Now, I featured the making of this cake in a post on my old blog, and since it proved to be one of my most popular posts, I couldn’t resist sharing it here!
Adam and I made it for Freddie’s 2nd birthday back in February. He had, and still has, a Gruffalo obsession, so we decided to make for him a Gruffalo Themed cake.
Now, I do enjoy making cakes, and so I wasn’t a complete novice when it came to using ready-roll icing, but making this one was a little daunting as I really didn’t want to mess it up- the potential for embarrasment was huge as there were a lot of people at his party. Plus, you want your child to actually know that it really IS a Gruffalo cake!
The actual cake is a simple Victoria Sponge recipe, with a buttercream and jam filling.
Here we go…
To make the round, top bit of the cake, you will need:
225g unsalted butter, room temperature
225g golden caster sugar
4 medium, free range eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
225g self-raising flour
2 round sandwich cake tins 20cm/8in in diameter
To make the base (square) bit of the cake you will need:
450g unsalted butter, room temperature
225g golden caster sugar
8 medium, free range eggs
4 tsp vanilla extract
450g self-raising flour
1 large, square cake tin
Follow the below directions for both cakes, except for the round part of the cake , whereby you divide the mixture between the two round cake tins. (if that makes sense!)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c/350f/Gas4.
2. Grease cake tins.
3. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy.
4. Beat in the eggs a little at a time, then add the vanilla extract.
5. Fold in the flour with a large spoon until the mixture resembles a batter with a soft consistency.
6. Put the mixture in the cake tin(s), and smooth down with a spatula.
7. Bake each round cake for 30 mins until golden on top and you can put a skewer in it and it comes out cleanly, and bake your square cake for about an hour. Do keep checking on the square cake as the timing for this being finished can vary by several minutes or so.
8. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool on a wire rack.
9. When cool, cut the square cake in half across the middle, so it becomes a square sandwich cake ala the round ones.
10. Spread buttercream in the middle of both square and round cakes, and then top with jam, before sandwiching the cakes together. There is a good buttercream recipe HERE You should now have one round sponge cake, and one square sponge cake, ready to be decorated.
For decorating your Gruffalo cake, you will need:
2 large packs nuclear green ready-roll icing
1 pack brown ready-roll icing
1 collection of ready-made edible Gruffalo characters from an Ebay store, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could make your own
2 packs Cadburys ‘Chocolate Fingers’
Edible glue and little glue brush
1 leaf-shaped cutter
Small paint brush/pastry brush (for spreading jam)
1. Dust a clean work surface and your rolling pin with icing sugar so the icing doesn’t stick.
2. Combine both packs of green icing, and then roll out flat (and evenly) with your rolling pin, so the icing is big/wide enough to cover your square cake.
3. Spread a thin layer of jam onto your square cake so that the icing will stick to it.
4. Transfer icing onto your cake (you may need help with this, I did), and then smooth down to the bottom of the cake, and cut off any loose edges with a knife.
5. Repeat the above instructions for your round cake, and then place the round cake on top of your square one using some jam to attach the two.
6. Position your Gruffalo characters on top of your cake(s) how you would like them. You can see how I arranged mine in the picture above.
7. Cut your chocolate fingers in half, and brushing the underneath of them with edible glue, proceed to stick them around the bottom of your square cake to create a wood/logpile effect akin to the Gruffalo story.
8. Roll out your brown icing, and using your leaf cutter, create as many little leaves as you would like to stick on your cake. We did enough to create a trail of leaves around the round bit of the cake, finally snaking up towards the Gruffalo. Attach these leaves to the cake using a little edible glue on each leaf.
9. Leave the cake to dry, and keep out of reach of small toddlers!
And there you go, one Gruffalo Birthday Cake!
NB Unless you want your children bouncing off the walls for the rest of the year, i’d resist letting your kids actually eat the icing- it is nuclear green for a reason, with enough e-numbers in it to keep that Countdown bird busy for a while! The cake is fine for little ones to eat in small amounts though.