Today on the blog, I’m thrilled to welcome Danielle to share her brilliant version of a Giggle and Hoot Cake, that anyone can make!
Guest post by Danielle from Keeping Up with the Holsbys
Giggle and Hoot are pretty big in my house.
I was a No TV kind of Mum for the first 14 months of my son’s life but then we were introduced to the Giggle and Hoot bedtime hour. We only catch about half of it after the bath time shenanigans but trust me, half an hour of ‘In The Night Garden’ is quite enough. It’s a nice way wind up the day; my son and I schnuggle on the couch together and reflect on the ’5 Steps To Bed’ before we go do them. I dare say my second born, due any tick of the clock, will be aware of the joys of television considerably sooner.
Although my personal Giggle and Hoot crush definitely leans more towards Jimmy Giggle (he can sing, he can dance, he’s kind to animals — well, owls — and plushy toys, and he kinda rocks yellow flannelet), my son’s love is certainly more in the arena of that lovable, feathered fellow, Hoot. Whenever he sees any owl, anywhere, he gives a resounding, “Hoot Hoot!”
My son, which I call D Man, recently turned 2, and although I have been dying to crack into my Vintage Edition Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book (the Cake Bible of my youth), none of those cakes seemed quite right for this momentous occasion. My son needed something visually arresting, something recognisable; a friend he could eat. He needed Hoot, and I was going to give it to him.
I’m a baker, sure, breads, slices and even multi-tiered gourmet cake that would make some bakers quake at the knees but I am no cake decorator. No, no, I am not. Too fiddly, too intricate, and a whole different ball game – but I wasn’t scared. I was pumped. Like a good athlete, I planned it all in my head first, I walked myself through the process. I studied the attempts of others and I primed myself for success…and you know what? It wasn’t as hard as I expected, and it was actually a bit of fun!
I used the Women’s Weekly Butter Cake recipe, paired it with the Cream Cheese Frosting (from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook), added a little marzipan for other bits and boom to make the Hoot-a-licious Hootabulous Hooterrific Cake.
When I bought the cake out to the table, you should have seen the children’s little faces. Their eyes widened, their lips pursed and a collective “Hoooooot” was sighed. I succeeded in my mission.
How to make a Giggle and Hoot Cake
The Day Before
You’ll need to start your cake a day before as one day old cake is easier to work with. I’ve also heard refrigerating your cake before cutting it can make it easier too.
You will need
(Don’t think about the butter:sugar ratio too much, it’s a special occasion!)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or essence if that’s what you have)
1 cup caster sugar
3 cups, self-raising flour – sifted (so boring, so worth it)
2/3 cup milk
(I had heaps left over but too much is better than not enough at the last minute)
375g low fat cream cheese
1 cup pure icing sugar (more or less to taste)
red, yellow and blue food colouring
two white marshmallows
two little something’s for eyes (I used little liquorice rounds, but choc drops would work too)
a handful of raspberry bullets
a packet of marzipan or ready made fondant icing
1. Pre-heat oven to 180C.
2. Have butter at room temperature, beat butter with vanilla until light and creamy.
3. Add sugar, beat until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Stir in half flour with half of the milk. Stir until combined.
6. Repeat with remaining flour, stir lightly and then beat lightly until mixture is smooth.
7. Spread mixture into lined rectangular tin. I used a 13 x 9 x 2 inch tin lined with baking paper.
8. Bake until golden and skewer comes out clean. Approx 40 minutes.
My cake took about 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and, most importantly, put of the way of little hands that may like to sneak up over the top of the counter and grab handfuls (learn from my mistake, people!).
The Day of the Party
Shaping the cake
Below are pictures of how I shaped the Giggle and Hoot Cake. I looked at a few Googled images of Hoot cakes, but they were mostly professionally made and sitting up. Instead, I got a little funky with it and carved him, a la Michelangelo’s David, but in my kitchen, with a blue floral Nana apron on. Put your cake on the tray you plan on serving it on so you don’t need to move it again. I used a foil covered plastic tray.
1. Beat the cheese and butter until it’s light, creamy and smooth.
2. Add icing and beat.
3. Pop a few tablespoons of icing into a separate bowl for your wings. Mix drops of both yellow and red colouring to get orange.
4. Add blue colouring, drop by drop, still beating lightly until you get the desired colour.
Putting it together
1. Keep wings separate from the rest of the cake for the moment.
2. Spread the cake body evenly with icing, ensuring all is covered and sides are even. Don’t worry about getting it on the foil as you can run some kitchen roll around it later and clean it up. To get a smooth finish, use a big, flat edge of a knife over once it’s covered.
3. Ice your wings and position them next to the cake body.
4. Roll out your marzipan fondant to create eyes and heart.
5. Add some food colouring to extra fondant for legs and beak. Position on cake as shown in the picture below.
6. Place bullets on the wings like Hoot’s stitching.
7. Place a little icing behind marshmallow and stick on the fondant eyes. Then do the same with the liquorise rounds.
6. The beak is a bit of luck but the fondant is very malleable so have a play until it looks right. I have no suggestions for you here. This was my second attempt as the first looked like a cat’s bum, albeit a tasty one!
What a Hoot!
I am a wife, a mother, a photographic enthusiast and a person who finds it easy to laugh at herself – in no particular order. I’m a writer, a tv producer, and a great lover of food. I enjoy cooking for my family and friends and I hope to share that with people. What I really love is eating great food, so cooking became a necessity for me and now it is part of my…..well, I’d like to say soul but it’s more like stomach.
So, without further ado, I welcome to you to the contents of my head…and my pantry. I hope you enjoy the ride. Blog: Keeping Up with the Holsbys