You don’t need to be a supercook to knock up a brilliant birthday cake. Try this recipe from Annie Rigg
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F) Gas 4.
- Make the vanilla cake mixture and divide between the cake tins. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 30-35 minutes.
- Lave the cakes to cool in the tins for 10 mins before turning out onto a wire rack and cooling completely.
- Meanwhile, make the frosting. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until melted, then let cool slightly. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, vanilla extract and icing sugar. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Let it set and thicken.
- Place one cake on a plate and spread the cut surface with about 3 tbsp of the frosting. Cover with the other cake layer. Cover the top and sides with three-quarters of the remaining frosting.
- Arrange the chocolate buttons over the bottom half of the cake to resemble feathers and cover the top half of the cake with chocolate vermicelli. Fill the piping bag with the remaining frosting and pipe 'feathers' around the owl's face.
- Use chocolate buttons for the eyes. Cut the flaked chocolate bar into thin pieces to make legs. Cut the toffee bar in half. Slice one half diagonally into 2 pieces for the wings. Finally, cut the remaining toffee bar at an angle to make a beak.
- 1 extra large vanilla cake mixture (see below)
- 350g dark chocolate, chopped
- 225g unsalted butter • 225ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract • 450g icing sugar, sifted
- chocolate buttons • chocolate vermicelli
- 1 flaked chocolate bar
- 1 chocolate-covered toffee bar
- 2 x 23cm round cake tins, greased and lined
- piping bag, with a star-shaped nozzle
- Serves 12–16
Basic vanilla cake
These and more great recipes are featured in Annie Rigg's Birthday Cakes for Kids, 12.99 (Ryland Peters & Small)
- 350g unsalted butter
- 350g caster sugar 6 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 350g plain flour
- 5 tsp baking powder
- 4–5 tbsp milk