• Big bang birthday cake (Chris Middleton)Source: Chris Middleton

What better time for rainbow-coloured excess than a birthday?




Skill level

Average: 5 (2 votes)


  • 625 ml (21 oz/2½ cups) milk 
  • 150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) vanilla instant cake mix 
  • 4 scoops vanilla ice cream 


Monster your shake 

  • buttercream frosting (see note) 
  • rainbow sprinkles, for decorating 
  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream 
  • vanilla bean whipped cream (see note)
  • 4 mini confetti cupcakes (see note)
  • coloured popcorn and cotton candy, for decorating 

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make the shake, combine the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and combined. 

Using a spatula, smear the frosting around the outer rim of each glass then decorate with the sprinkles. Gently pour in the shake and top with a scoop of ice cream. 

Using a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle, cover the shakes with a generous swirl of whipped cream. 

Push the cupcakes onto skewers and stick into the shake. Pile with a mound of coloured popcorn and decorate with cotton candy. 



•  To make buttercream frosting, place 125 g (4½ oz/½ cup) softened unsalted butter in a medium-sized bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on high for 5 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in 92 g (3¼ oz/¾ cups) sifted icing sugar and 2 tablespoons milk, then another 92 g (3¼ oz/¾ cups) sifted icing sugar. Beat for 4 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container. This frosting will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. 


•  For the vanilla bean whipped cream, place 300 ml (10 oz) thickened cream in a medium-sized bowl along with 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste and 2 tablespoons icing (confectioners’) sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium for 3–4 minutes until the cream is fluffy and holds soft peaks. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container. This whipped cream will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.

•  For the mini cupcakes, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Lightly grease a 25–30-hole mini-muffin pan, or line with cupcake liners. Combine the 185 ml (6 oz/3⁄4 cup) buttermilk, 1 egg and125 ml (4 oz/½ cup) vegetable oil in a jug and set aside. Sift 220 g (8 oz/1½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour into a large mixing bowl and add 145 g (2⁄3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk mixture, stirring until just combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin holes, filling each to about two-thirds full. Bake for 20 mins for regular-sized cupcakes or 8–10 minutes for mini, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 2 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. ice the cooled mini cupcakes with buttercream frosting and decorate with rainbow sprinkles. 

This recipe is from Monster Shakes (Smith Street Books). Photography by Chris Middleton.