I’ve recently started an animal cake series, and am finally getting around to sharing the recipes! The first cake I made was an adorable little pig, which I decided to name Penelope. I used a vanilla cake base, pink buttercream, and added some chocolate ganache and chocolate bits between the layers, because pigs can be a bit dirty!! The recipe and instructions can be found below:
Vanilla Cake Batter:
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)
- 3/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 tsp. vegetable oil
- 2 drops pink gel food coloring
- 1/2 cup chocolate ganache (optional for filling)
- 1/2 cup chopped chocolate (optional for filling)
- 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
- 2 tsp vanilla
- pink fondant (1/2 pound)
- black fondant (1/4 pound)
- parchment paper
- cylindrical object for tail
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 6″ round pans.
Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.Mix chunks of butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (vanilla extract, egg whites, buttermilk, and vegetable oil), and whisk to combine. On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.Mix in the remaining wet ingredients in two installments, on a medium-high speed until fully incorporated. Add in gel food coloring, and mix until batter is evenly colored.
Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.
While the layers bake, make the fondant cake decorations. Roll out pink fondant and black fondant to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out an oval shape for the snout using pink fondant, and add two small black circle for the nostrils. Use black fondant to also make small circles for the eyes. For the ears, cut out 2 fondant squares, that are 1.5 in. x 1.5 inches. Pull two of the corners diagonally into the center of the square, and seal the together with a bit of water (I used a light wet, very small paint brush). Cut off excess fondant on the bottom, and insert two toothpicks into each ear. For the tail, roll out a long strip of pink fondant, and wrap it in a spiral around a small cylindrical object (I used a thin bottle). Place prepared fondant onto parchment paper to allow it to firm.
Next, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with cream, adding 1 tablespoon at a time. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. Mix in the single drop of pink gel food coloring (I wanted the frosting to be a pale pink, and found that one drop was plenty)until the frosting is uniformly colored. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
To assemble the cake, frost each cake layer with buttercream, adding ganache and chopped up chocolate chunks between each layer. Repeat with all cake layers, then apply a crumb coat. Freeze cake for 5 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set, then use remaining frosting to add a second layer of frosting. Smooth with a bench scrapper. Secure fondant accents to the cake using buttercream and/or toothpicks.