chip duck lip!

Let’s go through each step.

Vanilla Cake

Please note: To make the cake in this you’ll need to double the cake recipe only. All other measurements are enough to fill, crumb coat and finish decorating the cake.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 01

  1. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixing bowl and mix with a hand mixer until well combined.
  1. Next, add the softened butter and mix on low speed until the mixture reaches a crumbly, sand-like texture.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 02

  1. Add the eggs, milk, oil, Greek yoghurt and vanilla, and mix on low speed until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.
  2. Fill the loaf tin about 3/4 of the way with batter.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 03

  1. Add the remaining batter to the square tin. Bake for 50–60 minutes (the loaf will take about 30-40 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. If the toothpick is coated with wet batter, continue baking for 10 minutes at a time until fully baked.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 04

  1. Allow the cakes to cool to room temperature in the tins, then chill them in the fridge overnight.

Loaf Tin

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 05

  1. Use a serrated knife to slice the cake in half leaving you with two rectangles. Flip the rectangles so that the part you just cut is facing upward and the slightly flattened out sides are facing outward.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 06

  1. To shape the ducks body, begin by cutting wedges on one end of the cake.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 07

  1. Cut the bottom of the cake (where the kneck meets the body) on an angle to help it sit on the cake better.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 08

  1. Cut wedges on the sides of the cake.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 09

  1. Then begin carving away at the top where the head is to turn it into a ball shape.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 10

  1. Go slow and carve away little by little.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 11

  1. Now you’ve got the hear and kneck of the duck!

Square Tin (Ducks body)

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 12

  1. Use the knife to slice the cake in half leaving you with two rectangles.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 13

  1. Use a serrated knife to flatten the top of the cake out slightly.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 14

  1. Flip the rectangles so that the part you just cut is facing upward and the slightly flattened out sides are facing outward. To shape the ducks body, begin by cutting wedges on one end of the cake.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 15

  1. Then cut a slightly deeper angled wedge on the other side of the cakes. The part with the smaller angles is going to be the front of the duck, the other side will be the back.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 16

  1. Use the knife to cut an angled shape from the top of the back down to the bottom.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 17

  1. Then cut a slightly curved shape on the top of the back of the duck.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 18

  1. Lastly, cut an angled chunk out of the top of the front of the duck. This is where the body and kneck of the duck will meet. Place the chest piece on top and check that the angle is right. The chest piece should be on a slightly backward facing angle. Carve away any cake from the ducks body if needed to achieve this slightly angle.

Frosting

Top down shot of American buttercream frosting in a glass bowl.

  1. To make the frosting check out the instructions here!

Assembly

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 20

  1. Use an offset spatula to add some frosting to what was the bottom of the cake, but now is the middle of the ducks body. And spread around evenly. This will act as glue to hold the cake together.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 21

  1. Crumb coat the ducks body with a thin layer of frosting.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 22

  1. Place the top cake piece on the body and use three long skewers to secure the two cakes together.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 23

  1. Use a knife to cut off the excess bits of the skewers.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 24

  1. Crumb coating is optional but recommended because it will help keep everything together and looking much neater. To crumb coat simply add a thin layer of frosting around the duck cake. Place in the fridge for one hour to chill.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 25

  1. To finish the cake, add a thicker layer of frosting around the cake. It doesn’t have to be perfect, making it look slightly rough will give the duck a feathered body look.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 26

  1. Finish by adding the ducks eyes (liquorice rings and orange smarties).

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 27

  1. Add the bow tie on the front and the buttons (red smarties)

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 28

  1. Then the final (and best) bit is the chip beak. Two single, perfect chips for the ducks beak.

Rubber Ducky Cake Instructional Image 29

  1. Slice and serve!

My top tips! 

  • This cake takes time to make. I wouldn’t recommend trying to make it all in one day. You could make the cake on Day 1. Carve and Crumb coat on Day 2 and Finish decorating on Day 3. Or complete it in 2 days. Makes it way less stressful!

Other fun kids themed desserts recipes you might like!

Make sure to follow me on social media!

Instagram @thescranline, Facebook and watch and subscribe to my videos on YouTube!

I hope you guys enjoyed this simple but delicious Rubber Duck Cake recipe with me. Please comment in the comments section below, or feel free to share with your family and friends on social media.

I’ll see you all on the following recipe. Happy baking!

N x

Rubber Ducky Cake with yellow frosting and candy eyes.

Women's Weekly Rubber Ducky Cake

Serves 20

4.67 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 3 hrs 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Vanilla Cake

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 5 drops yellow food gel
  • 2 drops pink food gel

Decorations

  • Liquorice strips
  • 2 orange smartis candy
  • red ribbon bow
  • 1 cup cheese flavoured popcorn
  • 2 ruffled plain chips


Instructions

Vanilla Extract

  • Please note: To make the cake in this you’ll need to double the cake recipe only. All other measurements are enough to fill, crumb coat and finish decorating the cake.
  • Preheat a fan-forced oven to 140°C / 275°For a conventional oven to 160°C / 320°F. Spray a loaf tin 25cm x 10cm (10 x 4inch) and a square baking tin 20 x 20cm (8 x 8 inch) with oil spray and line the bottom and sides with baking paper. Set aside.
  • Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixing bowl and mix with a hand mixer until well combined.
  • Next, add the softened butter and mix on low speed until the mixture reaches a crumbly, sand-like texture.
  • Add the eggs, milk, oil, Greek yoghurt, and vanilla, and mix on low speed until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.
  • Fill the loaf tin about 3/4 of the way with batter and then add the remaining batter to the square tin. Bake for 50–60minutes (the loaf will take about 30-40 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. If the toothpick is coated with wet batter, continue baking for 10 minutes at a time until fully baked.
  • Allow the cakes to cool to room temperature in the tins, then chill them in the fridge overnight.

Load Tin (Duck Head & Chest)

  • Take the loaf cake out of the tin and discard the paper. Lay it on it’s side and cut a third off using a serrated knife. You won’t need the smaller piece. Cut an angle on one side of the larger piece. At about 1/3 of the way, cut little wedges all around the rectangle shape. The lower part will make up the chest and the square shape will make the head. To round out the head cut angled wedges on each side of the top of the ducks head. Then continue rounding it out using the serrated knife. Get it as round as you can.

Square Tin (Ducks Body)

  • Use a serrated knife to flatten the top of the cake out slightly. Use the knife to slice the cake in half leaving you with two rectangles. Flip the rectangles so that the part you just cut is facing upward and the slightly flattened out sides are facing outward. To shape the ducks body, begin by cutting wedges on one end of the cake. Then cut a slightly deeper angled wedge on the other side of the cakes. The part with the smaller angles is going to be the front of the duck, the other side will be the back.
  • Use the knife to cut an angled shape from the top of the back down to the bottom. Then cut a slightly curved shape on the top of the back of the duck.
  • Lastly, cut an angled chunk out of the top of the front of the duck. This is where the chest and head shape will sit. Place the chest piece on top and check that the angle is right. The chest piece should be on a slightly backward facing angle. Carve away any cake from the ducks body if needed to achieve this slightly angle.

Frosting

  • Before you begin, it’s really important to make sure the butter is soft enough. Some people keep their butter out of the fridge, others chill it. Even if you keep it out, it may not be soft enough. You want your butter to be soft enough so that when you stick your finger in it, it glides in, but not without a little bit of resistance. The best way to get it too that softness is to place your butter on a microwave safe plate, microwave for 10 seconds at a time, testing the softness each time. If it needs longer than 10 seconds, turn the butter over and repeat until it’s ready.
  • Add the softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. You can also use an electric hand mixer for this recipe, but if you do use a hand mixer, just make sure your bowl is large. Mix the butter on low speed to begin with, then switch to the highest speed and mix for 5 minutes until the butter is fluffy and turns pale in color.
  • Stop your mixer and scrape down the side of the bowl using a spatula. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and mix again on low speed. LOW SPEED PEOPLE! The last thing you need is to end up in a sugar dust storm! (I’m speaking from experience…)
  • Once all the sugar has been incorporated, it’s safe to turn your mixer up to high speed. Continue beating on high speed for about 5–6 minutes, or until the butter turns pale in colour and becomes fluffy again. If you want to soften your buttercream and make it a little smoother, add the milk and continue mixing for another couple of minutes on medium speed. At this stage, you can also add the yellow and pink food gel.

Assembly

  • Use an offset spatula to add some frosting to what was the bottom, but now is the middle of the ducks body. And spread around evenly. This will act as glue to hold the cake together.
  • Place the top cake piece on the body and use three long skewers to secure the two cakes together. Use a knife to cut off the excess bits of the skewers.
  • Crumb coating is optional but recommended because it will help keep everything together and looking much neater. To crumb coat simply add a thin layer of frosting around the duck cake. Place in the fridge for one hour to chill.
  • To finish the cake, add a thicker layer of frosting around the cake. It doesn’t have to be perfect, making it look slightly rough will give the duck a feathered body look.
  • Finish by adding the ducks eyes (liquorice rings and orange smarties). Add the bow tie on the front and the buttons (red smarties) Then the final (and best) bit is the chip beak. Two single, perfect chips for the ducks beak.

Notes

Storage
The cake can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.

Nutrition

Calories : 485kcal
Carbonhydrates: 44g
Protein: 4g
Fat: 30g
Saturated Fat: 20g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g
Monounsaturated Fat : 7g
Trans Fat : 1g
Cholesterol: 79mg
Sodium: 85mg
Potassium : 89mg
Fiber: 1g
Sugar : 26g
Vitamin A: 766IU
Vitamin C: 1mg
Calcium: 74mg
Iron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclosure

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13 comments

Tina December 7, 2021 - 12:01 pm

I’m making this cake this weekend for my child’s 5th bday after she saw it in a WW anniversary recipe book then on bluey. I’ve been following you for years and bless you for creating this post and video!!!

My question is, with the recipe for the vanilla sponge above, is that only a single batch or already? (3 1/2 cups of flour?)

Or do in need to double that? As in 7 cups flour etc??

Reply
Nick Makrides January 4, 2022 - 1:21 pm

Hi Tina! Apologies for the late reply. You’ll need to double it. so 7 cups all up. I would suggest making it in two batches as it can be a lot of batter to try to make in most home kitchen bowls.

Reply
Ken December 7, 2021 - 11:57 pm

Salt is missing from the recipe. Fyi

Reply
Nick Makrides January 4, 2022 - 1:20 pm

Just added it, thanks for letting me know! N x

Reply
Ashley December 29, 2021 - 5:44 pm

Salt amount isn’t listed for the cake

Reply
Nick Makrides January 4, 2022 - 12:56 pm

1 tsp

Reply
Elizabeth Green December 30, 2021 - 1:16 am

I was wondering how much salt you use in the cake recipe? Otherwise I’m so excited to make this recipe for my 4 year old. He requested it because he saw it on bluey. And you give a very good tutorial 👍

Reply
Nick Makrides January 4, 2022 - 12:56 pm

1 tsp 🙂

Reply
Nick Makrides January 4, 2022 - 1:18 pm

1 tsp. Just updated the recipe N x

Reply
erika May 27, 2022 - 11:16 pm

I tried to make the cake & it didn’t taste good or turn brown. I did use unbleached flour so I was wondering if that’s why? I do love the frosting though. it turned out perfect. very light

Reply
Nick Makrides May 28, 2022 - 7:01 am

Hi Erika! Sorry to hear you didn’t like this recipe. I’ve had people write and let me know they loved it. I can only speak to how the recipe will come out if you use the ingredients and follow the steps outlined in the recipe I have written. I would encourage you to try again using the ingredients listed or find a cake recipe designed to be used with unbleached flour and then decorated it the way I’ve shown. Glad to hear you loved the frosting though! N x

Reply
Jessie February 4, 2022 - 9:51 am

Hello!

Thank you for the recipe!
Quick question if I assemble and crumb and then decorate on a different day, where do i store the cake? I live in queensland so its a bit warm at the moment.

Reply
Nick Makrides February 4, 2022 - 10:48 am

Hi Jessie! In the fridge would be best if you can fit it! N x

Reply

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