Christmas penguin cake
Christmas penguin cakeSubscribe to Sainsbury's magazine
This little guy is so kawaii with his red bow tie. It’s an easy design to do, and can be on display throughout the festive season
- 2 ready-baked 20cm chocolate sponge cakes, or 1 deep 20cm fruit cake, halved horizontally
- 2 tbsp apricot jam, sieved and warmed
- a sprinkle of icing sugar, for dusting
- 1kg black ready-to-roll icing
- 100g white ready-to-roll icing
- 50g orange ready-to-roll icing (or knead together 1 part red and 2 parts yellow icing)
- a little soft-peak white royal icing (made using 2 tbsp royal icing sugar, plus 1 tsp water)
- a little soft-peak red royal icing (made with 2 tbsp royal icing sugar, plus red gel food colouring)
- 1 x tube of pink edible dusting powder, for cheeks (such as Cake Décor pink glitter spray)
For the buttercream
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract or paste
- 165g very soft unsalted butter
- 330g icing sugar, sifted
The cake will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container if using sponge cakes, longer with a fruit cake.
First, make the buttercream. Put the vanilla extract and butter in the bowl for an electric stand mixer and cream until very pale and smooth (or use a large bowl and a handheld mixer). Add a quarter of the icing sugar and mix, slowly at first then, once incorporated, beat at a high speed for about 1 minute until creamy and pale. Continue adding the sugar, a quarter at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat the buttercream on a high speed for 1-2 minutes until fluffy and pale.
Sandwich the cake layers together with buttercream, using a little more to stick the cake to a 20cm cake board. Generously spread buttercream all around the sides of the cake (you can press on top of the cake to hold it steady). Once the sides are covered, spread buttercream over the top. Using a large palette knife or cake scraper, sweep all around the cake with a firm pressure to smooth off the excess and make the surface as flat as you can. Remove any lumpy areas around the top edge with a small, sharp knife. Chill for 1 hour to set.
Brush the warmed apricot jam over the set cake. Dust your work surface with icing sugar and roll out the black icing to a circle about 5mm thick, large enough to cover the top and sides. Roll the icing onto the rolling pin, lift it up and over the cake and gently smooth it down with your hands. Trim around the base with a sharp knife. Keep the offcuts to make the wings.
Dust your work surface with more icing sugar. Roll out the white and orange icing, then cut out the face shapes and feet using a knife. Put the white royal icing in a piping bag fitted with a number 2 round nozzle and use this to stick the face and feet shapes to the cake. Mould a small beak from the orange icing trimmings and stick in place.
For the wings, make 2 balls of equal size from the black icing trimmings. Pinch out to a wing shape, and attach to the sides of the cake with a little more royal icing. You can use cocktail sticks to prop them up from underneath while they set, if needed. Remove the following day, or when the icing is hard.
Roll out a little more black icing and cut out 2 polka dots for eyes (or just flatten 2 balls) and stick them on, piping on a little white royal icing for the eye sparkle. Put the red icing in another piping bag fitted with a number 2 round nozzle, and pipe on a bow. Finally, give the penguin a little blush with some pink dusting powder.
Recipe from Kawaii Cakes by Juliet Sear (Hardie Grant, £10)