Bug Birthday Cake - Nicola C.

My son is affectionately called ‘bug’ because he used to commando crawl around like a little bug before he could properly crawl. It seemed fitting to create a 1 shaped cake decorated with bugs and leaves for his first birthday.

Method - Cake, Decorations, Icing

  1. Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare a large lined rectangle roasting tin. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugartogether until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each egg. Add the vanilla, then sift in the flour and baking powder. Beat well, adding the cream a little at a time until the batter is thick.Transfer to tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool fully.

  2. Step 2

    Prepare the white icing and separate ⅕ of it. Leave a small amount of white aside, which will be used for the buzzy bee wings and caterpillar eyes.

  3. Step 3

    Dust clean bench with icing sugar and put a few drops of green colour into the centre of the icing. Knead in the colour until you reach the desired colour of the paler leaves then split icing in 2 portions. Add a few more drops of green colour to one of the portions and this will make the darker leaves. Do the same with the remaining portion of icing to make it blue for the caterpillars.

  4. Step 4

    Roll out the green icing and cut out leaf shapes. Lie some over the edge of plates to get
    a slightly bent look. Leave to dry out slightly.

  5. Step 5

    Construct the ladybugs, bees and caterpillars by rolling balls of icing and shaping into their bodies. Attach the caterpillars and ladybugs bodies together by wetting each ball slightly.
    Do the same for the buzzy bee stripes and wings and the caterpillar eyes (this can be fiddly). For the black eyes on the bugs and also the ladybug spots use a toothpick dipped
    in black colour. You can use icing if you prefer but it can be fiddly. Once dry, store in an airtight container until you are ready to use. No need to refrigerate.

  6. Step 6

    Once cake is cooled, prepare the buttercream icing. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until as pale as possible, then add the icing sugar and milk and beat them through. Add the colouring to reach the desired green, you may need to adjust by adding more icing sugar to thicken the icing or more milk to thin it.

Method - Assembly

  1. Step 1

    Cut the cake in half and put one of the halves aside as this will be used for the main cake body. Cut the other half into halfagain. Take one of the pieces and slice a triangle from the
    top corner and discard, the remainder of that piece is the top of the ‘1’. The other piece is the base of the cake. Assemble the pieces to form the one then trim the cake tops
    so they are level.

  2. Step 2

    Spread buttercream between the pieces to hold them together then ice the entire cake with buttercream.

  3. Step 3

    Cover the cake in the fondant leaves as desired.Place the bugs over the cake as desired. You can use wire to have a few of the bees ‘flying’ above the cake.

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