Remember the Owl Cake Disaster? After saving that one I was ready to swear off baking for a while. The tall one, however, had other ideas. Her class is in charge of a fundraising event, Hootenanny for Haiti. The logo is, guess what, an owl. That’s right. So on Tuesday she informed me that she’d told her teacher about the cake from her birthday and that I was probably making another one for the Hootenanny. At least she put in probably. Although she may have added that in when she noticed my expression half-way through the sentence. Oh well, I had signed up to bring a baked good of some kind. I’d pretty much planned on phoning it in with break and bake cookies given my work schedule, but what the hell. And because of this, my dear readers, I have an owl cake tutorial for you. I know, I think its pretty awesome too.
So, like all great cakes, this one begins with cake batter. This one is a chocolate cake, using my favorite recipe. Gather your dry ingredients.
And mix them up.
Mix them up. Swear briefly when you realize that you’re out of vegetable oil. Decide olive oil will have to do and move on. Pour the wet into the dry and stir. Then add the boiling water. Do not do this in a mixer. The batter is really thin, it will just splatter everywhere. You’d think that having done this and made a giant mess just a few days ago I would have remembered that. I’m writing it down now just for you.
Clean up your giant mess and pour the batter into your pans. I used two 8 inch rounds and the top of the giant cupcake pan of doom (don’t judge, I got it for $2 on clearance). And remember, do not overfill.
Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350. Once the cakes are cool you can begin the assembly. First, preparing your frosting. Given that this was my second cake of the week and that it was going to have to sit out at her school all day, I went with store-bought. Lots of store-bought frosting (not pictured, the can of white frosting that I forgot I needed until part-way through the process).
I stacked in front of the fruit bowl so it looked healthier. I like to whip the frosting in the mixer, it’s easier to spread and I pretend that whipping air in makes it go farther. In reality I’m pretty sure that nothing affects the chemical composition of this stuff, but I try. Dump a dollop on top of the first layer and spread it around. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it’s just got to glue things together.
Trim the bottom two layers so they are closer to the circumference of the top. Use trimmings as needed to fill in the shape, glueing on with frosting. Spread frosting on the bits you’re not using and enjoy. Yum, cake.
Pretty messy. Don’t worry, we’ll cover all that up. You’re going to need a frosting gun though. You do have one, right? Good. I used the larger star-shaped tip for the body and the smaller one for the belly. In the party version I used sliced almonds for the belly, but this version needed to be nut free.Starting at the base, working along in rows with the frosting. Use multiple layers to fill in any dents. Or holes. Etc. Not that mine had any issues. Leave a space in the middle for white frosting.
Fill in the belly with white frosting using the smaller star tip. Forget to take a picture of this part because you’re getting little tired of decorating the cake. Then prepare your candy. Runts, Oreos and a few Jr. Mints left over from the last one.
Eyes are Junior Mints in the center of half a Oreo. Eat the other half of the Oreo. And then several whole ones out of the package. They’re extra good with a Junior Mint in between. Remember, we’re not judging here. Place a banana runt where you think the beak should be and then use six more to make the claws. And voila, Owl Cake. Or Owlish. Good enough I say. Especially for an unplanned mid-week baking project.
Anyone else had to scramble to prep for a school event? It seems like they’re non-stop this time of year.