Birdcage cakes are beautiful, vintage looking cakes which are a real treat for any occasion – or even if you just fancy a challenge. And this is how to make a birdcage cake.
Strictly speaking, for a full size birdcage cake you would take several full size cake tiers, with buttercream between each layer, frost the outside with more buttercream and cover with fondant or sugarpaste.
But if you are just trying this out for the first time, it can be better to go with a smaller version so you can get the skill right first and without wasting your bakes.
Incidentally, if it doesn’t come out right, crush your cake into crumbs, mix with your buttercream, melt in some dark or white chocolate and turn it into cake balls! Equally as delicious.
For this recipe we have gone with a less traditional miniature chocolate birdcage cake recipe – and used dark chocolate ganache for a glossy outer shell instead of fondant – mainly for visual effect but also because it is easier to get a smooth finish with the ganache than it is with the fondant and I was being a bit lazy!
How To Make A Birdcage Cake
For this recipe, we are making a standard 8 inch cake, using a cookie cutter to cut the layers out of that and then frosting and decorating the cut out tower.
For the cake you’ll need:
- 125g self raising flour
- 125g caster sugar
- 25g cocoa powder
- Pinch of sea salt
- 125g softened unsalted butter
- 2 medium eggs
For the frosting you’ll need:
- 120g icing sugar
- 25g cocoa powder
- 60g softened unsalted butter
- 2-3 tbsp milk or double cream at room temperature
For the ganache you’ll need:
- 75-80g dark chocolate chips
- 75ml double cream
- 40-50g white sugar paste or ready-to-roll icing
- A few assorted sugar flowers
Method for how to make a birdcage cake
- Pre-heat the oven to 175°C (Fan assisted 165°C)
- Beat together 125g self raising flour, 125g caster sugar, 25g cocoa powder, sea salt, 2 eggs and 125g butter to form a cake batter
- Pour the batter into a greased 8 inch cake tin, spread evenly and bake for 18-22 minutes
- To make your chocolate buttercream (and if in doubt, check out our super handy guide on how to make buttercream frosting), soften 60g butter by beating it on it’s own in a mixing bowl. Add about 60g icing sugar, and beat until it starts to clump together.
- Add 60g more icing sugar, 25g cocoa powder and beat on a slow speed. Gradually add 2-3 tbsp of milk to bind it all together.
- Make your chocolate ganache by bringing your double cream to the boil, removing from the heat & pouring it over your dark chocolate chips. Stir continuously until the chocolate chips are all melted and you have a thick and creamy mixture. Allow to cool slightly but not too much as it will get too thick.
- To assemble your birdcage, use a cookie cutter to cut 4 or 5 circles out of your baked cake
- Using an ordinary butter knife, spread a thin layer of buttercream across the top of all but one of your cake circles. Stack them on top of each other with your non-frosted one on top.
- Allow the cake to to chill for 10-15 minutes to harden a little bit so it is easier to work with.
- Remove from the fridge, and using a serrated knife, trim the sides of the top layer down so that it starts to resemble a dome shape
- Gradually pour your chocolate ganache over the top and use a flat knife to gently spread it to cover the cake fully
- Allow to cool in the fridge for a few minutes so the ganache hardens.
- Roll out your sugar icing into thin long strands. You will need 8-10 to go vertically over the cake and 2 longer ones to go around the cake.
- Remove the cake the from the fridge and place your shorter strands gently vertically along the cake, evenly spaced out & gently press in so they stick to the ganache. They should meet at the top in the middle.
- Wrap your longer strands around the cake – one along the base, one towards the top.
- If you have any left over, add a ball or hook shape at the top in the middle to finish it off.
- Add a few decorative sugar flowers to give it the look of spring time!