If I went on the Great British Bake Off, my showstopper cake would be a massive replica of Paul Hollywood’s face. I would emulate his lovely year-round tan with butterscotch frosting and stick on silver spray-painted chocolate Matchmakers to get his spiky grey hair just right. I would probably win the whole thing, for sure. Watch out, Paul…
Anyway, my daughter E has just turned two. She is hugely obsessed with penguins. If this bird ever needed a brand ambassador, she would be it. She wears clothes with penguins on, demands to be read books about them, watches DVDs with penguins…and every night sleeps with her hand clasped around the throat of her beloved toy penguin. An edible replica of this portly Arctic bird can, thankfully, be easily fashioned from sponge and bucketloads of frosting. It’s a simple enough job, there’s no finesse to it whatsoever, I don’t do fiddly cakes.
I used double the quantity of this delicious vanilla syrup-soaked sponge cake recipe, and adapted Smitten Kitchen’s frosting recipe by adding a 300g tub of cream cheese to the mixture. When I had used the pale frosting to make the face and tummy, I then coloured the remainder with two melted 100g bars of Green & Black’s 70% dark chocolate to make the brown frosting for the body and wings.
Here is how I did the construction job – I basically took two round sponges (one slightly bigger than the other) and made the head and wings from one, and kept the larger one whole to form the body.
Tip: place small pieces of greaseproof paper under the sponge so that you don’t dirty the cake board with icing. That way, you can just whip the paper pieces out from under the sponge once the cake is iced.
I drew the outline of the face and tummy in paler frosting using a piping bag before filling it all in and spreading with a palette knife:
I then used darker frosting (the same vanilla frosting mixed with melted chocolate) to slather over the rest of the body, using a palette knife.
Penguin was sinfully good. The wings got eaten first.