Tag Archives: animal cake series

Zeek the Zebra Cake

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By popular demand, the next addition to my animal cake series is a Zebra! I used vanilla and black chocolate cake bases to make striped cake layers, vanilla buttercream, and some fondant to create the stripes and facial features!! The full video tutorial can be seen here. 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

Chocolate Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp instant espresso
  • 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
  • 10 drops black gel food coloring

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Fondant Accents:

  • pink fondant
  • black fondant
  • white fondant
  • toothpicks
  • parchment paper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and three 7″ round pans.

Begin by making the vanilla cake batter. 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. Set aside.

Next prepare the chocolate cake batter. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, cocoa, 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 add in instant espresso. 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.

Add alternative scoops of batter into the center of each pan, until you have several alternating rings of chocolate and vanilla cake batter, and you have used all the batter.

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Bake for 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. To accelerate this process, I frequently place my cake layers in the freezer.

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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 black fondant, and add two small pink circle for the nostrils. Use pink fondant to also make the mouth. With black fondant, cut out two small circles for the eyes, and a circle for the mane. I trimmed out triangles from the circle to make it resemble a tuft of hair. For the ears, cut out 2 white 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 lightly wet small paint brush). I also added small pink circle of fondant to be the inner ear. Cut off excess fondant on the bottom, and insert two toothpicks into each ear. For the stripes, use remaining black fondant to cut out thin stripes, 1 cm wide. 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. 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).

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To assemble the cake, stack and frost cake layers, then apply a crumb coat. The crumb coat is crucial on this cake, as we have a dark cake base (producing black crumbs) and white frosting!! 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 stripes to the cake using buttercream, and gently press fondant facial features onto the top of the cake. The last step is to insert the ears into the edge of the cake using the attached toothpicks. Then it’s time to cut in and see the fun pattern inside each cake layer!!

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Pete the Puppy Cake

As I wind down my animal cake series, I knew I needed to make a puppy! To mix things up, I decided to make Pete with maple cake layers, and a maple buttercream. I also used some fondant accents to create his face, and a touch of cocoa to shade some of his fur. The recipe can be found below:

Maple Cake Batter:

  • 3.25 cup flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 1.5 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. maple extract (optional)

Maple Buttercream:

  • 6 sticks (3 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1.5 tsp. maple extract

Decorations:

  • pink fondant
  • white fondant
  • black fondant
  • grass piping tip
  • small paint brush
  • cocoa powder
  • parchment paper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line three 8″ 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.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 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. I used just a touch of pink fondant to make a small tongue, and shaped an oval out of black fondant for the nose. I also used some circle cookie cutters for Pete’s eyes. 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. 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 yellow buttercream, and apply a thin crumb coat. Freeze cake for 5 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set.  Make a small mound in the center of the cake for the puppy’s snout, and add two oblong mounts onto opposite sides of the cake for the puppies ears .

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Place remaining frosting into a piping bag with a grass tip, and pipe “fur” onto the entire cake. Add fondant accents (eyes, nose, and tongue onto the cake. Place cake into the fridge for 15 minutes to allow the buttercream to firm. I also added a bit of cocoa to the tips of the ears and the snout using a small, clean paint brush.

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Easy Buttercream Panda Cake

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My last addition to my animal cake series is a panda! I wanted to do something black and white, and decided to make vanilla cake layers, filling with vanilla buttercream, chocolate ganache, and sprinkles. I used some fondant accents to make her face, and colored some chocolate buttercream black to make the limbs and tail! The recipes can be found below, and the full YouTube Tutorial can be seen here.

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
  • 1/2 cup chocolate ganache (optional for filling – equal parts chocolate and heavy cream)
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles (optional for filling)

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Fondant Accents:

  • white fondant
  • black fondant
  • 1 Oreo
  • parchment paper

Instructions:

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.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 25 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. Once fully cooled, place layers in freezer (frozen layers are much easier to frost!)

While the layers bake, 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. 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).

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Next, make the fondant accents for the face. Roll out the white fondant and black fondant to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out two avocado shaped pieces for the around the panda’s eyes, then cut out four circles (2 white, and 2 slightly smaller black) for the panda’s eyes. For the ears, twist open the Oreo and remove the filling. Use two fondant circles to be the inner part of the ears, and secure them to the Oreo using a small dab of buttercream.

For the limbs and tail, take 1 cup of the prepared vanilla buttercream and add 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and a teaspoon of heavy cream. Add in a few squirts of black gel food coloring, and mix until combined. Place into a piping bag, cut to have a 1 inch opening. Place prepared fondant onto parchment paper to allow it to firm.

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To assemble the cake, remove cake layers from freezer. Frost each cake layer with buttercream, adding ganache and sprinkles on top of the buttercream. 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 top of the cake using buttercream, and pipe on arms, feet, and tail.

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Herbert the Baby Hippo Cake

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I’ve continued my animal cake series with my favorite animal…a hippo! In my opinion, hippos are the true king of the jungle. They are amazing for many reasons, but my favorite is that they secret a fluid from their skin that acts as a sunscreen, helps them regulate their temperature, and gives them a somewhat purplish hue.

To make Herbet, I used a purple vanilla cake base, purple and blue buttercream, and fondant! I wanted him to look like he was just peaking his head up out of the water. 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
  • 5 drops purple gel food coloring
  • 1/2 drop of black gel food coloring (I used a toothpick to control the amount added)

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 drops purple gel food coloring
  • 1/2 drop of black gel food coloring (I used a toothpick to control the amount added)
  • 3 drops light blue food coloring (for water)

Fondant Accents:

  • white fondant (tusks)
  • black fondant (eyes)
  • purple fondant (ears and nostrils)
  • toothpicks
  • parchment paper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line three 4″ round pans, and a 7 inch dome baking pan.

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.

Fill the dome baking pan about 3 inches deep with batter, and divide the remaining batter evenly between the round pans. Bake the round baking pans for about 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Bake the dome for 1 hour and 10 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 purple fondant and black fondant to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out two thick purple circles, and shape into the nostrils. Use black fondant to also make small circles for the eyes. For the ears, cut out 2 fondant circles, that are 1 inch in diameter. Pinch the bottom half of the circle together, and seal the together with a bit of water. Insert a toothpick into each ear.  Roll out the white fondant, and cut out two rectangles for the tusks. Place prepared fondant onto parchment paper to allow it to firm.

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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. Put 1/4 of the frosting into a separate bowl. Mix a few drops of blue food coloring into this bowl. Mix in the purple and black gel food coloring into the other bowl, until the frosting is uniformly colored a dark purple. 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 and stack each round cake layer with the purple buttercream, adding sprinkles between each layer. 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.

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Using the 4 inch cake pan as a guide, cut out a half circle from the cake dome, so that it can fit around the 4 inch cake layers that you’ve frosted. Apply buttercream around the cake dome, and smooth using an acetate sheet. Secure fondant accents to the cake using buttercream and/or toothpicks. Then add the blue buttercream around the cake base to be the water.

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Easy Baby Pig Cake

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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)

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Fondant Accents:

  • pink fondant (1/2 pound)
  • black fondant (1/4 pound)
  • toothpicks
  • parchment paper
  • cylindrical object for tail

Instructions:

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.

mvi_5668_moment 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).

mvi_5663_momentTo 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.

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