This is an Airplane Cake Tutorial that will walk you through step-by-step detailed instructions for creating and frosting an edible airplane cake.
An airplane cake on a board designed as a runway.

While I was home in Utah last week I was able to make it to my nephew’s second birthday party!  My brother works for Skywest airlines, so I think that may have to do with the fact that my nephew is obsessed with airplanes! His party was completely airplane themed and it was adorable!  He is the cutest little boy ever and I was soo excited to help my mom and sister make him an airplane cake for his birthday!  It turned out cuter than ever, and I’m excited to share this tutorial with you all!

If you have any questions about this tutorial, don’t hesitate to email me or write a comment below and I will get back to you asap!

A little boy looking at a airplane cake on a board designed as a runway.

You will need:
2, 9×13” pans of cake
6-8 Cups Buttercream frosting (recipe below)
2 empty paper towel rolls (for the engines)
Large cardboard cake board – We covered the cakeboard with green and black construction paper to make a runway for the plane.

First, we started by making a paper replica of our airplane.  Using plain paper and a pencil, gently trace the following peieces of your airplane and make accordding to how big you want the cake.  We used two 9×13” cakes for this cake.

The patterns for a airplane cake.
As you can see from the above diagram, you will need the following pieces to assemble your cake:
1: Main body of the plane
2. Upper cabin of the plane (same shape as the main body, just slightly smaller, to create 2 layers)
3. Large Wings
4. Small wings
5. Tail wing (We cut this out of cardboard, not cake!)

Next, bake your cakes!

A baked yellow cake in a 9x13 pan.

Bake your two 9×13” cakes in well greased pans so that they will come out easily. Cool cakes in pan and then invert onto counter top.

Use your pattern pieces to cut the cakes into the shapes for your plane. Once you cut the main body of the plane and upper cabin of the plane, round the edges of the cake pieces with your knife, to make them more rounded and not square.

A baked cake being cut into patterns for an airplane cake.

*** Please note that you only need to cut one side of the large and small wings! Once you have one large wing cut, you will tort that piece of cake in half, creating another large wing, which you can flip over and use on the other side of the airplane. (See image below–cut the wing to make A and B).

A baked cake being cut into patterns for an airplane cake.

Do the same with the small wing pattern: tort the cake in half, creating two small wings.

A baked cake being cut into wing patterns for an airplane cake.

Once you have all of your pieces cut, cover them and place them in the freezer. They will be easier to frost frozen.


Make your buttercream frosting.

(Yields 6 cups)
Buttercream Frosting:

1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
8 cups confectioner’s sugar
4 Tbsp milk

Cream shortening and butter with an electric mixer.  Add vanilla and mix.  Gradually add sugar and milk, scraping sides and bottom of bowl often. Continue beating until light and fluffy. Cover with a damp cloth or refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.


Remove frozen cakes from the fridge and assemble the cake on your cake board to look like your airplane.  Cut 2 large, empty, paper towel rolls in half to make 4 small engines.

Cover them with frosting and place them under the large wings of the plane for support.  Cut out your tail wing from a piece of cardboard.  Frost it and set aside until you are finished frosting the cake.

Airplane cake being assembled.

Use your frosting to make a crumb coat on the cake.  (It make be helpful to add a little extra milk to a portion of your frosting to thin the frosting for the crumb coating. This will make it easier to frost than with a thicker frosting. )

A crumb coat is a thin layer coating of frosting over the entire cake that seals in the “crumbs” of the cake, allowing you to have a clean and smooth final layer of frosting when you finish the cake, without any dark crumbs showing through.

This is especially important if you made a chocolate cake and you are frosting it with white frosting. You don’t want the chocolate cake to show through your white frosting.

Your crumb coat will look like this:

Crumb coat put on the airplane cake.

After completing your crumb coating, place the cake back in the freezer.
Remove the cake from the freezer and frost with your final layer of buttercream frosting.

Airplane caked frosted in white frosting.

Separate 2 cups of frosting out to make blue and red frosting for the decorative elements of the plane.  Make light blue frosting for your windows and red frosting for the wings and any stripes you want on the plane. Use a small, round pastry tip to frost the windows of the airplane. (Or place frosting in a ziplock bag and cut a small tip out of the corner).

Two girls posing with airplane cake.
Viola’!  Impress your family and friends with this super cute airplane cake!
Finished airplane cake presented on party table.
And visit this blog for details on how to throw an airplane birthday party! Here’s a little video clip of my adorable nephew, Luke, as we sing him happy birthday with his airplane cake!

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. I love it. I always go the easy route and make cupcakes. I’d love to try making a shaped cake like this, though. It came out great!

  2. This is great! I did my first sculpted cake for my son’s 2nd birthday, which was car themed. It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be. They make it look so easy on tv!

  3. Hi pls can I ask you are these 9″ square cake tins or 13″ tins. Sorry for a silly question but I’d really like to give this a try for my nephew’s birthday cake. Thanks a lot

  4. I plan to make this for my grandson for his second birthday. The party is at the airport. How do you secure the back wings to the cake. I see how to secure the front wings with the paper towel rolls. Thanks for posting this wonderful idea. Mine will not be as pretty but I’ll try hard.

    1. That will be so fun! Sorry I didn’t realize I didn’t talk about those! We just used two large cake scraps and stuck them under the wings. We didn’t frost them so that you wouldn’t really notice them 🙂 Good luck with the cake and let me know how it turns out! Take it one step at a time and make sure to freeze the pieces before frosting and it should be pretty easy! Hope he loves it!

      1. Thank you. It’s not until April 12 but I’m already excited. I’ll do the same as you and put the scraps under to hold it up. Thanks so much.

  5. Hi,,, Nice tutorial.. but i can’t find the template for it? can you send me your template please? i’ve got a cake coming next week..

    1. I’m sorry, I don’t have the template posted, I just posted pictures to show how you could easily make your own.

  6. I’m actually gonna try to Make it for my son on Friday hopefully itcomes out as good as yours. Question do you think I could put tinkies instead of paper rolls?

  7. This very beautiful. Thank you very much for the instructions. How do you ice the cake when it’s cut as when you go to ice it crumbs start to fall and also how do you make the icing so smoth on the cake

    Thank you

    1. Hi Shari, I do a thin “crumb coat” of frosting and then refrigerate the cake. Then I add additional frosting and it smooths on nicely, to cover all the crumbs.

  8. Cute cake! I’d like to make it for my nephew next weekend. It looks like the back wings are also propped up. What are you using under the back smaller wings? Thanks!