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Hedgehog Cake

I’m continuing my animal cake series with a hedgehog cake. I follow a few hedgehog accounts on instagram and they are just the cutest!! My favorite hedgehog is named Cinnamon, and it is the inspiration behind this cake.

To make this adorable hedgehog cake, I used chocolate cake layers and a delicious chocolate peanut butter frosting.

image of an adorable and easy to make hedgehog cake made with chocolate cake layers and buttercream frosting

Making this Hedgehog Cake: Step by Step Tutorial

Let’s walk through each step of this cake together to make sure it turns out as amazing as possible!

Step 1: Bake and Trim Your Cake Layers

Place a heating core in the center of your domed, 8-inch pan. This will help your cake layer bake more evenly and quickly. Grease both the pan and heating core with homemade cake release or nonstick baking spray.

Fill the prepared pan with batter and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Allow the pan to cool for 20 minutes, then flip the cake onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Once the cake has fully cooled to room temperature, use a serrated knife to cut the domed cake layer into 4 horizontal layers, then remove the smallest top layer from the dome of the cake. This flat surface will make it easier to stack and frost the cake layers.

image of a round domed chocolate cake layer being torted into layers

Step #2: Make the Buttercream Frosting

While the cake bakes and cools, make the chocolate peanut butter buttercream frosting with either an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer.

If your frosting seems too thick after mixing together all your ingredients, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). Or if the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time).

If you’re unsure how thick your frosting should be, you can learn what consistency you’re looking for in my frosting consistency post.

Once you’ve finished making your frosting, you will have filled 3 piping bags. One large bag with peanut butter frosting with a round tip, one bag with chocolate peanut butter frosting with a round tip, and one bag that has stripes of each type of frosting that’s fit with a small grass tip.

image of peanut butter chocolate buttercream frosting in piping bags

Step 3: Assemble and Crumb Coat the Cake Layers

Next it’s time to assemble the cake! I recommend freezing your cake layers for about 20 minutes before stacking them. It will make them was easier to handle and frost.

Stack and frost the cake layers on an 8-inch greaseproof cake board using a dab of frosting to help stick the bottom cake layer to the board. Start with your smallest cake layer and work your way up to the largest.

Spread an even layer of peanut butter frosting between each cake layer with a small offset spatula. Add a thin coat of frosting around the cake to fully cover the cake layers.

Smooth using a bench scraper or a small acetate sheet, then chill the cake in the fridge (20 minutes) or freezer (10 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.

image of a hedgehog cake being crumb coated before it's decorated

Step 4: Making this Little Hedgehog’s Face

Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, pipe an oval using peanut butter frosting on top of the cake and smooth using a small acetate sheet or small offset spatula.

The next step is to add on the hedgehog’s face! This can be done with buttercream or fondant. Either method will work, and I suggest doing whatever you feel the most comfortable with.

If you want to use fondant, I recommend using small circle cutters to get the shape of the ears and eyes just right.

image of an adorable fondant face that's been made for a hedgehog cake

Step 5: Add on the Hedgehog’s Arms and Legs

Use the chocolate peanut butter frosting to pipe on the hedgehog’s legs, arms, and ears.

Start when you want the hand or foot to be, then pipe all the way past the edge of the hedgehog’s tummy. This will allow you pipe quills over the stop mark and give you a nice finished look.

It might look a little bit creepy at this stage, but trust the process! It’s going to look adorable once we add the frosting quills.

image of a partially decorated hedgehog cake that just needs to have it's buttercream quills piped on

Step 7: Pipe on the Hedgehog’s Quills

The final step is to cover the rest of the cake with frosting quills!

Use a small grass tip to pipe the chocolate and peanut butter frosting around the cake. If your hand gets tired during this stage, feel free to take breaks! I took several breaks while piping this cake to give my hand a rest.

Taking breaks is also important if you notice your frosting is getting too warm! Sometimes the heat from your hands can cause your frosting to get soft and lose its shape as you pipe it.

If you run into this problem, wrap a paper towel around your piping bag! This will minimize the transfer of heat from your hands into the frosting.

image of a buttercream hedgehog cake being piped with buttercream to look like quills

Substitutions and Swaps – Chocolate Cake Layers

This hedgehog birthday cake uses quite a few ingredients and I know you might not have all of them 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 recipe.

  • 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.
  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter in this recipe. Just be sure to omit the salt that this cake recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Eggs – If you have an egg allergy you can use flaxseed eggs or an egg replacer.
  • Buttermilk – You can also use full fat yogurt, sour cream, whole milk, or an alternative yogurt or milk (almond, soy, oat) if you’re dairy free.
  • Cocoa powder– Unsweetened baking cocoa works best in this recipe, but you can also use dutch processed or black cocoa if needed.
  • Vanilla Extract – Other extracts can also be used in place of the vanilla extract. Feel free to use almond, lemon, or even coconut extract.
  • All Purpose Flour – This recipe turns out best with AP flour, but you can use a gluten free flour blend or cake flour if that’s all you have on hand. I don’t recommend using straight almond flour though!

Substitutions and Swaps – Chocolate Peanut Butter 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.
  • Cocoa powder– Unsweetened baking cocoa works best in this recipe, but you can also use dutch processed or black cocoa if needed.
image of chocolate buttercream

Tips for Making the Best Hedgehog Cake:

  • Be sure to 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, so be sure you set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Mix your cake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. This will ensure your cake layers are tender and soft.
  • Place a heating core at the bottom of you pan to help the cake layer bake more quickly and evenly!
  • Use an acetate sheet to help you get your final coat of frosting super smooth.
  • Chill your cake layers in the freezer for about 20 minutes before assembling the cake. This makes it easier to stack and frost.
  • If you notice your frosting is getting too warm, wrap a paper towel around your piping bag! It minimize the transfer of heat from your hands into the frosting.
  • Make this hedgehog cake vegan or dairy free 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.
  • If you want to make a standard / non-sculpted hedgehog layer cake, you can bake 3, 6-inch cake layers and add the same fondant features. Bake the layers for 25-30 minutes at 350 F / 175 C or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
image of an adorable and easy to make hedgehog cake that's decorated with chocolate and peanut butter buttercream frosting

Making This Hedgehog Cake in Advance & Storage Tips:

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and make 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.
image of chelsey white of chelsweets with an adorable little hedgehog cake she made as part of her animal cake series

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you make this hedgehog birthday cake, I’d love to hear what 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 on social media.

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 16

Hedgehog Cake

image of an adorable and easy to make hedgehog cake made with chocolate cake layers and buttercream frosting

This hedgehog cake is just as delicious as it is adorable! It's made with moist chocolate cake and peanut butter and chocolate buttercream.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (250 grams)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp (1 stick, 113 grams)
  • 2 large eggs, room temp (112 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (3 grams)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder (3 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 1/2 cup hot water (120 grams)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temp (120 grams)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa (40 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (195 grams)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (2 sticks, 226 grams)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (120 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp fine table salt (3 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)
  • 5 cups powdered sugar (625 grams)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (60 grams)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa, sifted (20 grams)

Hedgehog Facial Features

Suggested Tools / Equipment

Instructions

Chocolate Cake Layers

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350 F / 175 C. Grease an 8-inch domed cake pan with homemade cake release or non-stick baking spray and parchment paper. Grease a heating core and place at the bottom of the domed pan to help it bake more evenly and quickly. Set aside.
  2. Add 1 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 1/2 cup unsalted butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high for 1 minute with a whisk attachment. The mixture should become light in color.
  3. While the butter and sugar mix together, combine 1/2 cup of hot water, 1/2 cup of buttermilk, and 1/2 cup of black cocoa in a separate large bowl. Whisk together until no clumps remain. Set aside.
  4. Add in 2 large eggs, mixing each egg in one at a time on a medium high speed.
  5. Add 1/2 tsp baking soda, 3/4 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. Mix on high for another minute.
  6. Add 1 cup of flour into the butter/egg mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure the flour is fully incorporated.
  7. Pour in the buttermilk/cocoa mixture and gently pulse the mixture to incorporate the liquid (if you don't, you'll end up splattering the cocoa mixture all over your kitchen!)
  8. Mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour on a low speed until the flour is incorporated. Scrape the sides of bowl to make sure everything is properly mixed together, then pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  10. Allow the pan to cool for 20 minutes, then flip the cake onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Gently remove the heating core from the bottom of the cake layer.
  11. Once the cake has cooled to room temperature, use a serrated knife to cut the domed cake layer into 4 horizontal layers. This hedgehog cake is going to look like the hedgehog is resting on its back, so we need remove the top layer from the dome of the cake. This flat surface will make it easier to stack and frost the cake layers (see pictures above).

Chocolate Peanut Buttercream Frosting

  1. While the cake bakes and cools, make the chocolate peanut butter frosting.
  2. Beat 1 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of peanut butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment until smooth. 
  3. Mix in 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp vanilla extract on a low speed until combined.
  4. Slowly mix in 5 cups of powdered sugar on a low speed. Half way through, pour in 1/4 cup of heavy cream to make the frosting easier to mix.
  5. Beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add an extra Tbsp of heavy cream. If it's too thin, add in another 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.
  6. Stir by hand with a rubber spatula for a couple minutes to get the frosting SUPER smooth.
  7. Place about 3 cups of frosting (or 3/4 of the total frosting) in a large piping bag fit with a round piping tip and set aside. This will be used to fill and crumb coat the cake, frost the hedgehog's tummy, and to make the hedgehog's quills.
  8. Add in 2 Tbsp of sifted cocoa powder to the remaining frosting and mix on low until the cocoa is fully incorporated and no clumps remain. Place this chocolate peanut butter frosting into a piping bag fit with a round piping tip. Set aside.
  9. Mix in the remaining 2 Tbsp of cocoa powder into the leftover frosting to make a darker chocolate peanut butter frosting.
  10. Fit a small piping bag with a small grass piping tip. Use the peanut butter frosting and chocolate peanut butter frosting to pipe lines up the inside of the piping bag, and fill the center with the all of the darkest chocolate frosting. Fill this bag with about 1 cup of buttercream, and be sure to save about 1/3 cup of the lighter chocolate buttercream for later, to pipe on the hedgehog's arms and legs.

To Assemble this Hedgehog Cake:

  1. Next it's time to assemble the cake! I recommend freezing your cake layers for about 20 minutes before stacking them. It will make them was easier to handle and frost.
  2. Stack and frost cake layers on an 8-inch greaseproof cake board using a dab of frosting to help stick the first cake layer to the board. Start with your smallest cake layer and work your way up to the largest.
  3. Pipe an even layer of peanut butter buttercream between each cake layer and smooth it with a small offset spatula.
  4. Add a thin coat of peanut butter frosting around the cake to fully cover the cake layers.
  5. Smooth using a small offset spatula or acetate sheet, then chill the cake in the fridge (20 minutes) or freezer (10 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  6. Pipe a large oval of peanut butter frosting on the flat side / top of the cake, and smooth using an acetate sheet or small offset spatula.
  7. Use the black, white and pink fondant to make the hedgehog's ears, eyes, nose and cheeks.
  8. Pipe on the hedgehog's legs, arms and ears using the lighter chocolate buttercream.
  9. Pipe the chocolate and peanut butter frosting "quills" around this rest of the cake using a small grass tip, then enjoy!

Notes

Tips for Making The Best Hedgehog Cake

  • Be sure to 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, so be sure you set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Mix your cake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. This will ensure your cake layers are tender and fluffy.
  • Chill your cake layers in the freezer for about 20 minutes before assembling the cake. This makes it easier to stack and frost.
  • If you notice your frosting is getting too warm, wrap a paper towel around your piping bag to minimize the transfer of heat from your hands into the frosting.
  • Use an acetate sheet to help you get your final coat of frosting super smooth.
  • If you want to make a standard / non-sculpted hedgehog layer cake, you can bake 3, 6-inch cake layers and add the same fondant features.Bake the layers for 25-30 minutes at 350 F / 175 C or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Making this Hedgehog Cake in Advance

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and make 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.

Nutrition Information

Yield

16

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 465Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 65mgSodium 277mgCarbohydrates 75gFiber 3gSugar 56gProtein 5g
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