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Spectacular birthday cakes

A fabulous cake is an essential ingredient for a brilliant birthday party, so here are five that children will love – from a wise old owl to a pixie house

Posted: 15 September 2011
by Junior

 4 of 6 

Mungo The Dog

Serves 12


1 Large Vanilla Sponge
4 plain mini Swiss rolls
1 quantity Buttercream
200g (7oz) desiccated coconut
Red food colouring paste
Edible silver balls
12 mini chocolate drops
2 white chocolate buttons
Black writing icing tube
2 chocolate-coated wafers


1.2 litre and 275ml pudding basins, greased and dusted with flour
12-hole mini cupcake tray, lined with 8 mini paper cupcake cases
Cocktail sticks
Piping bag, with star-shaped nozzle


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/ 350ºF/ Gas Mark 4. Make the Large Vanilla Sponge mixture and spoon into the prepared basins until they are two-thirds full. Use the remaining sponge mixture to fill the cupcake cases, allowing approximately 1 –2 teaspoons
of mixture per cupcake. 

Bake all the mixtures in the middle of the preheated oven until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Put the larger basin in the oven for 40–45 minutes, the smaller basin for 30 minutes, and the mini cupcakes for 10–15 minutes. 

Leave the cakes to cool in the basins and tray for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire cooling racks. Put the desiccated coconut into a dry frying pan and toast until lightly golden. Set aside to cool completely. 

Use a long, serrated knife to level off the tops of the cakes. Put the larger cakes, flat side down, on a large plate. Take the smaller one of these and place it, cut side down, on a board then trim a little off two sides to make a muzzle shape. Arrange the head on top of the body, flat side down, and tilt it slightly forwards. Secure with the cocktail sticks. 

Peel the paper case off the mini cupcake and attach the cupcake to the muzzle with the cocktail sticks. Arrange the mini Swiss rolls so that there are two placed upright at the front and two flat at the back to make the legs. Reserve 3–4 tablespoons of the Buttercream in a small bowl and then cover the dog with the remaining Buttercream. Scatter the coconut over the top of the cake and press lightly so that it sticks to the Buttercream coating. 

Tint the reserved Buttercream red with the red food colouring paste and put it inside the piping bag. Pipe rosettes around the neck of the dog to make a collar, and decorate it with the silver balls.

Use the mini chocolate drops for the claws and white chocolate buttons for the eyes. Pipe a nose and mouth on the head using black writing icing. Finally, push the chocolate-coated wafers onto the top of the head for the ears.

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