This is the first year Emily has been big enough to be able to ask what kind of cake she wanted. The answer was an instant “Gruffalo” . After some googling a 3D cake seemed rather out of my skill-set and with rather a lot on my plate this year I did consider buying some handy cake toppers from eBay really taking the pain out of cake decorating.
But the first Google link was this little fellow with a soft buttercream icing , eminently preferable over a hard royal icing in my book.
I changed the recipe slightly , banana rather than chocolate cake and milk rather than dark chocolate icing. I also used by 175g recipe because it never fails to produce a light moist cake.
The most terrifying bits were cutting the cake shape and modelling, the rest was pretty easy and I made the cake over 2 days , actually one night and a very early morning.
The relief I felt when Em correctly identified it as a Gruffalo cannot be expressed loudly enough. It was intended to go to Nursery with her that morning but they are a bit overwhelmed with 10 birthdays in July and some very over-sugared children so it was a grandparent only affair, incredibly patient she waited two days to blow out the candles. A massive improvement over previous years when the singing of happy birthday has resulted in bafflement or tears. Time is going very fast … so it’s really important to mark these moment
Banana and Chocolate Gruffalo Cake
Ingredients for the cake:
- 350g of self raising flour
- 350ml of sunflower oil
- 350g of caster suhgar
- 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
- 2 bananas
- 5 eggs
For the butter cream
- 150g of butter
- 100g of icing sugar
- 150g of milk chocolate
- 2-3 tbsps hot water
For the decoration
- 100g of ready made royal icing
- Food colouring orange , green, purple and black
- 1 fruit roll-up or liquorice strings
1 day before
Make the cake sponge
- Blend together the oil and sugar and bananas
- Mix in the eggs
- Mix the flour with the bicarbonate of soda
- Add the flour and sugar
- Divide the mix into 2 lined square cake tins each 30x30cm
- Bake at 175degC for 40 minutes until golden and firm to touch.
- Turn out from the tins and leave to cool
Make the Chocolate Buttercream
- Melt the chocolate until liquid but don’t let it bubble
- Mix together the butter and icing sugar
- Add to the chocolate
- Mix well and leave to cool ( if you refridgerate , you will need to take it out of the fridge a few hours before use to let it soften)
Die the royal icing enough to make
- Purple prickles
- Two eyes of orange , with a small dot of black colouring to make the pupil
- Small green poisonous wart
- Keep enough white to make whiskers , tusks , teeth and horns
- For the mouth and eyebrows you could die royal icing black but I found it impossible to get it dark enough ending up with a lot of soggy grey icing. Instead an unrolled dark fruit roll-up or liquorice lace works well
Leave wrapped in clingfilm to prevent the icing drying out
Assemble the cake
- Sandwich the two cake layers with buttercream
- Cut into a Grufallo shape using the offcuts to form ears
- Cover with buttercream and fork
Shape the features once they are all completely shaped lay them onto the cake.