Chocolate owl cake

Chocolate owl cake

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(25 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 1 hr Cook: 1 hr

Skill level



Serves 25

A fun chocolate birthday cake decorated with buttons, biscuits and marzipan - bound to be a hit with young children

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving



  • 325g butter
  • 325g plain chocolate
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 325g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 450g light soft brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 300ml soured cream

For the icing

  • 250g butter
  • 350g icing sugar, sieved
  • 50g cocoa, sieved
  • 2 tbsp milk


  • 8 giant white chocolate buttons
  • 2 packs milk chocolate buttons
  • 2 chocolate Flake bars
  • 60g yellow marzipan
  • 125g pack chocolate finger biscuits
  • candles (optional)
  • writing icing (optional)

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Want to know how this works? Read all about it here.


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 4. Base line a 20cm round and a 18cm square cake tin.
  2. Put the butter and chocolate into a saucepan and stir over a very gentle heat until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. Sieve the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Add the sugar, breaking up any lumps if necessary. Beat together the eggs and soured cream and pour onto the flour mixture. Add the melted chocolate and mix all well together until smooth.
  4. Divide the mixture equally between the two tins and bake in the oven for about 55 mins - 1 hour. A good way to check that the mixture is equally divided is to put a cocktail stick into each mixture and the levels should be the same.
  5. To make the icing, put the butter into a bowl and beat until creamy. Add the icing sugar and cocoa a little at a time beating well between each addition. Add the milk to mix to a soft spreading consistency.
  6. To assemble, place the round cake on a large wooden board or tray (the cake will need to served on this). Place the round cake tin on the square cake about 12cm from one edge and cut around the edge of the tin. Remove the smaller piece and place at one end of the round cake to represent the ears.
  7. Using the remains of the square cake cut almost in half to give an oblong (for the fence) and a semi circle (for the wings). Place the oblong at the bottom of the owl cake. Slice the semi circle in half horizontally through the middle. Arrange one piece each side of the round cake to make the wings.
  8. Spread the butter icing all over the cake. Cut the flake bars into small pieces and arrange on the wings to represent feathers. Keep the flake crumbs. Arrange milk chocolate buttons over the body. Place chocolate fingers on the bottom cake to make the fence. Using a fork, mark the icing to make the owl’s ears. Use the flake crumbs to make a v-shape between the ears like a 'widow’s peak'. Arrange the white chocolate buttons in two circles to make the eyes and place a milk chocolate button in the centre of each. Use a third of the marzipan to shape a beak and use the remaining marzipan to make two feet.
  9. Place the candles on the ‘fence’ part of the cake. You can also pipe a child’s name or message on the fence using writing icing.

Recipe from, June 2012

Comments, questions and tips

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lisav1426's picture
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Have made this a few times and it is now my go-to choc cake recipe. Tho have always halved the quantities for two 20cm cakes sandwiched, used this icing recipe but done my own decorations. The cake recipe is easy and foolproof. Following recipe exactly it is rich moist and fudgy...fabulous. Have also used caster sugar and flora baking block....light moist and still fabulous. Used milk choc by mistake once...little less choccy but yep, still fab!!! Made it with my three young kids. Yep you guessed..still fab! Oh and always use sainsburys basics flour, chocolate and butter. Yummy, scrummy, love it!

cherryb78's picture
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I made this cake for my daughters 7th birthday and everyone was impressed by the look and taste of it, even my daughter!

AngelaU's picture
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I made this for my nephew a while ago and it is lovely. I made it a couple of days in advance and it was still really nice on the day.

nickythomas42's picture
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I used the chocolate cake from this recipe for my daughter's birthday cake and it is a real winner. I used half milk and half dark chocolate as it was for little ones and it was delicious. Lovely and moist and still really fresh 4 days later. This is definitely going to be my chocolate cake recipe of choice from now on!

alicetranter's picture
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Made this for my sister's 15th birthday and she loved it! The whole family gobbled it within 2 days. A really moist fudgy sponge however icing was quite sweet. Assembling and decoration were easy, overall 5 star birthday cake!

mcnosh's picture
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Made this for my grandson's first birthday. I would recommend using a deep round tin and a deep square tin as it rises considerably. Mine needed an extra 10/15 mins in the oven. Was great fun to make and decorate and looked fabulous. I found it far too rich for my tastes but my grandson certainly enjoyed his very first taste of chocolate! His mum said that it was chocolatey enough to last him until his 2nd birthday! Everyone else loved it.

mrsraggle's picture

Made this for my daughter's second birthday and it was fantastic! Beautiful moist chocolate cake, and so easy to decorate! Five stars.'s picture

Does anyone know if it's ok to make this the night before, or best to make on the day? Am preparing to make for my daughters 1st birthday tomorrow!

Frantic Flapjack's picture

I made this for my son's 21st birthday and it was a great success. It turned out perfectly and looked very cute. I was really impressed with this recipe as not only does it look good but tastes great too. I would love to see more novelty cakes like this on this site. Tried to give it 5 stars but can't get it to work :(

luvlybubbly's picture

Have just made the sponges ready for icing tomorrow and the cake has exploded in the oven! Anybody any idea why? I think i can salvage it by covering it in icing but i must have lost about 1/5th of the mixture in the bottom of the oven :-(

alex101's picture

Same I also have an exploded cake in my oven! I'm not sure what it will end up tasting like but about 20% of it all over the inside of the oven. :(

cheflambey's picture

I had the same problem, but it didn't seem to loose much of the cake as it tripled in volume. Did yours turn out ok in the end?

cheflambey's picture

I made this cake for my daughters 5th birthday and it was my first attempt into the realms of birthday cakes and was impressed with the finished product. It is simply chocolate heaven, the sponge is the best chocolate cake i have ever made or tasted. And it had a wow factor when unveiled at the party. All the mums where flocking around me after that.....under the watchful eye of the wife of course!

janelewis26's picture

I wanted a new chocolate cake recipe and used this to make a chocolate sponge cake. I have made it twice now, once with milk chocolate and once with 2 Terry's dark chocolate oranges and both times I had nothing but compliments!!! It's a fantastic recipe!!!

missmap's picture

I made this for my son's first birthday and it looked and tasted great (despite my lack of cake decorating skills). I used Oreo biscuits with the top taken off for the eyes and yellow jelly beans or the beak and claws. I would definitely make this cake again.

simbasurrey's picture

I made this gorgeous cake for my sons second birthday yesterday. Easy to make and everyone was impressed. I sliced both cakes and added the icing and covered the cake in chocolate ganache.

simbasurrey's picture

I made this gorgeous cake for my sons second birthday yesterday. It was so easy to make and everyone was impressed. I sliced both cake and added some of the icing inside and covered the cake with a chocolate ganache. Will make it again.

cookies123's picture

very nice 5stars

konier1's picture

I made the cake without soured cream, just same amount of milk... still turned out most delicious cake ever!! all the family loved it, definitely recommend it as birthday cake for people both young and old! I made it for my brother in law's 25th (or 26th, i can't remember...) and he (and everyone else) loved it! 5 stars!!

last edited: 16:06, 21st Jun, 2013
chloehodges44's picture

Made this for my little boys 1st birthday, he loves owls. Easy to make, delicious and everyone loved it. I used the chocolate buttons to make mine a brown owl with a white and brown speckled chest and I also used more flake so that I covered the wings completely not just the tops. It looked brilliant, would def recommend this recipe!!