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It was also my mum’s birthday last week. Since she’s a big fan of the game Angry Birds I made her an Angry Birds themed cake. I was at a bit of a disadvantage never having played the game, but I thought it would be fun so I pursued the idea. During the research stages I’d seen a couple of brilliant cakes. First of all was Anya Richardson’s amazingly detailed cake. Everything was on it. All of the characters with their funny expressions and even some blocks to knock over. Then I saw the unbelievable playable Angry Birds cake. I loved the idea and was very thankful for the little guide to making the characters, but such a masterpiece was beyond my scope. In the end I decided to make a simpler version of Anya Richardson’s cake, focusing on just a few of the characters (and not at all on the scenery!).

The cake itself had two ‘tiers’. The bottom tier was made out of digestive biscuit sponge (recipe below), loosely based on this recipe. The top tier was a simple lemon cake. I used the Hummingbird Bakery recipe, but a similar one can be found at joyofbaking.com. For the icing (beneath the fondant covering) I made the key lime icing from Ming Makes Cupcakes. I was aiming to create a blend between a cheesecake and a key lime pie. If there hadn’t been quite so much fondant, I think the effect would have been more pronounced, but overall I was very pleased with the taste and texture.

The characters were great fun to make. I made a few sketches from pictures I found of the game on google to try and work out proportions and rough shapes. Translating 2D images into 3D fondant characters was the biggest challenge. Fortunately, they’re really simple shapes. The birds are egg shaped (or triangle shaped for the yellow bird), while the pigs are just round blobs. I used pre-coloured icing for the majority of the characters. I only recoloured the yellow bird’s beak orange using a bit of gel food colouring. The fine details, like the pigs’ raised eyebrows, I did using a black food colouring pen.

The final element I included was the blocks on the top tier behind the pigs. I got the idea to make them from chocolate covered cake bites, after a visit to Bakerella’s blog. I modified her recipe a bit, using the digestive cake as the base and the key lime icing (recipe below). Surprisingly, for a decorative feature designed for aesthetic looks, rather than taste they were eaten faster than the cake itself.

Overall, the cake was well received. I’d love to make another one with all of the characters and more depth to the landscape. Maybe next year…

Recipes

Digestive Biscuit Cake
Ingredients (makes enough for a 9in/23cm cake tin)
225g/8oz Caster sugar
225g/8oz Butter
225g/8oz Self-raising flour
100g Digestive biscuit crumbs (the quickest way to make these is to break them up a little bit and then blitz  them in a blender)
4 Eggs
200ml Milk
1tsp Vanilla

1) Pre-heat the oven to 190C (180C for fan ovens) and line a cake tin.
2) Cream the butter and the sugar.
3)  Gradually add the flour and the digestive biscuit crumbs and stir in with a wooden spoon until combined.
4) Add the eggs one at a time, beating in until well combined.
5) Slowly add the milk, followed by the vanilla.
6) Transfer the mixture to the cake tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Chocolate covered cake
150g Cake (crumbled)
Left-over key lime icing
50-75g  Plain chocolate

1) Mix a few dollops of key lime icing into the cake crumbs. Keep adding the icing until the mixture has the consistency of fairly dry cookie dough (more akin to shortbread dough, than American style cookies).
2) Form the mixture into the desired shape. The smaller you make the shapes, the easier (and cleaner!) they’ll be to cover in chocolate. If you want to make rectangular or log shapes wrap the mixture in clingfilm and press it into shape on a worktop or flat surface.
3) Place the shapes on a plate or baking tray and refrigerate for an hour or two until sufficiently chilled to keep their shape when being covered in chocolate.
4) Melt the chocolate over a bain marie. Dip each cake shape in the chocolate and carefully place it back on the plate/baking tray before transferring back to the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

I made a double quantity of the key lime icing just to ensure that I’d have enough to ice the cake. I ended up having far too much, so I used the left over mixture to make cupcakes…

Key Lime Icing Cupcakes
Ingredients
115g Cream cheese
60g  Butter
250g Icing sugar (you could also use 225g caster sugar)
2tbsps Lime juice
250g Self-raising flour
2 Eggs

1) Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 12 cup muffin pan with muffin cases.
2) Make the key lime mixture by creaming the butter and the sugar first. Add the cream cheese and mix well. Finally, add the lime juice and beat.
3) Gradually add the flour and mix well.
4) Add one egg at a time and beat in using an electric whisk.
5) You can add a bit of milk to make the batter thinner at this point. It depends on how you prefer your cupcakes – if you like them dense then do not add milk, but if you prefer moist, fluffy cupcakes add about 60ml of milk.
6) Spoon the mixture into the muffin case and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

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