Leprechaun Cake

Leprechaun Cake




I had never seen one or heard of it before, but Mrs. Anderson introduced the leprechaun trap to our family. Mrs. Anderson is one of the finest special education teachers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting—and I’ve been lucky enough to meet three!


So when my son came home from school a few years ago with the assignment to make a trap, the best resource we had was our imagination. The assignment became a family project of sorts with varied ideas and opinions. Even my youngest had to make one of her own to keep up with her older brother. Quicker than you could whistle an Irish jig, the children and their mother were off to the craft store.


Fondant ShamrocksAccording to legend, leprechauns are curious, mischievous and quick with an affinity for hiding behind bushes and hedgerows. Practical jokers they are, they carry leather pouches with a gold coin in them. It’s the gold coin which they will use as leverage to try and bribe their way out of captivity. 

To catch a leprechaun you’ll need to be equally as clever and tricky. To lure one close enough to grab, use a trail of four leaf clovers or fake gold coins (chocolate coins in gold foil work best). Be sure to have lots of green around so they feel like they’re in their element. The scent of mint may have effective qualities to attract the elusive leprechaun. Remember, the crafty lad is fast on his feet so have a trap ready as a backup.


If you’ve managed to catch one never listen to what a leprechaun says; they are masters at mind games and will fool you. As lore goes, some say the leprechaun will offer three wishes or the gold coin in exchange for his freedom. Others say for his freedom you might be offered the whereabouts of his hidden bounty of gold. In any case, be sure you never take your eyes off of him, not even for an instant—by doing so, the leprechaun will no longer be bound to the barter and he will vanish!


Cocoa Powdered Cake Pans


For St. Patrick’s Day I’ve created a special cake to lure a leprechaun out of hiding to trap him. The way I see it, if it fails to bring him about, the luck of the Irish will still be on my side for we’ll have a lovely dessert to enjoy after a hearty meal of corned beef and cabbage. As we like to say in our house regarding the cake, “It’s blarney delicious!”


Leprechaun Cake by Cakewalker


Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 26 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 26 minutes

Yield: One 8-inch three layer torte


The moist chocolate cake pairs perfectly with the Crème de Menthe buttercream in this delicious Leprechaun Cake recipe. It's an ideal finish to your St. Patrick's Day celebration!

The chocolate cake portion of the recipe below is my wee twist on Leite's Culinaria adaptation of Hershey's Chocolate Chocolate Cake.


    Chocolate Cake:
  • Butter for the pans
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Hershey’s Cocoa, plus more for the pans
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup mild vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Cakewalker's Creme de Menthe Buttercream Frosting:
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • Scant 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons green Crème de Menthe liqueur
  • Fondant Shamrocks
  • 1/2 pound white fondant
  • 3 different shades of green food color
  • 3 different sizes of shamrock cutters
  • Additional Decorations:
  • Gold sprinkles or golden yellow sanding sugar


    Make the Fondant Shamrocks:
  • Divide approximately 8 ounces of white fondant into thirds. Tint each portion a different shade of green kneading the color in until blended well; wrap each tightly in plastic until ready to use. Working with one color at a time, roll the fondant to a 1/16th thickness. Using one of three different sizes of shamrock cutters (I used a 2 ½, 1 ¾ and 1 ½-inch), cut 8 pieces. Tool the cut shamrocks for detail if you like, but work quickly keeping unfinished pieces under a sheet of plastic wrap to prevent drying out until you can work with them. Place finished shamrocks on a sheet pan to dry in open air. Continue the process with the other two sizes cutting 8 pieces each of the other 2 colors. Once all the pieces are cut (and tooled if you choose) you should end up with 24 shamrocks: 8 each of three different sizes; each size a different shade of green. The shamrocks should be made a day in advance to allow the shamrocks to firm up. Store in an airtight container.
  • Make the cake:
  • Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (176°C). Butter three 8x2-inch round baking pans, line with parchment, butter the paper then dust pans with cocoa powder (as you would with flour) tapping out any excess cocoa.
  • In a large mixing bowl stir together the granulated sugar, flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and, using a handheld electric mixer (or stand mixer with its related mixing bowl and paddle attachment), beat the ingredients on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the boiling water until blended well; scrape the bowl and stir once more. The batter will be alarmingly thin but fear not, that is as it should be. Pour the batter equally into the prepared pans.
  • Bake the cakes for 22 to 24 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the wire racks, remove the parchment and let them cool completely.
  • Once the cakes have cooled, wrap well in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  • Make the Frosting:
  • To a large mixing bowl add the cream cheese and butter; beat well to combine. Add half the powdered sugar along with the remaining ingredients. On low speed engage the mixer in short cycles initially to help prevent the sugar from flying out of the bowl. Mix until the sugar is incorporated. Scrape the bowl. Repeat the process with the remaining sugar, starting low and slow. Once the sugar is incorporated mix on medium low speed for 3-4 minutes until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Cover or transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate to set the frosting, about 20-30 minutes.
  • Assemble the cake:
  • Put one cake bottom side down on a serving plate; frost the top of the cake nearly to the edge in a level even thickness. Place a second cake centered on top of the first and repeat the frosting. Add the third layer and frost accordingly. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large star tip with the remaining frosting. Pipe 4 medium-sized swirls evenly spaced around the top perimeter at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions. Add 4 more swirls centered between each of the first 4. Sprinkle the top with golden sprinkles and/or golden yellow sanding sugar. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so to firm up the frosting. Return the cake to the work area; insert one of each size shamrock into each swirl. Cover the cake (preferably under a cake dome) and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes prior to serving.


If you’re short on time and wish to use the shamrocks as decoration, mix in a little bit of gum paste to the fondant or make them entirely from gum paste using the same directions. The addition of gum paste to the fondant (or made entirely from the material) firms and dries quicker allowing the shamrocks to stand up on their own. For a simpler design, the cake also presents beautifully without the shamrocks finished only with the frosting swirls and golden sprinkles on top. For the lined cake pans, brushing the parchment paper using a pastry brush with melted butter makes easier work of greasing the paper—then dust with the cocoa. In the event the baked cakes end up with rounded tops, be sure to trim them level with a sharp knife to facilitate ease of stacking and for overall aesthetic appeal. Chilling the plastic wrapped cakes firms them up making them easier to handle during the assembly.





  1. This cake is adorable Brooks! Love all the shamrocks on top!

  2. I love this, Brooks! Love the cake, love the cake stand, and love the enchanting story the accompanies it. I’m going to have to take the grandbabies outside to look for leprechauns – right after I pick up some gold wrapped chocolate coins. Can’t go out empty handed!

    • Brooks Walker says

      Jeanne, your kind thoughtful words always make me smile―thank you! I hope you and the grandbabies spotted plenty of leprechauns.

  3. I didn’t know that I have to keep my eyes on the leprechaun! That explains why I’m not wealthy by now. 🙂 I love the cake, Brooks, it’s gorgeous. I’d never have the patience or skill to make all those shamrocks though. You are a gifted, gifted man.

    • Brooks Walker says

      Christiane, thank you for the compliments. For the record, my luck with leprechauns can be measured by pennies. Lol!

  4. Great story, yummy cake!

  5. This is a very creative cake / post / complete blog site. I’m impressed by the whole thing Brooks…great job! The cake looks wonderful and its a great story. 🙂

  6. Oh, this is divine! This looks like something I must try. The recipe is great and I loved the picture!!

  7. Robin Benett says



  8. Beautiful cake for us leprechauns! Great photography too!

  9. I just love this cake. It’s perfect for leprechauns and the rest of us too.

    • Brooks Walker says

      As we say in our house Kim, it’s blarney delicious! Thank you for joining me in the hangout.

  10. What an amazing looking cake!

  11. excellent! look nice! nice presentation. 🙂

  12. Brooks,
    Your cake artistry and creative ideas never cease to amaze. Beautiful cake! I didn’t know how to catch a leprechaun, but now I do. I must go buy some foil wrapped chocolate coins:) Wish me IrishLuck!

    • Brooks Walker says

      Thank you, Becky. Your wish is granted! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you & yours.

  13. Brooks, another beauty! Though I won’t be decorating to that level, I will make that cake one day. The frosting sounds delicious, and mint and chocolate are just meant to go together. I have just the thing to go along with your corned beef and cabbage – Waterford Blaas – only just learned about them.

    • Brooks Walker says

      Jean, the lovely compliment is much appreciated! And the Waterford Blaa, I’m grateful for the mention as they are new to me too. Completely intrigued, you know I’ll be researching the rolls and they may just end up on the St. Patrick’s Day table next year (if not sooner). Take care, my friend, and enjoy the holiday today. 🙂

  14. Did you catch one with this marvellous cake? It would be difficult to resist and I’m not even close to being a leprechaun! Making a green cake with appetite appeal is no easy feat but you totally rocked it!

    • Brooks Walker says

      I wish I had, Eva. No such luck―this time! Thank you for the kind words. It’s always a pleasure to have you here.

  15. This is a work of art:) You always give that magical touch to your preparations.. Loved it totally.. I am a beginner level baker and hence your blog is a great resource for me.. Thanks for yet another gorgeous creation:)

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