When my son asked to have an Indiana Jones themed birthday party, Indiana Jones hadn't quite made his comeback. There was Lego Indiana Jones, but no paper plates or dollar store decorations. A year later, when the Crystal Skull movie was released, Indiana Jones merchandise was everywhere, but this was not so during the summer of my son's sixth birthday. He was born in July, so we were able to have an outdoor party. It was a success. We had poster paper snakes spiralling from the trees, white balloons with skull faces (drawn on with Sharpies), treasure chests containing the scavenger hunt prizes, and crepe paper vines. Halloween decorations and giant dollar store bugs were a perfect touch. We even served a french bread ham and cheese sandwich fashioned to look like a snake with olive eyes and a red pepper tongue. (I wish I had a picture!). Of all the special touches I put into this party, I am most proud of my cake. The Incredible, Edible, Temple of Doom.
The Cake and Frosting
The cake is two boxes of cake mix. No use going scratch when you have great friends like Betty Crocker. The icing is a Cool Whip and pudding frosting, because I like it, but you could use homemade buttercream or storebought frosting. It would actually work better.
I baked the cakes in two 9x13 pans and cut them into shapes that I could stack into a tower. There is no science to this. I just wing these things. I actually can't remember if I made two cakes or one, but it is always good to have extra. I made a tunnel for the boulder and stacked the rest of the cake into tiers until I ran out of cake ...and patience.
Cool Whip & Pudding Frosting (in case you like it too)
1 Tub Cool Whip
1 3.5 oz Package of Vanilla or Butterscotch Pudding
1 Cup Skim Milk
The pudding usually calls for 2 cups of milk, but you want it to be thicker, so use one. Mix pudding and milk until smooth, then fold in the Cool Whip until combined.
The Fun Details
As you can see from the photos, Indiana Jones and the guards are not edible. Lego Indiana Jones was the perfect size for this cake. The boulder is a Viva Puff cookie. The sides of the temple are reinforced with vanilla wafers and caramel square bricks. I cut them in half lengthwise so they would be lighter and thinner on the side of the cake.
The skulls are my favourite part. I melted some chocolate
chips and painted their cute little skull faces on with a fine paintbrush. I actually enjoyed these so much that I made larger marshmallow skulls and served them as a fun snack.
The skulls on stakes are just the same marshmallows shoved onto pretzel sticks. The dirt is crushed Oreo cookies. The vines are storebought vanilla frosting with green food colouring pipe onto the cake with a Wilton leaf tip. I added some Ring Pops because I figured Lego Indy needed some serious bling for his collection after so narrowly escaping that Viva Puff.
After using just one for the cake, if you intended to hoard those extra Viva Puffs away for yourself, you are sorely mistaken. Be sure to have the box with the rest of the cookies on hand when you serve the cake because every kid will want a boulder on his/her plate.
If you go with the Cool Whip icing (which remember, is not the best option but tastes like Bavarian cream). Do not attempt to make the cake the day before. The wafers will sog a bit and the caramel will run. If you use regular frosting, I expect the cake will be just fine if made in advance.
About the Author
Summer is a stay at home mom, happily married to a teacher/musician in British Columbia, Canada. Also an art director for Bell's Alaska Travel Guides and freelance graphic designer, Summer always manages to find ways to share her love and knack for art and design with her children.