Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 25 minutes
I can’t believe The Great British Bake Off has finished! I got well and truly sucked into this years show and so did my husband! (He actually watched it on his own when I was recently away in London!)
Frances and her cakes were brilliant. There were times that I got annoyed with her creativity and thought just make a bloody cake and stop with all the faffiness, but the end results were always so good! I loved her squirrel cake and when I saw it I knew I had to have a go. And then, a few weeks later a lovely lady called me and asked if I would make a squirrel cake for her daughters 3rd Birthday. YES! I had a reason to make a squirrel cake!
They wanted a plain Victoria sponge without too much icing. No problem. I bought a squirrel cookie cutter and started to plan the cake. But the more I started looking at ideas, the more my idea of what I wanted to create changed.
So in the end, I decided to make a sugarpaste squirrel wearing red welly boots. A much cuter design for a little girls birthday. I sat her in a pile of wonderfully coloured autumn leaves and added some toadstools and an acorn. This is how I did it…
- 210g self raising flour
- 225g golden caster sugar
- 25g cornflour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 225g unsalted butter – at room temperature
- 4 large eggs
- 3 tbs milk
- Preheat the oven to 180C and grease 2 x 20cm sandwich cake tins
- Sift the flour, sugar, cornflour and baking powder into a food processor and mix well
- Add the remaining ingredients, and process briefly – Don’t be tempted to walk away from the food processor as the batter will quickly overmix resulting in a heavier textured cake
- Divide the batter evenly between the 2 tins
- Bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes
- 115g unsalted butter – at room temperature
- 60ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 500g icing sugar
- 2-3 tbs strawberry jam
- Beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half the icing sugar in a bowl until smooth
- Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat until smooth and creamy (this can take a while!)
- Once the cakes are cool, lay one cake on a board/plate (I usually turn the cakes over so the flat side is in the middle for the bottom cake and on the top of the top cake) and smother with strawberry jam
- Holding the second cake in your hand, spread it’s underside with vanilla frosting
- Sandwich the cakes together
I bought a set of leaf cutters from This Is It. Roll out flowerpaste really thin and cut out the leaf shapes. I then used a drying rack to make sure they weren’t all fat. Once dried, I painted them with red, gold and green edible glitter paint and waited for them to dry overnight.
The acorn is just a Hershey’s Kiss topped with some sugarpaste. Easy!
The squirrel is made from sugarpaste – I just followed these instructions!
Again – these are just made from sugarpaste. If you need instructions let me know.
How I put it all together:
- Frost the cake with the vanilla frosting around the sides and on the top
- Cover the sides with chocolate fingers. You need to do this quickly before the frosting dries out
- Tie a ribbon around the cake to keep the fingers in place
- Sit the squirrel on the cake
- Surround the squirrel with the leaves – pile them around
- Place the toadstools and acorn wherever there is space
I’m sure you will agree that this is a beautiful looking cake.
I had a sleepless night about it though as the actual cake didn’t rise well but I didn’t have time to bake another. Why when it really matters does baking do this? Same oven, same ingredients and same timing as I have previously baked but this one just didn’t turn out as well as ones in the past. Typical. I hope the looks made up for it!
Happy 3rd Birthday Paige!