So 2013 was the summer of the ladybirds in Ireland. They were everywhere! My almost 2 year old kept finding them in the garden and shouting LABY-DIRD LABY-DIRD.
It was a toss up between a train cake and a ladybird when it came to his birthday, I decided to go with the ladybird, as trains will probably be popular for many years to come.
380g /12 oz. margarine
380g /12 oz. castor sugar
6 eggs, beaten
380g /12 oz. sieved self-rising flour
Food colouring if marbling cake
560g icing sugar
1-2 tblsp of water/soya or rice milk
900g icing sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons water
margarine for greasing
red food colouring
1. Grease and line a 9 inch cake tin with baking paper or greaseproof paper.
2. Grease a glass pyrex bowl and one hollow in a muffin tin.
3. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
4. Cream sugar and margarine until fluffy.
5. Add eggs a little at a time stirring continuously.
6. Add flour a little at a time and continue stirring.
7. If you wish to marble the cake, divide mixture into two separate bowls. If you don’t put half the mixture in cake tin, half in bowl and a small amount in muffin case.
8. Add one food colouring to one bowl, add very gradually and mix until you get desired colour.
9. Add a different food colouring to the other mixture until desired colour reached.
10. Using 2 similar sized spoons (one for each colour), put a spoon of one mixture into cake tin and bowl, then put a spoon of the other colour on top. Repeat this until all the mixture is used. Do not shake tin or mix at all.
11. Bake at 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4 for 30 to 35 mins.
12. Allow to cool for a while before turning over onto cooling rack. Be extra careful taking cake out of bowl.
13. Lay out with cake that has been baked in bowl on top, upside down to give the rounded shape and put the bun in place for the head.
To Make Buttercream:
Beat the margarine until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
Add the rest of the icing sugar and one tablespoon of water and beat the mixture until creamy and smooth. Add more water/soya milk if necessary.
Ice the cake using a palette knife or spatula.
To Make Fondant:
You can of course use ready to roll icing, but it is quite easy to make your own fondant. I used the recipe from All Recipes UK.
Put the marshmallows in a bowl and put into microwave on high for 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of water. Grease a large spoon with margarine, stir the marshmallows and keep melting in 30 second intervals until marshmallows are smooth.
Add red food colouring at this stage (I waited until after adding icing sugar but it was quite difficult to mix in as the mixture was very sticky).
Add icing sugar a small bit at a time, stirring each time until it’s all mixed in.
Grease your hands with margarine and knead on a greased surface until smooth.
Roll out and drape over the cake.
Draw line down centre of ladybird’s back with butter knife.
Place dairy free chocolate buttons on ladybird’s back for spots.
Use a different colour fondant for the ladybird’s head.
Put 2 jelly tots in for the ladybird’s eyes.
Cut a length of black licorice or a black pipe cleaner in half and use for antennae.