Gluten Free • Paleo • Sugar Free • Dairy Free

Owl Cake

Owl Cake 10

Before Miss L was born I chose an Owl theme for her room. It was all based on a crocheted baby rug I’d seen on Pinterest. As I didn’t yet know the sex of my baby I made it in neutral tones, but since having my pink baby 12 months ago the Owls have turned very girly. She has Owl toys, onesies, a giant pillow and pictures hanging on her wall. And now she has an Owl birthday cake.

This Owl Cake was Miss L’s second 1st birthday cake (the first being this mammoth Snow White cake). I trawled the Internet for ideas to make an Owl cake but they were all made with layers of fondant or slathered in artificially coloured buttercream. As has always been my mission, I wanted to make a birthday cake that looked great (albeit dorky and straight out of the Women’s Weekly birthday cake bible) and was good for you too, or at the very least didn’t send the kids off the rails and bouncing into walls.

Owl Cake 2

Kids birthday cakes should be memorable, colourful and fun (remember this Iron Man and a dog cake?). This can be a challenge when catering for allergies and intolerances, but all it takes is a splash of imagination and lots of frozen berries! This Owl Cake doesn’t use any colourings (not even the natural variety) to make the vivid pink and purple. Instead raspberries and blueberries are cooked to intensify their colour and then whipped in coconut cream (you can replace this with thick dairy cream if preferred). To ensure that the berry cream forms a thick, pipe-able frosting I have added some dissolved gelatin. This firms the cream up just enough to make it stable but not jelly like. I have used a 6 and a 8 point star tip to cover the cake, starting with the pink and making an arch at the front, which is then filled with purple cream. The recipe makes a large batch of pink cream and there will probably be left overs. Such a shame that you’ll have to eat the left overs!

Don’t want a pink Owl Cake? Too easy! Try using Chocolate frosting or Chocolate Cream (using gelatin again) to make a brown owl with white cream as the contrast. Seriously, you could make a striped, patchy, tie dye looking owl. It’s up to your crazy imagination!! I can totally see Hoot-a-belle!

Owl Cake 6

Owl Cake 7

Underneath all that berry cream is a Chocolate Banana Cake. The cake is cooked in 2; a 1.5Lt  heat proof bowl and a 6-inch cake tin. The idea is to have a domed cake on top and a round flat cake on the bottom. If you decide to use a different sized bowl or tin, just make sure that widest part of the dome is about the same width as the round cake. Before assembling the cake make sure you flatten the top (which becomes the bottom) of the bowl dome cake. This makes for a smooth sandwich with the flat cake, and the left overs can be used to form the Owls ears (if you don’t need to flatten the cake then just use extra Apple pieces to form the ears). Between the two cakes place a layer of chocolate ganache, then cover the entire cake in ganache (this acts as a crumb coat) before freezing it for at least 1 hour. Trust me; it will make doing the frosting a lot easier if the cake and ganache are ‘set’.

Here are my hints:

  • Make the creams at the same time as the cake is cooking. This way they can be thickening in the fridge while the cakes cool. You need to make sure that the berries (especially the blueberries) have been squashed or blended otherwise they’ll choke up the piping tip and you’ll get a blockage. If this does happen simply remove the berry with a skewer and continue.
  • If I remember, I like to cook my berries earlier in the day so they aren’t too hot and melt the cream.
  • You can use a bigger bowl and a 20cm/8 inch tin by increasing the recipe quantities by 1/3 (to use 12 eggs).
  • Don’t worry if you’re not an expert piper; neither am I! I have used a disposable pack from the supermarket and placed the serving plate on a lazy susan (a turning table) so I could pipe in a continuous motion. It’s far from perfect but Miss L didn’t mind!
  • If piping still gives you nightmares then use an off set spatula or a knife and spread the cream on the cake, giving it some texture as you go. This will give your owl a feathered effect.
Owl Cake 3

So you see, making a fantastic birthday cake doesn’t have to compromise your health values. I’m all for elaborate parties and I believe you can do it without sugar filled goodie bags and soft drink. Miss L loved her 1st birthday cakes, she smashed down her roast lamb and sweet potato mash smothered in gravy for her birthday tea (her favourite foods) and her new dolly gets lots of sweet cuddles.

Owl Cake 5
Owl Cake
Yields 1
This Owl Cake is made vibrant without the use of any artificial colourings or flavourings.
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Prep Time
24 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
28 hr
Prep Time
24 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
28 hr
INGREDIENTS
Owl Cake
  1. Chocolate Banana Cake baked in a 1.5Lt heat proof bowl and a 6 inch tin
  2. Raspberry Cream
  3. Blueberry Cream
  4. 2 slices of Apple
  5. Chocolate Chips
  6. Carrot
Chocolate Banana Cake
  1. 9 Eggs
  2. 3/4 Cup Maple Syrup/Rice Malt Syrup
  3. 1 Cup plus 1 1/2 Tablespoon Milk (of choice)
  4. 3/4 Cup mashed ripe Banana
  5. 1 1/2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
  6. 3/4 Cup Cocoa
  7. 1 Cup Coconut Flour
  8. 3/4 teaspoon Bicarb Soda/Baking Soda
  9. 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  10. 4 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
Chocolate Ganache
  1. 2/3 Cup Coconut Cream
  2. 2 Tablespoons MapleSyrup
  3. 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  4. 1/2 Cup Cocoa
Raspberry Cream
  1. 300 grams Raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  2. 2 1/4 Cups Coconut Cream (place 2 400ml cans of Coconut Cream/Milk opened in the fridge overnight. Spoon off the thickened cream and discard the watery remains)
  3. 1 Tablespoons Maple Syrup (Optional, depending on tartness of berries)
  4. 2 Tablespoons Water
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons Gelatine
  6. 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  7. 3 teaspoons Maple Syrup
Blueberry Cream
  1. 100 grams Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  2. 1/2 Tablespoon Maple Syrup (Optional, depending on tartness of berries)
  3. 1/2 Tablespoon Water
  4. 1/2 teaspoon Gelatine
  5. 3/4 Cup Coconut Cream (place 1 400ml can of Coconut Cream/Milk opened in the fridge overnight. Spoon off the thickened cream and discard the watery remains)
  6. 1 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  7. 1 teaspoons Maple Syrup
INSTRUCTIONS
Owl Cake Construction
  1. Place the cooled 6-inch cake on a serving plate. Spread ganache over the cake.
  2. Take the domed cake and flatten the top (or the bottom; depending on which way you look at it! Flatten any rise on the widest section to make sure it sits flat on top of the 6-inch cake). Keep any off cuts to make the owls ears. Take the domed cake and cut in half horizontally.
  3. Place the larger piece on top of the 6-inch cake and spread ganache over the top. Place the last piece of cake on top. The cake will now look like a large dome.
  4. Cover the entire cake with Ganache. Take the left overs and cut out a triangle shape. Place the triangles on the top/side of the cake in the place of ear. Cover with Ganache. If there are no left overs use apple pieces in place of cake.
  5. Cover the ganached cake with cling wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour (overnight is fine; just allow enough time for the cake to defrost in the fridge- approx. 5 hours).
  6. After 1 hour remove the cake from the freezer. Attach a 6 or 8-star tip to a piping bag and fill with the raspberry cream. Pipe the raspberry cream all over the cake, leaving an arch area over the front chest area and in the front part of the ears.
  7. After completing the raspberry cream, use the same star tip and fill a clean piping bag with blueberry cream. Pipe into the front chest and the ear sections.
  8. Place 2 apple slices on the front of the cake for eyes and attach 2 round chocolate chips for pupils (you could also use sultanas or dates).
  9. Using a sharp knife cut the end off a carrot for the beak and make 2 feet.
  10. Place the cake in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving.
  11. Keep the cake refrigerated between serves.
Chocolate Banana Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 175C/350F. Grease and line a 6 inch round cake tin and grease a 1.5Lt heat proof bowl. Place a dmall piece of baking paper on the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Sift the coconut flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl. Add the salt and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk the eggs for 5 minutes, or until fluffy.
  4. Add the banana, maple syrup, milk and vanilla extract and continue to mix until combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  6. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are incorporated – about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of mixing bowl (you may need to do this a couple of times) and beat cake batter on medium speed for about 30 secomds so that the batter is fluffy.
  7. Pour the batter into the baking tin and bowl and smooth out the top. The bowl should be 80% full.
  8. Bake for approximately 30 minutes (6 inch cake) and 45 minutes (bowl) or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool before removing from the tin.
Chocolate Ganache
  1. Spoon the thickened cream out of the can, discarding the watery remains.
  2. Put the cream, vanilla and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat until it has combined and is in a liquid state (you don’t want it to boil- just be warm).
  3. Remove from the heat and sift in the cocoa, stirring until combined and smooth. Put it in the fridge (or freezer if you are rushed for time) until it reaches the right spreadable consistency (5-30 minutes depending on how hot the cream got).
Raspberry Cream
  1. Place the raspberries, maple syrup and water in a small saucepan and bring to a slow, rolling boil.
  2. Decrease the heat to medium/low and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until thick. Ensure that the pot is stirred regularly to prevent sticking or burning.
  3. Use a masher or blender to break down the berries slightly if still chunky. Allow the mixture to cool completely before adding to the cream.
  4. In a bowl of a kitchen stand with a whisk attachment, add the thickened coconut cream, maple syrup and vanilla extract and whisk on high until thick.
  5. Turn the whisk off and add the cooled berry mixture. Whisk on medium until combined.
  6. Take 2 Tablespoons of the cream and place in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cream and allow to thicken for 5 minutes. Place that small bowl in a larger bowl full of boiling water, ensuring that no water is able to get into the gelatin mixture. Stir the gelatin mix until it has melted. Add the gelatine liquid to the cream and whip to fully incorporate.
  7. Place the cream in the fridge and allow to thicken before using (allow 4 hours)
Blueberry Cream
  1. Place the bluberries, maple syrup and water in a small saucepan and bring to a slow, rolling boil.
  2. Decrease the heat to medium/low and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until thick. Ensure that the pot is stirred regularly to prevent sticking or burning.
  3. Use a masher or blender to break down the berries slightly if still chunky. Allow the mixture to cool completely before adding to the cream.
  4. In a bowl of a kitchen stand with a whisk attachment, add the thickened coconut cream, maple syrup and vanilla extract and whisk on high until thick.
  5. Turn the whisk off and add the cooled berry mixture. Whisk on medium until combined.
  6. Take 2 Tablespoons of the cream and place in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cream and allow to thicken for 5 minutes. Place that small bowl in a larger bowl full of boiling water, ensuring that no water is able to get into the gelatin mixture. Stir the gelatin mix until it has melted. Add the gelatine liquid to the cream and whip to fully incorporate.
  7. Place the cream in the fridge and allow to thicken before using (allow 4 hours)
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