CocoCakeLand inspired cat cake

 

IMG_9444We moved house! That was cool. I am still the most excited about having a garden but the extra space to have guests {and them not have to sleep on the floor} is really nice.

It’s taken a little while as usual to get into my baking groove – making friends with a new oven can be stressful but this one seems nice enough. All of my baking stuff is hanging out in our spare room as there’s not really room for it in our kitchen, but that’s fine, it’s nice that it’s not all crammed in the back of a cupboard and I can just bring through what I need when I need it. IMG_9442I’ve made bread a couple of times since we moved and even went on an excellent beginners’ bread making course last month {may share some recipes here if I bake them again!}.

It was time to flex my birthday cake-making muscles last week though. I have followed Lyndsay and her blog at CocoCakeLand for years now and love her style – she totally owns the furry animal cake scene. I came across a picture of her rainbow caticorn cake recently and immediately sent it to a friend, who agreed that it would be perfect for our other friend’s birthday. IMG_9438I had to order the #234 piping tip as guidance on Lyndsay’s post and elsewhere on the Internet told me that the #233 grass tip {the one that you can readily find in shops} was going to be too small, and I was only going to end up with buttercream spaghetti that way.IMG_9441I took the afternoon off work last Friday to put together and ice this and ended up missing my train by an hour {whoops – all in the name of cake}. It made me realise how much I dislike rushing this sort of thing. I will endeavour to give myself enough time in the future!

CocoCakeLand inspired furry cat cake

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Notes

  • I ran out of buttercream to do the sides of the cake in ‘fur’, as well as the top. In retrospect this was probably a good thing as the cake was definitely sweet enough for me.
  • I had intended to use Swiss Meringue Buttercream to ice this cake as it’s less sweet than conventional buttercream but was caught out by time/stress
  • I baked the cake in 3 x 8″ (20cm) circular tins
  • The cake recipe is from Cupcake Jemma’s recipe book
  • All credit is due to Lyndsay Sung of CocoCakeLand – I used this post of hers to guide and inspire me
  • Instead of the plain flour and baking powder, you can use 375g self-raising flour
  • I wanted something really fresh and tangy in the centre of the cake to cut through the buttercream. I was hoping Sainsbury’s would do a passionfruit curd – the closest I got was a mango and passionfruit coulis which worked really nicely {but was more runny than a curd would have been, so I had to use the ‘damming’ method}

Ingredients

 Vanilla cake:

  • 375g unsalted butter, softened
  • 375g caster sugar
  • 6 eggs {room temp.}
  • 19g baking powder
  • 356g plain flour
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 4.5 tbsp. milk

Filling:

  • Pre-made mango and passionfruit coulis {or another fruity curd/coulis}

Buttercream:

  • 520g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 kg icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Decoration:

  • Gel food colouring in blue, yellow, purple and red
  • Fondant {white, black and pink – or alternatively, white fondant plus black and red food colouring}
  • Piping bags x2 {biodegradable or reusable ones!}
  • #234 piping tip

Method

Vanilla Cake:

Preheat your oven to 170*C and grease/line 3 x 20cm cake tins.

Beat together the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Whilst the mixture is beating, weigh out the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk together, and crack your eggs into a separate bowl.

Add the eggs into the butter/sugar mixture one by one, beating after each addition, until each egg is incorporated.

If the mixture starts to curdle, spoon in some of your flour.

Once all of the eggs are incorporated, sieve in the remaining flour/baking powder mixture and fold through gently.

Finally, mix in the vanilla and milk.

Divide the cake mixture between the three tins and bake them for approx. 25 minutes, until the cakes are lightly golden, coming away from the sides of the tin, and an inserted skewer or toothpick comes out clean.

Leave to cool until you can handle the tins, and then remove the cakes from them. Leave to cool completely.

Buttercream:

Beat the butter for around 5 minutes until it’s really pale – scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure it’s all whipped up.

Sieve in the icing sugar and slowly mix {start by hand, or drape a tea towel over the mixer to avoid redecorating your walls}. Once it’s incorporated, add the vanilla and beat on medium-high for a couple of minutes. Add a pinch of salt if you like, to counteract the sweetness.

Assembly:

Optional: trim off the top and sides of the cake using a serrated knife. This gets rid of the caramelisation and dry bits, making the cake layers uniform in colour when you cut into the cake. I use a saucepan lid that is slightly smaller than 20cm in diameter to cut around.

Put a smidge of buttercream onto the middle of your cake board or serving plate. Put the first layer on top.

Spread a thin layer of buttercream on top of the first layer. With some buttercream in a piping bag, pipe a dam of buttercream around the edge, making sure there are no breaks. Spoon coulis into the centre.

Position the next cake layer on top and repeat.

Coat the entire cake in a thin layer of buttercream. This will get messy and crumby but that’s the point, so embrace it. Put the cake into the fridge to chill.

Decoration:

Dye your fondant with food colouring if necessary. Cut out 2 large black circles {I used a pepper mill!}, 2 large white circles, 2 small white circles {I used a piping tip}, a small pink triangle, and two white triangular chunks. Roll any excess black fondant into thin sausages to make whiskers. Set aside.

Divide your remaining buttercream into four separate bowls/containers and dye your desired colours. I went for more of a pastel colour scheme rather than a bright rainbow, but you do you, boo.

Spread small splodges of each colour onto the sides of the cake and use a palette knife to smooth out. Be careful not to blend the colours too much as the whole cake will end up a murky shade of grey-brown.

Put your piping tip into your piping bag and spoon the remaining buttercream into it. Aim to spread one colour into each ‘corner’ of the bag.

Pipe ‘fur’ all over the top of the cake, stopping to push a toothpick through the holes of the tip if they’re getting clogged. When you have good coverage, arrange the fondant facial features on top, securing with a bit more buttercream if necessary. Pipe more fur over and behind the ears.

 

 

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