Mary Poppins' Zodiac Cake Recipe | PBS Food

Mary Poppins Zodiac Cake

Mary Poppins Zodiac Cake recipe

Adapted from Mary Poppins in the Kitchen by P.L. Travers


Cook time: 25-30 Minutes

Yield: One 10-11 inch round, single layer cake


  • Cake Ingredients:
  • 2 squares semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground nuts (walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts - I used hazelnuts)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Silver sprinkles (optional)
  • Chocolate Frosting Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 ½ - 4 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease the cake pan with butter and flour it. Shake out the excess flour. You can also use non-stick cooking spray if you’d prefer.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl standing in hot water. This can also be done in the microwave by heating the chocolate in 15 second intervals, stirring in between.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar till well combined. Add the egg yolk and beat harder. Add the melted chocolate and ground nuts and mix until just combined. Stir the vanilla into the milk. Add some of the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture. Pour in some of the milk mixture, a little more flour and then some more milk, till both have been used up. Beat very thoroughly.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg white till stiff. Fold gently into the batter. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 -30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake or it will become dry.
  5. To make chocolate frosting: In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa, set aside. In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth, then beat in the cream cheese. Blend in vanilla. Gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with milk, starting with 3 ½ tbsp of milk. Beat until light, fluffy and spreadable. If necessary, adjust consistency with more milk or sugar.
  6. Once your cake has cooled, you can frost it. Start by placing the frosting onto the center of the cake and spreading evenly outward. I prefer to do this with a flat butter knife, while others prefer a spatula. Use whichever utensil you're most comfortable with.
  7. Once your cake has been frosted, it's time to decorate! Mary Poppins decorates this cake with silver stars. I did this by using a star cookie cutter and some silver sprinkles. Set the cookie cutter onto the frosting, wherever you'd like. Then fill in by spooning in the sprinkles with a small measuring spoon. Gently lift the cookie cutter away and you'll be left with a perfect silver star shape. Decorate your cake with as many stars as you'd like. Serve with tea or coffee. Due to the milk and cream cheese in the frosting, if you do not plan to eat your cake within 3 hours, refrigerate to prevent spoilage.


You will also need: Mixing bowls, stand mixer, hand mixer, sifter, 10-11 inch round cake pan, mixing bowls, nonstick cooking spray, star cookie cutter (optional)