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Make an Empty Tomb Cake for Easter

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Decorating an empty tomb cake for Easter is a fun tradition for both kids and adults. Celebrate that He is risen in a very tangible way.

empty tomb cake with figures of women and soldier

Are you looking for a fun and tangible way to teach your children about Christ’s resurrection? There are lots of fun crafts and Easter projects out there. 

My personal favorite is the Empty Tomb Cake.

It was March of 2010 when I first shared this Empty Tomb Cake with the interwebs. Since then it’s been a yearly tradition as part of our family’s Easter celebrations. 

Thanks to the novelty and creativity of historically themed Playmobil, my kids and I have been able to create diorama-style cakes for a number of occasions. Decorating cakes with Playmobil is super fun!

decorated empty tomb cake with candy rocks and plastic soldiers

After several years of placing only the Roman guards on the cake, a few years ago we took a new turn. My youngest daughter, then 6, asked where the women were.

You see, we’d been reading through the gospels and watching the Bible TV program, but I wasn’t sure she was listening. When I told her we were going to make the cake, she said we needed the women.

Stopped me in my tracks, I tell ya. She was listening, indeed.

Yes, yes, we did need the women.

Here’s last year’s cake: carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (my favorite cake!), chopped almonds for the rocks, one Roman guard and the Marys. My carrot cake recipe is larger than a cake mix yields, thus the larger pan.

empty tomb cake with plastic women and soldier

Clearly the Empty Tomb cake is free form, allowing you to mix and match your frostings, toppings, and characters. You could very easily add Joanna, Peter, John, the angel, or even the resurrected Jesus, depending on the toys you have on hand.

Make an Empty Tomb Cake for Easter.

The Empty Tomb Cake is a fun tradition to add to your Easter celebration. Here’s how to make it.

To create your own Empty Tomb Cake, you will need:

How to make an Empty Tomb cake:

The process for making this cake is pretty simple. Divide your cake batter into a small oven-proof bowl and a square or rectangular baking pan. You’ll need to pay close attention to the baking times as they will vary with odd shaped pans. Just check every 5 to 10 minutes to make sure you don’t burn your cakes.

Cool the cakes completely on wire racks before you add the frosting and decor.

round cake stacked on square cake

Place the square cake on a cake board or serving tray. Adhere the small domed cake on top with a little frosting.

Carve out a small section in the round bowl. Frost both cakes.

frosted cake with toys and candy rocks nearby

Add rocks, plastic trees, and shrubs, Roman soldiers, and cookie. Make sure to let your kids help if they are interested.

decorated cake with candy rocks and soldiers

 If you prefer, you can omit the soldiers or add the women who went to the tomb the next day. Or mix and match your people. It really all depends on what toys you have on hand. 

It goes without saying, wash the toys before you put them on your cake!

women going to the tomb with soldier nearby

If you make the Empty Tomb Cake this year or have done in the past, I’d love for you to leave a starred review below.

Empty Tomb Cake
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 

Baking and decorating an empty tomb cake is a great Easter tradition to observe. It’s fun to make, delicious to eat, and a great reminder that He is risen, indeed!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, easter cake, empty tomb cake, resurrection cake
Servings: 12
Author: Jessica Fisher
Ingredients
  • one boxed cake mix prepared according to package directions or your favorite cake batter
  • frosting of your choice buttercream tinted it with a few Tablespoons of cocoa works well
  • one large cookie
Optional decorations
  • brown sugar or brown sprinkles
  • cookie or cracker crumbs
  • milk chocolate rocks
  • chopped nuts
  • plastic toys to represent Roman guards and/or Hebrew women
  • plastic toy trees and shrubs
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a small Pyrex bowl and an 8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray. 

  2. Fill the bowl about half full with cake batter. Pour the remaining batter into the square pan. Bake the square pan for about 25 minutes and small bowl for about 35. Check every 5-10 minutes for doneness, especially if you are using different size pans. Cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on rack.

  3. Place the cooled square cake on a cake board or serving tray. Adhere the small bowl-shaped cake on top of the square cake with a little frosting.

  4. Carve out a small section in the round bowl cake. Set aside. Frost both cakes.
  5. Add rocks, plastic trees, and shrubs to the cake. Add Roman soldiers, Hebrew women, and/or other action figures. Use the cookie or the reserved section of cake as the stone to block the tomb.

 

Empty Tomb Cake | Life as Mom

Originally published March 31, 2010.

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36 Comments

  1. Love your Resurrection Cake! My son doesn’t have any Playmobile sets yet…but your various cakes utilizing Playmobile pieces make me want to buy a few sets for him!:)

  2. My kids and I made this today. What a great idea! We could not find rock candy, so we used whole Whoppers and broken up pieces of Whoppers. Thanks for sharing this. Very very easy and fun!

    1. So glad it worked for you and that you were able to improvise. Some Walmarts carry the candy rocks.

  3. The kids and I made this cake after Easter services this morning! It helped to keep our focus on our Risen Savior instead of on eggs, bunnies and candy! Thank you for sharing your creative ideas! I love your blog!

  4. Just finished mine! I’m emailing you a picture because i had SO MUCH FUN making it!! It’s a surprise for the kiddos tomorrow morning! I even made a little toothpick sign next to the angel to have him saying, “He is not here! He is risen!” 🙂
    Thanks so much, Jessica!

  5. Oh- and I’m taking the finished product to our Easter breakfast at church with the Scripture passage printed out to sit next to it Matthew 28:2-7. And hubby just got some gauze out of the first aid kit to lay in the “tomb”!!
    Did i mention how much FUN this was??!!

  6. Enjoyed making this cake with my girls this weekend. It was a hit at our family Easter dinner and brought out a lot of great conversation with our 5 and 7 yr. old. Thank you so much for sharing your idea. I think this one may become a tradition for us.

    1. I love it! The Mary and angel are great additions. So clever! Thanks for making it public so I can share with the world. 😉

  7. I am so glad I found this. I knew when I saw it on Pinterest. I had to make it.
    I’m trying to figure out a way I can link you the picture, mine turned out so cute. I luckily found chocolate rocks, at five below (like a dollar store) and they were absolutely the best part. I also used a chocolate cross and a big round of Mexican chocolate (Ibarra) for the stone. My church school 4th graders are gonna love this tomorrow. Thank you so much for this creative idea!!

  8. Oh my I love this cake! We make our annual bunny cake each year but this is so much better. Thank you very much for posting!!

  9. Love it! Can’t wait until Easter to make it for my family, and maybe one for playgroup too!

  10. I started making this cake a few years ago when I saw it posted here. Love it, and it’s not even hard to make (and I am no cake decorator). I pinned it to my Easter Board and it has been repinned many times. May be becoming tradition for many families! Just one of the many great ideas I have learned from you:)

  11. This is so beautiful in appearance and in meaning, Jessica. Thank You! The children will be here for Easter; I would like to try this!! I appreciate the step-by-step directions!

  12. Thank you for introducing the empty tomb cake to our family. Every year since 2011, I have made it. The family loves the tradition. He is Risen!