Birthday Cakes: Animals
You’ve run out of ribbon you’ve forgotten the party bags, and you only have a couple of hours until twenty-eight noisy children descend on the house for a birthday party. And what about the birthday cake?!
Don’t worry: even novice cake bakers can put together an impressive cake – all it takes is a quick shopping trip. If you need inspiration, look no further. From a ten-minute caterpillar to a carrot-filled Rabbit, we’ve got ideas to thrill the kids – and the grown-ups!
The Very Easy CaterpillarA no-cook birthday cake for artistic types…
- First, make some Butter Icing (beat 150g softened butter with 1tbsp milk, and slowly sift in 300g icing sugar until spreadable). Add a few drops of green food colouring to achieve a soft green colour.
- Next, take a shop-bought Swiss Roll, and cut cross-ways into 5cm-chunks.
- Using a foil-covered cake board as a base, arrange the pieces of roll to create a twisting caterpillar shape.
- When you’re happy with the design, lift each piece, one at a time, and attach to the board with a little butter icing.
- Now spread butter icing over the entire cake, making sure there are no gaps (the icing helps to keep the cake moist).
- Put extra icing on each end, and coax into a rounded shape. Using a knife, gently mark rings on the caterpillar from top to bottom. This is your basic caterpillar shape; the decorations are flexible!
- Snap chocolate mint Matchmakers into small pieces and stick them into the cake along the bottom to create ‘legs’. To make eyes, use two white chocolate buttons with edible silver balls stuck in the centre. If your board looks a bit empty, make some leaves using fondant icing which you’ve coloured with green.
- Add flowers made from jelly orange and lemon slices. Finally, slit the caterpillar’s head to create a ‘mouth’ and tuck in a ‘leaf’, so he’ll have something to munch during the night!
Frosty North Pole SceneYou can include as many animals as you like on this cake. Marshmallow polar bears, fondant penguins and snow hares scamper merrily across a snowy landscape!
- Bake two square Chocolate Cakes, and cover one with white butter icing – set it on a cake board to act as your base.
- Use the second to build a small igloo: cut into small squares, and assemble brick-by-brick, finally coating the entire igloo with white butter icing.
- Before the icing dries, sprinkle desiccated coconut over the scene, resembling freshly-fallen snow.
- Finally, add your cast of Northern characters. Make penguins and snow hares from small pieces of black- and white-dyed fondant, and polar bears from marshmallows (held together with cocktail sticks). If you don’t have the time or inclination to fashion these intricate models, you’ll easily find snow trucks and sugar penguins in toy and cake shops.
A Carrot-Flavoured BunnyHere’s a birthday cake for the health-conscious!
- Start with a double batch of Carrot Cake mix – bake one in a 20cm round tin, and one in a 20x20cm tin.
- When they’re cool, set the round cake onto a foil-covered board, leaving plenty of space for ears at the top.
- Cut two rabbit ears (one 20cm, one 15cm with 5cm flopping over) and a 5cm circle from your square cake. Use uncoloured butter icing to attach the ears to the board at the top of the round cake.
- Next, cover your bunny with the same butter icing or (if confident) fondant or royal icing for a smooth finish. Cover the smaller circle of cake, too.
- Now attach it to the lower half of the bunny’s face using butter icing. Take a small piece of fondant icing and colour it with pink food colouring. This will be the bunny’s nose – roll into a flat oval shape and stick it to the small circle.
- Roll another piece of plain fondant to a 5mm thickness. Cut out two ovals (for eyes) and two small rectangles (for buck teeth). Stick the eyes (using chocolate buttons for pupils) above the small cake, and the teeth right beneath it.
- Take another piece of fondant icing and colour it with orange food icing, then fashion into ‘carrot’ shapes. Bundle these together and stick a small stem of fresh dill in the top, then place the bunch on the board beside your bunny.