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dragon vase cake

I love a challenge and it’s always great to be taken out of your comfort zone, so I was really excited when I was commissioned to create a Chinese vase cake as a surprise extra gift for a special 60th birthday party. The original concept was a round cake painted like a classic Chinese vase, with a picture of a dragon on it, but with discussions, it grew and grew into a completely 3D sculpture with the dragon climbing around the sides. I absolutely love things like this and couldn’t wait to get started!

I offer a whole selection of different flavour combinations and I am also able to cater for some dietary requirements. Goat butter is often a really good alternative for those who are intolerant to cow’s milk and is an option I offer for some cakes. However, Peter, who ordered the cake for his mum, just really loves my goat butter vanilla sponge so that’s what he chose for this, with vanilla goatbuttercream and strawberry jam.

Imperial Dragon Chinese Vase birthday cake work in progress 1

One of the scariest types of cakes to make, for me anyway, are tall, skinny ones with more complex shapes, especially when you have to ice them in one, smooth piece…! Here are some behind the scenes shots of some of my progress, in case you’re interested in seeing how the vase shape started to come together. I then painted the navy blue and gold design onto the white icing using edible paints, added horizontal trim details, the lip of the lid and then moulded the dragon directly onto the cake, making him climb around the sides. The dragon started off a deep, cool shade of blue, which I then painted him gold in a rustic style to bring out his features and make him stand out from the cake underneath.

Chinese vase Imperial Dragon birthday cake work in progress 2

And here is the finished piece!

Imperial dragon Chinese vase birthday cake detail 1Imperial dragon Chinese vase birthday cake detail 2Imperial dragon Chinese vase birthday cake detail 3Imperial dragon Chinese vase birthday cake detail 4

I was really pleased with the amount of movement I was able to capture in the dragon, which you can’t really see in a photo, so I made a short (a bit amateur, sorry!) video of the cake rotating. If you’d like to get a more 3D experience, click on the image below, which will take you to my Instagram account:

Imperial Dragon Chinese Vase birthday cake video

I hope you enjoyed the story of my Imperial dragon Chinese vase birthday cake! Until next time,

Beth x

Beth is a leading wedding cake designer based in Manchester, UK. For further information, please visit