This week I’m making a chicken birthday cake to continue my animal cake series!
Easter is just around the corner and it’s finally starting to feel like spring, so I figured a little spring chicken cake was fitting.
Making the Face for this Little Chicken Cake
While I’m always team buttercream, there are some situations where using a bit of fondant just makes sense.
We’ve already put so much energy into making the cake layers and buttercream from scratch, a tiny but of fondant never hurt anyone.
Small circle cutters help you to get the shape of the eyes and ears just right, and I love the adorable expression they give this cake. I free-handed the beak, feet and comb and used a small sharp knife to cut them.
Substitutions and Swaps – Fluffy Coconut Cake Layers
This chicken birthday cake uses quite a few ingredients and I know you might not have them all on hand. Or if you have food allergies or restrictions, I’ve got you covered.
Below are some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this cake recipe.
- Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand, you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. Just be sure to omit the salt! You can also use vegan butter in its place.
- Granulated Sugar – I do not recommend reducing the amount of sugar or changing the type of sugar, as it will change the texture of the cake layers.
- Egg Whites – If you can’t find egg whites in a carton or want to use whole eggs, use 4 whole eggs in place of the cup of egg whites this recipe calls for. Or if you have an egg allergy you can use an egg replacer like this.
- Cake Flour – You can also use all-purpose flour or a gluten free flour blend in this formula if that’s what you have in your pantry.
- Sour Cream – You can use full fat yogurt, buttermilk, whole milk, or an alternative yogurt or milk (almond, soy, oat) if you’re dairy free.
- Vegetable Oil – Any flavorless oil would work great in this recipe, like canola or sunflower.
- Coconut Extract – This is totally optional and can be omitted if you don’t like the flavor.
Substitutions and Swaps – Coconut Buttercream Frosting
- Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand, you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. Just be sure to omit the salt that this frosting recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
- Heavy Cream – Whole milk or alternative milk (soy, almond, oat) will work fine in this frosting recipe if that’s what you have on hand.
- Coconut Extract – This is optional and can be omitted if you don’t like the flavor.
Tips for Making the Best Chicken Cake
- Properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
- Ingredients at room temp mix together better. Set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
- Trim your top cake layers before stacking and frosting them! It makes it so much easier to get the shape of this chicken cake just right.
- Cover your cake in flaked coconut instead of shredded coconut to give it an extra fluffy look.
- Chill your cake layers in the freezer for about 20 minutes before assembling the cake. This makes it easier to stack and frost.
- Place your cake in a rimmed baking sheet before adding the coconut to minimize the cleanup after.
- Make a vegan or dairy free chicken cake if needed! Use your favorite type of dairy free milk to replace the buttermilk and heavy cream, and use vegan butter sticks in place of the butter. For the eggs I recommend using an egg replacer like this.
Making this Chicken Birthday Cake in Advance & Storage Tips
Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and makes it more approachable.
Make your frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting. It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month. Or store it in the freezer for up to 3 months! Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency smooth again.
A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious.
If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist. It can be stored in the fridge like this for up to a week.
Let Me Know What You Think!
If you make this chicken birthday cake, I’d love to hear what you think of it! Let me know by leaving a rating below.
If you plan to share on social media, you can tag me @chelsweets! Also use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations.
Other Recipes You Might Like:
Fluffy Coconut Cake Recipe
- 1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (226g)
- 3 cups granulated sugar (600g)
- 1 cup pasteurized egg whites from a carton or about 7 egg whites, room temperature (235g)
- 3 cups cake flour (360g)
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder (10g)
- 1 tsp fine salt (6g)
- 1 1/2 cups full-fat sour cream, room temperature (382g)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (56g)
- 2 tsp coconut extract (8g)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
Coconut Buttercream Frosting
- 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (454g)
- 2 tsp coconut extract (8g)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
- 1 tsp fine salt (6g)
- 7 cups powdered sugar (875g)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream or whipping cream (80g)
- 3 cups flaked coconut
- 1 Tbsp black fondant
- 1 tsp white fondant
- 1/4 cup orange fondant
- 1/3 cup red fondant
Tools and Equipment Needed
Fluffy Coconut Cake Layers:
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line and grease 4, 7-inch pans or 3, 8-inch cake pans with parchment rounds.
- Add the unsalted butter and granulated sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on a high speed with a whisk attachment for a few minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as need with a rubber spatula. The mixture should become lighter in color as air is whipped into it.
- Add the egg whites and mix at a medium speed until they're incorporated.
- Sift the dry ingredients (cake flour, baking powder, and salt) into a separate bowl.
- Add half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix on a low speed until just incorporated.
- Add the sour cream, oil, almond and vanilla extract. Mix on a low speed until combined, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Mix in the remaining dry ingredients on a low speed.
- Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. I like to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh my pans, to make sure my layers will be the same height.
- Bake for 33-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Rotate pans halfway through to help them bake evenly.
- Allow the pans 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 into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers from the pans.
- Use a serrated knife to level the tops of each cake layer, and trim one cake layer to have curved sides. This will make it easier to get a rounded look for the top of the chicken's head.
Coconut Buttercream Frosting:
- While the cake layers bake and cool, make the coconut buttercream frosting.
- Beat the butter on a low speed for 30 seconds with a paddle or whisk attachment, until smooth.
- Add in the vanilla extract, coconut extract, and salt. Beat on low until incorporated.
- Slowly mix in the powdered sugar on a low speed. Add the heavy cream halfway through to make the frosting easier to mix.
- Continue to mix until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.
- If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tablespoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
- Stir by hand with a rubber spatula to make the frosting extra smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Assembling This Chicken Birthday Cake:
- Stack and frost cake layers on a greaseproof cake board, using a dab of frosting to help stick the first cake layer to the board.
- Add an even layer of coconut buttercream on top of the first cake layer. Sprinkle with toasted coconut if desired, then repeat with remaining cake layers. Place the cake layer with curved sides at the top of the cake to give the chicken a round head.
- Spread a thin coat of frosting around the cake that fully covers the cake layers.
- Smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (30 minutes) or freezer (5-10 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.
- Place 2/3 of a cup of buttercream in a small piping bag and seal the top with a rubber band. Set aside.
- Use the remaining frosting to add a second, thicker layer of coconut frosting to the cake. Smooth using a bench scraper.
- Place the cake in a large, rimmed baking sheet, and gently press flaked coconut into the frosting to fully cover the cake.
- Once the cake is fully covered, use fondant to make the chicken's beak, feet, eyes, and comb (I free handed this). Press them into place using a bit of buttercream. I used toothpicks to help the comb and beak stay in place.
- Cut a 1-inch opening in your small piping bag, and pipe a little wing on each side of the cake. Then cut in and enjoy!
Making This Cake in Advance and Storage Tips:
- Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and makes it more approachable.
- Make your frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
- A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
- If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.
Amount Per Serving Calories 576Total Fat 30gSaturated Fat 17gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 77mgSodium 287mgCarbohydrates 75gFiber 0gSugar 60gProtein 3g