Beagle birthday cake tutorial

The Great Beagle Bake Off

The easy (ish) ‘Beagle Birthday Cake Tutorial’ that will have your little human hounds howling with delight (or laughter, depending on how it turns out…)

‘I should have just gone to M&S’ is the thought that runs through my head at approximately 3.30am the morning before each of my children’s birthdays. This is usually because I’m only half way through a questionable cake homage to a Disney character and have inhaled so much icing sugar I’m marginally concerned about a confectionery induced lung collapse.

My problem is I’ve made a stupid promise to myself that I’m going to handcraft all of my kids’ birthday cakes, no matter the request. From a boss-eyed Iggle Piggle to a night of the living dead Postman Pat, they’ve all been ropily made into 3D edible (ish) monstrosities.

I’ve 100% made a rod for my own back, this I realise, but I know I’m going to keep doing it until they ask me to stop or the icing sugar gets me.

So the littlest Lil turned one recently and I was faced with a conundrum… What the hell do I make a baby that has no interests other than the dog? Damn. The bloody dog.

We have a bit of a love / hate relationship with the dog in our household. Love her when she’s being compliant, HATE her when she breaks into the nappy bin and demolishes the contents.

So a 3D beagle homage / effigy (dependent on her behaviour at time of baking) it was, but finding an online beagle tutorial was near impossible. I had to big time blag it in the end, but did have the foresight to take some pics and document it – just in case anyone else is crazy enough to give it a go (because I sure as hell won’t be making it again).

Beagle Baking for Dummies / Mummies

What you’ll need:

1) Find a madeira cake recipe. Make it twice over in a deep sided roasting tray. I think I used this one by Queen Mary via the online Bible that is BBC Good Food – http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/lemon_madeira_cake_with_15109

2) Use the same recipe but bake in a large Pyrex mixing bowl, or spherical cake tin if you just so happen to have one and your name is Martha Stewart

3) Leave all cakes to cool. Make a ton of buttercream. Triple this recipe – http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/basicbuttericing_73263

4) Layer cakes on top of each other, sandwiched with buttercream and raspberry jam

5) Carve below weird shape, then mound up the off-cuts to form a rounded topimg_0622 A car crash, but once it’s iced no one will notice…

6) Carve spherical cake into a smaller semi-circle and slope edges inwards so the top of the cake is wider than the bottom. Sorry, you may have to use a little bit of artistic interpretation at this point as I  helpfully didn’t take any photos – too busy stress swigging gin. Hopefully the below pic will help a little…

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7) Swig some gin

8) Slide main body onto a large cake board. Then, the tricky part – using more off-cuts, form a little sloped ledge for the head to rest on so that it’s slightly at an angle. Once in position, make the nose shape by squishing together more off-cuts and buttercream. It really doesn’t matter if it’s a crumbly mess at this point – you just need to get the shape kind of right as the buttercream will cover a multitude of sins

9) Buttercream the hell out of that beagle, using it to fill and smooth over all the gaps around the head and nose

10) Chill. You and the cake need a time out. Leave it in the fridge for about an hour while you have more gin

11) The fun bit (because now you’ll probably be quite tipsy, so anything is fun). Using some of your white fondant, roll two little sausages and place them in the middle of the head area. Make more little sausages and make them into circles for eye sockets. Place two more sausages inside the sockets – see below picimg_0630

12) Roll a little bit of white fondant into three oval shapes. Place the first horizontally across the nose area and then add the other two over the top diagonally

13) Roll out brown icing (I used four 250g packs of Renshaw icing in the colour ‘Teddy’) and place over whole cake. Thinly roll out black fondant (again, Renshaw – two 250g packs should do it but make sure you hold a little back for the tail and nose). Layer a large patch of thin black fondant over the back of the beagle, like in the below picture

14) Press the fondant around the sausages on the face and you’ll start to see your beagle’s facial features emerge. Next, hollow out eyes and add thin strips of the brown fondant to the inside top and bottom of the sockets

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Moody three year old in background because I wouldn’t let him touch the icing 

15) Eyes. Roll some brown fondant into two balls and press smaller black blobs into the middle to make the pupils. Plop into sockets and then use a bit more of the brown to fill in any gaps around the eyes. Use a black food pen to ‘line’ the beagle’s eyes – a lot like how you’d reapply your own after seven too many

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16) Fill in nose with some white fondant and add a blob of black to the end, complete with two nostrils. Form two ear shapes out of the brown fondant and affix to head with a dab of water

17) Roll four big chunky pieces of fondant into leg shapes and use a knife to make some toes img_0639

18) Roll the leftover black fondant into a tail, add a little white tip and use a dab of water to attach it to the beagle’s bum. Add any finishing details like a collar, spots etc

19) Cry over your beautiful creation. Sod the kids – it’s the best thing you’ve ever made

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20) Go to sleep. That dog loving horror is going to be up in three hours

Peppa’s Pancakes

Happy pancake day! Officially the best day of the year.

Do you have a little one who loves Peppa Pig? Want to earn some mega brownie points, or at the very least, an hour off having to watch that painfully annoying little piggy?

If you want to put smiles on little faces, without putting holes in their teeth then these yummy little Peppa pancakes tick all the boxes. Fun, fairly healthy and they really are rather easy to make.

For the batter, you’ll need

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 300ml milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • Butter (for frying)

To decorate, you’ll need

  • A handful of raisins
  • Couple pots of strawberry or raspberry fromage frais
  • Tablespoon of icing sugar

You’ll also need a little piece of baking paper

  1. First off, sketch a rough Peppa-esque shape onto the baking paper. Here she is – I’m sure she’s etched permanently onto your brain, but just in case you can’t remember the finer details of her smug little face…

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Image courtesy of peppapig.co.uk

You literally just want the outline of her oddly shaped head. Once drawn, cut inside the lines so that you have a template to fill with batter (see below for a pic if that’s as clear as mud)

2. Make your batter:

Sieve and weigh the flour, add the salt and then make a well for the eggs in the middle. Add the eggs, whisk them into the flour and then add the milk little by little until you have a smooth batter

Leave to rest for about half an hour, if you have the time

3. Over a medium heat – add a dollop of butter into a shallow frying pan. Once melted drop the template in and press down with a utensil of your choice, preferably not fingers

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4. In a scene right out of Master Chef, I used a gigantic Lucozade sports bottle (other sports drinks are available) so that I could control the flow of the batter into the template. Anything squeezey will do – perhaps an old baby bottle you have laying around?

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5. Using your high-tech chefy contraption trace the inner edges of the template with the batter, once set, flood the remaining part of the template

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6. Leave for a minute to firm up and brown slightly, then lift edges of template and gently remove. If this has gone to plan then you should have a nice Peppa head shape – if it hasn’t then you might end up with Daddy Pig after he’s been on a bender

 

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7. Flip over and add some batter ears to the top of the head. Turn out onto a plate, once browned

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8. Grab a teaspoon of fromage frais and create a cheek, mouth and two nostrils. If you don’t want to use yoghurt then try decorating with pink or red fruit of your choice!

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9. Mix the tablespoon of icing sugar with a drop of water so that you have a thick paste

10. Plop two small blobs of the icing sugar mix onto the face to create eyes and then add two raisins for pupils

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Et voila! Your very own Peppa Pig pancakes. Why not add a dash of pink food colouring to the batter for extra pigginess, or mushed up raspberries?

Once the kids have had their fill, the leftovers are yours – take great pleasure in cutting into them veeeeeeeerrrrrry slowly with a sharp instrument (or blunt, depending on your hatred levels).

SNORT.