Buttercream is an easy icing for beginners — any mistakes can be quickly smoothed over. This cake uses a small amount of sugarpaste for making the puppy's eyes — the quantity is so tiny that it's easier to buy a small packet than make your own. Use any cake except a fruit cake.
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- 1 quantity cake mixture for a 15 cm (6 inch) round cake
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, sifted
- 500 g (1 lb) buttercream
- 60 g (2 oz) sugarpaste
- black paste food colouring
- 3 liquorice ‘laces’
- 1 gold foil-covered chocolate coin
- 3.5 litre ovenproof mixing bowl
- 30 cm (12 inch) round gold cake board
- cocktail stick
- fine paintbrush
- narrow tartan ribbon
Baking the cake
Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F/Gas 2–3). Grease the base of the mixing bowl and line with a circle of non-stick baking paper. Spoon the cake mixture into the bowl and level the surface. Bake for about 40 minutes or until firm. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
Trim the domed top off the cake and turn the cake upside down to give a flat surface. Beat the cocoa into a third of the buttercream.
Covering the cake
Reserve 3 tablespoons of the plain buttercream, then spread the remainder over the cake, covering it as smoothly as possible. Spread a little buttercream on the board at the bottom of the cake and build it up to form a ‘neck’. Gently fluff up the surface of the buttercream with a cocktail stick.
Spoon the reserved plain buttercream onto the cake in a mound just below the centre and spread it into a snout shape. Dampen a palette knife and smooth down the snout area to contrast with the fluffed-up surface of the rest of the buttercream.
Eyes and mouth
Spread a little of the chocolate buttercream over one eye area of the cake. Shape two white eyes from the sugarpaste and position on the cake, placing one over the area of chocolate buttercream.
Colour a small piece of sugarpaste black and shape it into a nose. Press gently into position.
Arrange pieces of liquorice ‘lace’ around the eyes, pressing them gently into the buttercream. Form a smiling mouth from a little more liquorice.
Spread small spoonfuls of the chocolate buttercream down each side of the dog's face. Flatten with a palette knife, widening at the base to shape ears. Fluff up lightly with a cocktail stick. Secure more liquorice around the ears to outline.
Paint the centres of the eyes black with food colouring and a fine paintbrush. Arrange the ribbon around the puppy's neck, securing the gold coin to it with a dot of buttercream.