How To Make A Penguin Cake That Is Brrr-illiant

A cupcake in a red case with white frosting and an icing penguin figure on top.
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Image © RuthBlack, under a Creative Commons license.

Treat your child to an adorable penguin cake for their birthday party with this step by step guide.

You don't need any special tins for this penguin cake recipe, just two round cake pans and some fondant icing will do the trick. This impressive bake is perfect for a penguin birthday party, and will give all your guests happy feet!

You Will Need

For The Cakes: 250g plain flour, 200g caster sugar, 125g butter (at room temperature), 100ml yoghurt, 100ml milk, 3 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp baking powder.

For Decoration: Ready-to-roll fondant icing in white, black and yellow and 5 tbsp of the jam of your choice.

Equipment: A 14cm round cake tin, a 21 cm round cake tin and a cake board or large flat serving plate.

Close up of a boy cracking an egg into the bowl of cake mix to make a penguin cake.
Image © laterjay, under a Creative Commons license.

Method

1) Preheat your oven to 160°C. Grease the cake tins with softened butter or margarine; you could also line them with parchment paper for extra safety.

2) In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt.

3) In a small measuring jug, mix the yoghurt and milk together.

4) In another mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar and cream until you obtain a light, fluffy mixture. Add the eggs one by one, then the vanilla extract.

5) Add a third of the flour mixture, then a third of the yoghurt mixture and mix well. Repeat this process until all the ingredients are combined into one smooth batter.

6) Divide the batter between the two cake tins. Do not fill them up to the top as they should rise when baked.

7) Put the cakes on a rack in the centre of the oven. The small one should take about 25 minutes to cook, and the big one could take up to 45 minutes. To check whether they are done, insert a knife or skewer into the centre of the cakes: if it comes out clean, you can take it out of the oven.

8) Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes then remove them from their tins and leave them on a wire rack for another 15 minutes to finish cooling.

9) Flatten the top of your cakes with a bread knife. On your cake board, place them so that the smaller cake is against the larger one, forming the head and body of your penguin.

A white cake with penguin figures in hats and scarves on top.
Image © ivabalk under a Creative Commons license.

10) With a spoon or a spatula, cover both cakes with the jam of your choice, including the sides. Roll out the white fondant icing thinly and cut it in two large pieces, one larger than the other. Wrap it over your rolling pin and cover each cake with it. Smooth the icing with your hands and trim any excess with a knife.

11) Roll out the black fondant icing thinly. Cut out two circles: one 18cm wide, and one 25cm wide. From the smaller circle, carve out the shape of the penguin's face. This should look like two black arches - if you are unsure of the design, refer to a photo. From the larger circle, carve out the penguin's belly, leaving one large arch. Place the penguin's face on the smaller cake, and the belly on its body, the larger cake.

12) From black fondant, make two small circles for the penguin's eyes and place them on its face. From yellow fondant, make a beak and two feet (diamond shapes) and place them on the cake, using jam as an adhesive if needed. With additional black fondant, you can make the penguin's arms and place them on either side of its body.

Alternative Ideas

If you are after some more simple penguin cake ideas, you could try simply making a single round cake using the recipe above and covering it in white fondant icing. This will be your base to create an adorable snow scene on, use a penguin cake topper or fondant penguins!

To make a fondant penguin, make a small '8' shaped 3D shape from black icing, and make a small flat "8" shape in white icing to place on its front. Make a tiny beak from yellow icing and tiny black eyes. Place these and any other decorations of your choosing on top of your birthday cake!

Grandma and grandchild sat in the kitchen talking while baking.
Image © Andrea Piacquadio, under a Creative Commons license.

If you are unable to get ready-to-roll icing, you could make your penguin cake using royal icing. To make royal icing, whisk four egg whites until they are lightly whipped, then incorporate 800g of icing sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice and whisk until the mixture is shiny and sticks up in stiff peaks. Layer your cake(s) with the white royal icing before decorating, or reserve some to dye black to decorate your penguin cake. You could also decorate your cake with buttercream icing.

Tips And Recommendations

This penguin birthday cake should serve about 12 people. Children as young as two can enjoy a slice, but it contains a lot of sugar so be mindful of the portions!

Although it is best eaten fresh, the sponge cakes can be made in advance and kept in a cool, dry place in an airtight container for up to five days. Once decorated, you can freeze your cake in an airtight container for up to two months!

If you have any guests with allergies, you could substitute the plain flour for a gluten-free alternative such as spelt.

This penguin cake can be made using your favourite cake recipe: red velvet, chocolate, lemon drizzle, the possibilities are endless! If you are short for time, you could also make this recipe quicker by using a ready-made cake mix. Simply follow the instructions on the packet and decorate as above.

If you want to adapt the size of this penguin birthday cake, you can choose two slightly bigger or smaller round pans and adjust your quantities in line with this.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

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