Presenting the Indiana Jones Birthday Cake…

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Well folks, to make your own Indiana Jones cake start with this:

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Do a little mixing, baking, cooling, crushing, frosting, sprinkling and placing, and get this:

indiana jones temple cake

This cake really was one of the easier ones to make. You can do this, too! Here’s a quick how-to for all you Indiana Jones fans.

You will need:

1 plastic palm tree (These are Playmobil, but you can use any kind of toy you want.)
1 plastic bush
1 Indiana Jones action figure
square cake pan
loaf pan
mini loaf pan
1 dark chocolate cake mix
1 small package chocolate pudding
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 package chocolate chips
1 tub premade chocolate frosting
1 small box Lorna Doon shortbread cookies – on sale this week at CVS for $.99 😉

Completely wash and dry toys. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray all three pans with non-stick cooking spray. In large mixing bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, oil, water, and vanilla. Mix well for several minutes using electric mixer. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour evenly into pans. Bake for 20-35 minutes, keep checking for doneness. Cool cakes completely.*

Place square cake on serving platter and frost top. Cut off about 1 inch from the end of the loaf cake to make it the same size as the square cake. Place smaller piece in front of square cake for a “step.” Place loaf cake on top of square cake near the back edge. Frost the top. Place mini loaf atop the regular loaf. Frost the entire thing. Let the kids each eat a shortbread cookie. Reserve one cookie for a “bridge” and then place the rest in a plastic bag. Seal bag and crush cookies with rolling pin. Sprinkle cookie crumbs all over surface of cakes.

Place palm tree, bush, and action figure. Watch your child’s face light up. I didn’t show him the toy until he saw it on the cake so he was super-excited. He rushed all over the house, shouting, “Guys! Guys! Come see ma cake!” (We live in Kansas; he has a little twang.)

*This cake recipe is one that I originally found in a community cookbook about 12 years ago. I think it’s been in circulation for quite some time. A version of it is available in The Cake Mix Doctor, entitled “Darn Good Chocolate Cake.”

Updated: One of my readers added a great embellishment: a grey-frosted popcorn ball to “chase” Indy out of the temple. Excellent! Got another great idea? Share it with all us Indiana Jones fans!

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  1. I made your awesome cake for my 5 yr old, Finn (I call him Finn-diana Jones) last year and it was AMAZING. In fact, I had to make it twice because the night before the party my dear husband came home w/the stomach flu and I had to cancel the party I’d been spending every waking hour on. We had it a month later so…voila, another Indy cake. I can’t believe how good it was and how easy it was to make–my first time. Everyone was impressed! I am using the recipe for this year’s party on Friday: Pirate Party. Since this one was so easy I either have convinced myself I can make a pirate/treasure island cake or I really will be able to pull it off. Thanks again–I lost the recipe for the cake and just found your site again today after Googling “super easy indiana jones cake”–voila!

    1. Fun! Thanks for sharing your story. There are about three different pirate cakes on this site. Have you seen them?

      1. I did not! I clicked on “cakes” but only saw reference to your book? (Not that I don’t want you to earn money off your book, but I got a party to put on in 2 days! 😉

  2. so cool!! i love it and i’m going to try and make an Indiana Jones cake similar to this! thanks for the inspiration !

  3. I am not quite getting how all the different cakes line up from your post. Does your ebook show more detail or is it the same post here???

    1. @Stacy, I don’t think I understand your question. My ebook has more detailed instructions than each individual post. And some cakes from the book are not on the blog other than a photo. Does that help?

    2. OK, I reread it. You’ve got your square cake as the base. Then you’re going to cut the loaf pan to be the same width and that acts as the next step up. Does that help? Sorry for my confusion!

  4. Love this idea! I'm not a baking wiz so I have a question. Does this recipe make good cupcakes? My son wants cupcakes so I'd like to make the mountain out of cupcakes. What is the baking time on cupcakes? Thanks!!

  5. I’m so thrilled I found your site….my son is turning 7 in 12 days and has been begging for me to make him an Indiana Jones cake and I “googled” Indiana Jones cakes and was brought to your site.

    What a find! Thanks for sharing this!! I hope mine turns out half as nice as yours turned out.

    The internet is an amazing thing! Have a great day!
    Kimmie from Idaho

  6. Thanks so much for posting this! My son’s b-day is tomorrow and he wants an Indiana Jones cake. I bought the action figure today and then googled tonight and found your wonderful instructions! James will be very excited! – Holly from Atlanta

  7. Thank you so much for this cake idea … I was at a loss when my 8 year old asked for an Indy party, I was desperate and almost paid $25 for a DQ cake with a picture of Indy on top until I saw your idea. Here’s what else we did: my son made menus for each guest, we had “monkey brain soup (cherry jello with gummy bears),” jungle cake and spicy hot tea (what Indy drinks in Egypt). For a craft we made daggers from cereal boxes and covered them with aluminum foil. I had always wanted to try fondant so I used chocolate fondant on each layer, it looked great covered with Oreo and shortbread crumbles! Thanks so much for the idea!

  8. Hello, I was wondering how do you dye a popcorn ball to grey? I’m making this cake for my son’s 5th birthday next week and thought the idea of the popcorn ball to be great, but am clueless on how to do that. Any help I would appreciate!!! (you can email me at [email protected]) Thanks!!!!

  9. Thanks for that super cool cake. My oldest has said he wants an IJ birthday this year so I will probably be copying this in October

  10. Thanks for the instructions! I made this cake for my son’s 5th birthday. He loved it. I also put fake snakes (from the dollar store) on the tables and the kids loved them!

  11. If I can pull this off, I’m sure to achieve hero status on my 8 year old’s birthday!

  12. Mommagurl32, great cakes! WOW! I’m sorry that those pics didn’t make it to my inbox. Very cool. Thanks for sharing them!

  13. Loved this cake and have just made it for my son’s 7th birthday. I had a lot of difficutly finding a plastic palm tree. I improvised by using a Pirouette cookie for the trunk of the tree. Then I took the leaves from the greenery you find in rose bouquets and taped individual fronds to a toothpick. Once I had 3-4 fronds taped together, I inserted the toothpick into the end of the cookie and had a very cool palm tree.

  14. I hope y’all know that I meant “tweaked” in a good way. In other words, Skicow, thanks for sharing your great adaptation! 😉

  15. I hope y’all know that I meant “tweaked” in a good way. In other words, Skicow, thanks for sharing your great adaptation! 😉

  16. Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it for my stepson’s 8th birthday and it was a huge hit. I modified the decorating a bit. I dyed a popcorn ball grey and put it on the second layer as a “giant rock”. Indiana Jones was running from it as he does at the beginning of Raiders. He loved it!!

  17. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I woke up early this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep because I was stressing out about coming up with a good Indiana Jones cake for my 6 year old’s birthday in 4 days. I have the Cake Mix Doctor, and Darn Good Chocolate Cake is his favorite (he even requested it for his party last year). We also have the Playmobile trees, so this is so perfect. He is going to be blown away!

  18. Your cake turned out great! I’m glad to see that you found your Indiana Jones cereal. I thought of you today when I saw it in the store and hoped that you had been able to find it! Your birthday boy must have been thrilled! 🙂

  19. That cake looks fabulous! I’ve never thought about making theme cakes before, except one time I made a carosel cake for my 3 yr old’s B-day… and I put Little Einstein figurines on it like they were “riding” it, and he loved his cake more than any thing else he got the whole day! I need to remember how the little things can be very special to my little ones with just a little effort and planning. I’m glad you wrote how you did it… I wouldn’t have ever thought to do a cake that way. Very cool. 🙂

  20. I actually am familiar with Kit because one of her books was part of our history curriculum last year Kit’s World, I think, talking about the 1930s.

    Anyway, the first thing that comes to mind is an old-fashioned radio cake. I would stack two loaf cakes (with a skewer or cake dowel through the middle so they don’t topple) and then put half a bundt cake over the top for the dome shape. Then, you could frost it chocolate (of course!) and embellish it with different candies for knobs and buttons and the speaker screen.

    If you don’t want to be 3D, you could do a square cake and a half circle lying down. Either way, it would be cool, esp if there’s a radio as part of the “mystery.” Whatever you do, I’d love to see a picture!

  21. Yes, we love “Darn Good Chocolate Cake” too! Very cool!

    Any ideas on some girl cakes? Amy is having a Kit Mystery party next month. (From American girl) It’s ’30s theme.