Thursday, February 6, 2014

Owl Cake for Waitangi Day

Happy Waitangi Day to everyone in New Zealand (across the ditch)!  For the uninitiated, Waitangi Day marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 between the Maori people and the British.

To celebrate, I have made an owl-shaped cake - a tribute to the New Zealand native owl, the morepork or ruru.  The catch was that the cake couldn't be too difficult as I don't have time to faff about during the working week, and it had to use ingredients that I had on hand.

After a quick Google search, I made a cake decorated using a combination of this idea and this idea. I also used the owl template from Sew White shown in the video.

For the base cake, I used a chocolate cake recipe from p42 of  The Country Show Cookbook by Jan Gibson from the Cumnock Show. I liked it because it didn't use many ingredients, it uses cocoa instead of expensive chocolate, and a benefit I didn't know when I started, it bakes up nice and sturdy so that it is easy to cut into a shape, such as this owl:

To make this cake, you will need:

125g butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and light.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions.  Sift the flour and cocoa together.  Add the dry ingredients to the batter alternately with the milk mixed with the vanilla, starting and finishing with the dry ingredients and combining well between each addition.

Pour the batter into your prepared cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or until cooked through.  Allow the cake to cool in the tin for around 10 minutes before unmoulding onto a wire rack to cool completely.  (I recommend refrigerating it if you want to cut out a shape to firm up the crumb.)

After the cake has cooled, you can cut out the owl using the template.  Instead of ganache, I used chocolate fudge icing from the Crabapple Bakery Cookbook (recipe here).  I only made half of the published recipe and then still had heaps left over.

To make the eyes and feathers, I used white and dark choc bits and white chocolate melts.  For the beak and feet, I cut the shapes out freehand from a strawberry strap.

Even though this cake was super easy to make, I think it is really effective  and so cute!


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

It's always good to have a cake recipe that holds its shape when you have to carve it into a design! :)

Johanna GGG said...

That's gorgeous - I have this cake bookmarked too. And I like to hear about you finding a sturdy cake - that is half the battle in these sorts of cake that require a bit of sculpting! Nice to recognise Waitangi Day

Kari said...

This is fantastic! What a gorgeous cake and a lovely way to commemorate Waitangi Day.

Cher Rockwell said...

Too adorable - love it!