Ladybird cake

  • Preparation Time30 mins
  • Cooking Time20 mins
  • Serves12
  • DifficultyEasy
2 round 23cm cakes of choice, cooled
2 (230cm) cardboard cake rounds
500ml chocolate ganache, recipe follows
Red vanilla buttercream, recipe follows
10 black liquorice rounds, coin size (for the spots)
2 white wafer sweets (for the eyes)
2 sugar-coated chocolate pieces (for the eyes)
1 red liquorice whip (for the mouth and antennae)

For the chocolate ganache

120ml double cream
175g plain chocolate
4 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 tbsp butter, at room temperature

For the red vanilla buttercream

90g butter
375g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 to 8 tbsp milk
Few drops of red food colouring
1) Place the first cake on one of the cardboard rounds on a rack over a sheet pan. While the ganache is still warm, pour over the cake. Using a palette knife sparingly, gently swipe one or two times to spread the ganache evenly over the top and so that it runs down the sides and covers them. Let the cake sit until the ganache sets, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

2) While the ganache is setting, begin making the wings. Cut the remaining cake in half to make two semi-circular wings. Cut the remaining cardboard round in half as well and place each cake half on one of the cardboard halves. Using the red buttercream and a palette knife, completely ice both halves. Try to make the icing as smooth as possible. Place the black liquorice rounds on the wings to make ladybird spots.

3) Once the ganache is set, assemble the ladybird. Allow 5cm at the front of the ganache cake for the ladybird's face. Place the two wings behind the face with two corners touching right behind the head and at an angle to each other. The wings should be positioned for the ladybird to fly away.

4) Place the round wafers on the face to create eyes. Using a small dab of leftover icing, secure the sugar-coated chocolates to the wafers to make pupils. Cut the liquorice whip to the desired length and lightly press into the ganache to create a mouth. Use the remainder of the liquorice whip to create antennae.

To make the chocolate ganache:
1) Heat the cream in a saucepan set over a medium heat, until almost boiling. Meanwhile, put the chocolate and golden syrup into a bowl.

2) Remove the cream from the heat and pour it over the mixture in the bowl, stirring until the chocolate has melted. Add the vanilla and butter and mix until thoroughly combined.

To make the red vanilla buttercream:
1) In a double boiler over hot water, melt the butter. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

2) Add the butter and icing sugar to the bowl of an electric standing mixer. Beat until the mixture resembles chalky beads. Add the vanilla and the milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until it is a spreadable consistency.

3) Add the red food colouring to achieve a rich red. Beat again until fluffy, adding more milk if necessary.

Cook's note: To cut this cake for serving, remove the wings and slice separately.

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