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How to make
our owl cakes
- 375g margarine
- 375g caster sugar
- 375g self raising flour
- 6 eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
BASE COAT OF ICING
(known as a crumb coat)
- 125g softened butter
- 200g icing sugar
- 50g cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp strawberry jam
- 1kg of ready-to-roll white icing
- Brown food colouring
- 500g of ready-to-roll green icing and other colours of your choosing
- 14'' Round Cake Drum
1. Start by baking two globes of sponge of different sizes. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4 (160°C for fan assisted oven) and grease the two tins (we used Cake Release, Ref 4198, £3.99).
2. Cream the margarine and sugar together until pale and light. Gradually add the eggs and the flour until all combined and thoroughly blended.
3. Divide the mixture between the tins and level out. Bake the medium tin for 65 to 75 minutes and the individual tin for 25 to 30 minutes, or until well risen and the top of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed or a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Top tip, we used cooking rings to ensure the tins were kept level in the oven.
4. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins. Once cool, cut the excess off to make the cakes level, then turn out onto a wire rack.
5. Repeat steps 3 – 4 to make another two hemispheres of sponge.
6. Cover your cake drum (we used our 14” Round Cake Drum, Ref 0152, £2.89) with a flat layer of icing to create either green grass or a dark blue night sky. Then start to create the branches by rolling a large sausage shape out of brown icing, so it covers the width of your cake drum. Flatten the shape with your hands and mark a wood effect using a craft knife, add some smaller ones in the same way. To stick the branches to the board, use a small paint brush and dab a little cool boiled water under your branches, leave to harden.
7. Sandwich the two halves of each cake together using a jam centre, then prepare your base coat of icing. Start by mixing your softened butter with half of the icing sugar until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat until the mixture is creamy in texture. Spread a thin layer of your icing over the entire surface of your cakes. This acts as a crumb coat which helps to trap all the loose crumbs onto the surface of your cakes, leaving a smooth finish. Once you have completely covered your cakes, place in the fridge to set.
8. Once completely cool, start to cover your cakes with the first layer of icing. Knead your icing until it is soft, then add your food colouring, continue to knead until all the colour is combined. Roll the icing out onto your work surface dusted with icing sugar to a thickness of 5mm and ensure it is big enough to be divided and cover both of your cakes. Place over each cake and start smoothing the icing with the palm of your hand gently going down the sides of each cake, keep smoothing until both cakes are completely covered.
9. You can then start to make the owls’ chests, prepare some more brown icing, and roll to a thickness of 5mm, once ready you can start to make some small circles. Top tip, you can always use an icing nozzle to cut out the small circles. Stick your circles on to the owls in a triangular fashion using a dab of cool boiled water on each circle, leave to dry. Cover your owls in a second layer of icing, following the same procedure as step 8, but this time cut a triangle from the front of the icing to reveal the circles.
10. Next cut some feet from your coloured icing and place on the branch you’d like your owls to sit. You can then stick your owls to the branch, using a little royal icing to secure each owl.
11. Finally once your owls are secure, add the finishing touches. Cut out your eyes, wings, ears and some leaves, from your various colours of icing and stick on to your owls and branches using a little cool boiled water.