Lion cake

Initially dreading having to bake a lion cake, I was thrilled to find that this themed birthday cake was super simple to make and looked like a real showstopper.

You will need
For the sponge:
400g golden caster sugar
400g self-raising flour
2tsp baking powder
400g unsalted softened butter
8 eggs
4tbsp milk

For the filling:
100g unsalted softened butter
140g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
170g raspberry jam

For the decoration:
450g yellow fondant icing
150g white fondant icing
Pink food colouring
Black food colouring
Orange food colouring
600g icing sugar
300g unsalted softened butter
2tsp vanilla extract


For the cake and filling:
1). Pre-heat the oven to 170C (fan) and grease two 30cm circle tins

2). Add all the cake ingredients into a large bowl and mix well until smooth

3). Divide the mixture between both tins and ensure the mixture is level

4). Bake for 20 mins, or until golden and cooked throughout. Leave to cool on a rack until room temperature

5). For the filling, beat the butter and vanilla extract. Gradually add in 140g icing sugar until smooth

6). Spread the buttercream filling over one sponge and jam onto the other and then place the sponges together

How to decorate the cake:
7). Roll the yellow icing out until roughly 75mm thick and wide enough to cover the cake. (Sprinkling a bit of icing sugar on the surface will help to stop the fondant icing sticking)

8). Once ready, roll the yellow fondant icing around the rolling pin to help move the fondant without tearing. Place gently over the cake and roll to cover the whole cake. Gently press the icing to fit it into place

9). Split the white fondant icing into three equal parts. With the first, add a cap of pink food colouring and fold into the fondant until mixed well – feel free to add a bit more colouring until you get the desired pink

10). With the second section of white fondant, add a couple caps of black food colouring and fold until the icing is black all over

11). Split the pink fondant into four balls, to make the ears, flatten two balls and push your little finger (or the blunt side of your knife) until the middle and pinch at the bottom. 

To make the nose, flatten the last two pink balls and add three tiny black balls onto each.

12). To make the eyes, using your white icing, roll it into two balls and flatten with your hand (again, depending on how you want yours to look, use less fondant to change the size of eyes)

Next, use some of the black fondant to make two slightly smaller sized balls and flatten. Using a knife or scissors, cut a triangle out of the black circles and then place them onto the white circles

13). With the leftover black icing, make a triangle shape to sit next to the pink balls for the nose

14). Once you've prepared all the facial parts, add them onto the centre of the cake – apart from the ears.

15). Remove the excess yellow icing by slowly cutting near to the bottom of the cake. Be careful not to go to close to the cake that you see the sponge

16). Beat 300g butter with 2tsp vanilla extract together, gradually adding 600g icing sugar. Once mixed well, add a couple drops of orange food colouring and fold until the colour is the same throughout

17). Add the buttercream into a piping bag and attach nozzle 30 (if you've got a Tala icing set). Pipe an inch or two away from the face, up to the edge of the cake to create the lion's mane. 

NB: I'd piped the icing using nozzle 30 around most of the cake and left a couple gaps to fill in using nozzle 98 to give a variety of texture – feel free to use whatever you like or have access too

18). Place the fondant ears onto the piped area at the top to finish of the lion's face

19). With the leftover orange butter cream, use nozzle 98 and pipe around the edge of the cake at the bottom. I piped straight on to the cake, squeezing a bit of icing out and then stopping and moving on to do the same next to it. This resembled iced gems, but it's you're cake so get creative!

Hope my tutorial is as easy to follow as it was to make! Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions via Twitter or email – I'd love to see what your cakes turn out like.

If you're after other ideas for baking occasion cakes, check out my sweet recipes.


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