Wise owl birthday cake

Make this cute and very clever cake to delight a special someone on their birthday
Wise owl birthday cake
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 12-16
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes plus 10 minutes cooling
  • Effort: easy


For the vanilla sponge

  • 350 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 350 g caster sugar
  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 350 g plain flour
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 4-5 tbsp milk, at room temperature

For the chocolate fudge frosting

  • 350 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 225 g unsalted butter
  • 225 ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 450 g icing sugar, sifted

For the decoration

  • chocolate buttons, in different sizes
  • chocolate vermicelli sprinkles
  • 1 flaked chocolate bar
  • 1 toffee-filled chocolate bar

Tips and Suggestions

Variation: to make a chocolate sponge, replace 4 tablespoons of the plain flour with 4 tablespoons of cocoa.


1. For the sponge: preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Grease two 23cm round springform cake tins with butter and line the bases with greased baking parchment.

2. Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale, light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Very gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition and scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula from time to time. Stir in the vanilla extract.

3. Sift together the plain flour and baking powder and add to the cake mixture in two batches, mixing until smooth. Add the milk and mix until smooth.

4. Divide the mixture between the prepared cake tins. Bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack. Turn the cakes the right way up and leave to cool completely.

5. For the frosting: melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barley simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water). Stir until melted and smooth, then set aside to cool slightly.

6. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, vanilla extract and icing sugar until smooth. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Leave the frosting to set and thicken up slightly before use.

7. To decorate: level the tops of the cakes with a sharp knife if necessary. Place one cake on a serving plate or board and spread the cut surface with about 3 tablespoons of frosting. Cover with the other cake layer, cut side down. Cover the top and sides of the whole cake with three-quarters of the remaining frosting, spreading evenly with a palette knife.

8. Arrange the chocolate buttons over the bottom half of the cake to resemble feathers and cover the top half of the cake with chocolate vermicelli. Fit a piping bag with a star nozzle, fill the bag with the remaining frosting and use this to pipe feathers around the owls face.

9. Position assorted chocolate buttons on top of the sprinkles for the eyes. Cut the flaked chocolate bar into thin pieces and push into the bottom edge of the cake to make legs. Cut the toffee bar in half. Slice one half diagonally into 2 pieces for the wings and push one into each side of the owl. Cut the remaining toffee bar at an angle to make a beak and position on the owls face.

Recipe from Birthday Cakes for Kids - by Annie Rigg published by Ryland Peters and Small

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