Tuesday, 9 July 2013

How to make the horse cake!!!

If any of you have read my earlier blog of my weekend of baking birthday cakes for little children, you will know that I said I would show you how to make the horse head cake for any of you who wanted to try it yourself! 

Just to recap, here's the finished cake....

Anyway, like I said here is a step by step guide of how to make the above cake!


Step 1: 
ok, so I started with pretty much finding an image on google of a horses head that was clear and dark in colour. I copied it onto microsoft word on my laptop and zoomed in on the drawing, so that it was the size I wanted. You don't have to do it this way, it's just I was too lazy to print it out. I then used the light of my laptop and traced over the image onto baking parchment. Just to give a rough outline of the horses head. Cut the outline out, so that you are left with the shape of a horse. This is the prep work, which is a bit faffy, but helps a LOT later when trying to cut the cake. 

Step 2:
First things first, if you need to pre heat the oven... do so! Now the prep has been finished, it's time to get baking. For this cake, I made a simple sponge in a 14" square cake tin, which was these amounts:

Caster Sugar 8oz
Unsalted Butter: 8oz
Self raising flour: 8oz
4 eggs
tbs milk

If the cake you are making is smaller, then just half the ounces or vice versa if your cake is bigger. 

I like to soften the butter in the microwave and then cream with the sugar first, before adding the other ingredients bit by bit. Or failing that, you can literally just bung all the ingredients into a mixer and it will work just the same. If you wanna add extra ingredients, go for it! 

Give it a whisk

Step 3: Once all the mixture is mixed and turned into a runny/ doughy consistency, it's time to put it in the baking tin. I was using a square baking tin, just because of the shape of the horse, but you can use whatever tin you have in. Just make sure you give it a quick grease with butter and if you have any spare, line it with baking paper as well. 

scoop it in


Once all the mixture has been scooped in, just level it out with a palette knife or a spoon or whatever works for you. But don't press too hard into the mixture, as it will remove all the air which is needed to help it rise. Then put in the middle of the oven at about 180c. I don't need to pre heat my oven, but if you do, you will have already done so.

Step 5:
This is the best bit. You have to wait about for a bit for the cake to cook. So you have two options. Option 1, clean up and wash the dirty pots or option 2 (which is what I do) eat the rest of the remaining mixture.

Diet has gone out the window but who cares it's yum


Step 6:
Ok, so leave the cake in for about 40 mins give or take and when it seems to have risen and looks a golden colour, take it out. Don't forget it's HOT!!! If you're not sure if it's cooked, just put a skewer or cocktail stick into the middle of the cake and if it comes out dry... it is done. Let it cool and when it is, carefully take it out of the tin and put it in the fridge over night. This isn't compulsory  it just stops the cake from being as crumby when you begin to cut the shape out of it. You can skip this step if you want or if you are pushed for time, but I just find it easier and it keeps the cake fresh.

Step 7: 
The next day (or after cooled) it's time to cut out the horse shape. This is why we did the prep work at the beginning. All you need to do is put the tracing on top of the cake and cut round it. Simples! If you use the knife straight instead of on a slant, you will get a cleaner, less crumby cut. Excess pieces can be cut into 3D ears or/and ate ;) It is completley up to you if you cut the cake in half, or make two separate cakes. I did one deep, thick cake and cut it in half. 
Don't forget to cut out eyes and nostrils.


Step 7: 
Now to make the buttercream. I'm sure there is a math to this, but I basically like the buttercream to be thick instead of runny, so that it holds better, which means less butter, more icing sugar. I do 1 part of butter to two parts icing sugar. If you are using margarine, you can use three parts icing sugar, as the marg isn't as thick.

Step 8:
Then basically, it's this simple... cover the inner side of the cake in a thin layer of buttercream (jam if you want as well) and then sandwich the two pieces together. Make sure the layer of buttercream is even so the cake sits straight. Then the whole cake needs to have a layer of buttercream all over it, as a sort of glue/ crumb coat for the top icing. You can use marzipan instead, but who likes marzipan? yuck! 

Step 9: 
Make sure to use a palette knife or something with a straight edge to get excess lumps and bumps off the cake, so that it looks smooth and even. If you want definition and a 3D look to the horse, build the buttercream up around the mouth and cut into parts of the cake for natural horse lines!At this point, you need to move the cake onto another surface aka, cake board, large plate or display area and get rid of any loose crumbies lurking nearby.

I know it looks horrific but it will get better

Step 10:
Now, for the top coat.... Sugar paste time. You can buy this ready made in what ever colours you like. I went for a teddy bear brown, Pale Pink, Ivory and Black by renshaw. Use a bit of icing sugar to roll it out in,so that it doesn't get sticky and keep it quite thick, so it doesn't tear and will absorb any lumpy buttercream. about 5mm thick. Once you have rolled it big enough for the cake, use the rolling pin to hold the icing and quickly drape over the top of the horse. Don't panic at this point if it's not smooth. Guide the icing around the cake smoothing and flattening as you go. When the icing hits the bottom, cut into bits to pull parts round. if there are join lines, you can get these out by gently rubbing your finger over them in circular motions with a small amount of icing sugar. If it gets too dry, try a very small amount of butter to lubricate it. Do the same with the ears and attach to the head with cocktail sticks to keep it secure. There will be a join line, so it's up to you whether you want to cover it with hair or smooth it in. That is the good thing about this cake. A lot of the sides are covered with other things.

Step 11:
Start giving the horse some features, however you want. I cut long angular pieces for the mane and put them on in a random order, letting them overlap and crease. The messier, the better it looks. To keep them in place, use a little bit of icing sugar or butter cream. I twisted two different colours of sugar paste as part of the saddle and cut shapes out of the icing for buckles. I coloured mine in silver, but you can use white, black as well. This bit is fiddly and takes a bit of time and patience. It's all about trial and error and what works for you. I used a ball of black for the eye and added a small piece of white icing as a fleck. I filled in the nostril, but you can leave it bare. Just go for it and have fun! If at the end, there are any bumps and lumps, smooth them out with your finger and icing sugar, but tbh there is so much features on top of the cake, you won't even see small joins. As a finishing touch, I cut a strip of sugar paste and made it into a birthday banner. I then piped with icing sugar (same proportions as buttercream) a message. 

And there you have it... how to make a horse cake!!! Sorry if it's a bit long and waffley, but I didn't want to leave anything out. So have fun. If it doesn't go perfect first time... who cares, you can always eat it and start again :)

signing out


  1. Hello! I am 11 years old and I am a HUGE fan of horses. This cake looks AMAZING!!!!!!!!! I am definitely going to have this for my birthday in July!!!!!!!!

    1. I love horses too! :)

  2. Hello Becky! Your baking is amazing!

  3. I just can't wait to try the cake!!!!!!!!!