Last year my daughter Lauren wanted a tiered parcel cake for her birthday, this year it was an owl cake! We had fun making this together and despite it looking complicated to do, with a long list of instructions, it is in fact, pretty easy!
Chocolate sponges (see recipe below)
Chocolate buttercream (see recipe below)
A few round ice cream cones (you only need 2 for the cake but have a few spare in case of breakages as they are very fragile!) for the owl’s ears and wings
Some ready made fondant icing for the owl’s feet
25g white chocolate for the owl’s eyes
225g chocolate buttons – white or milk choc for the ‘feathers’ and ‘eyeballs’
INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHOCOLATE SPONGE
This is quite a light chocolate sponge which is ideal for a child’s birthday cake however you could use your favourite chocolate sponge recipe. You need enough mixture to fill a 600ml and a 900ml pudding basin.
- 300g self raising flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- 350g softened butter
- 350g caster sugar
- 6 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 180C/GM4
- Line the base of the pudding basins with baking paper and grease the sides with a little butter
- Beat together the softened butter and the caster sugar until light and fluffy
- Sift together the flour and cocoa powder in a separate bowl
- Add the eggs, one at a time, with some of the flour/cocoa and beat well. Repeat until all the eggs and flour/cocoa have been added and the mixture is smooth and well blended
- Divide the mixture between the two pudding bowls and smooth the top level with a spatula
- Bake in the oven until the cakes are well risen and spring back when pressed lightly. The smaller one takes on average 25-30 minutes and the larger one 35-45 minutes but it does depend on your oven.
- Turn out, remove the baking paper and leave to get cold on a wire rack
Once cold you need to slice each cake into 2 equal parts so you end up with 4 large ‘slices’ overall.
Now you need to fill and cover the cake with chocolate buttercream:
INGREDIENTS FOR CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder
- 4 tbsp boiling water
- 200g soft butter
- 450g icing sugar
- Blend the cocoa with the boiling water
- Cream the butter and half of the icing sugar until soft and fluffy. TOP TIP: Place a clean teatowel over the mixer and bowl whilst whisking – this will save your kitchen being covered in a white icing sugar dust!!
- Gradually add the remaining icing sugar, then beat in the cocoa paste
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
Take the 4 ‘slices’ of the chocolate sponge. The cake works better if you sandwich the base of the ‘large basin’ sponge and the base of the ‘small basin’ sponge together with buttercream to make the owls body and use the tops to make the head. It is probably easier to understand what I mean if I give a diagram. You will need to trim the sponges to make a smooth shape.
Once the sponges have been trimmed to make the owl shape, cover with buttercream, reserving about 4 tbsp for the ears and wings.
TO MAKE THE EARS AND WINGS
Cut one of the ice cream cones in half and discard the larger end. With a sharp knife you now need to cut the cone into 2 along it’s seam to make 2 pointed ear shapes. Cover these with buttercream. You now have 2 ears. Secure these to the top of the owl with some extra buttercream.
Take another ice cream cone and this time cut the small tip end off and then cut into 2 along it’s seam to make 2 wing shapes. Cover these with buttercream and fix to the sides of the owl once you have positioned the chocolate button ‘feathers’.
TO MAKE THE EYES
Melt the white chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water. Stir until smooth. ( Do not allow the bowl to touch the hot water otherwise the chocolate will go all grainy.)
Draw 2 oval shapes onto baking paper then turn over the paper so that you will not get lead pencil on the chocolate but you can still see the shape through the paper.
Spread the white chocolate to the shape of the ovals and place a chocolate button in each to make the eyes. Make sure you put the chocolate button in the same position so that the eyes look the same way. Cool in the fridge until set.
TO MAKE THE BEAK AND FEET
Shape some fondant icing in the shape of a beak and cover in buttercream.
Shape some fondant icing in the shape of 2 claws. The easiest way to do this is to take a small ball of icing then pinch the middle to form a V shape then pinch either side to make 2 more small V shapes so you end up with a shape like this:
Place a row of chocolate buttons around the base of the owl and then place another row above so that the buttons just overlap. Continue with rows until the whole owl is covered except the face area.
Carefully lift the white chocolate eyes from the paper and position in place with some buttercream. Do the same for the beak. Now fix on the wings on top of the chocolate buttons at the sides of the owl.
Place the claws in the front of the owl and Voila! an Ozzie the Owl Cake.