Tan turns One! Koala Cake

For a dear friend’s son’s 1 year old birthday! 🙂 This recipe is inspired by a book I have, Bake Australia Great by Katherine Sabbath, which has the cutest desserts! 🐨💙🎊
Koala Honey Cake
Makes 1 7-cm cake
Honey Cinnamon Cake adapted from Bake Australia Great by Katherine Sabbath


270g unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup (165g) caster sugar
½ cup (160g) honey
1½ tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups (480g) self-raising flour
3 tsp ground cinnamon
280ml milk, at room temperature

Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream

1½ cups (330g) caster sugar
8 large egg whites
500g unsalted butter, softened, chopped
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Pink & blue gel food colouring

Assembly and Decoration

½ cup (160g) warmed honey, apricot jam or golden syrup
2 large round chocolate-coated biscuits
50g white fondant
Cornflour, for dusting
2 small round chocolate-coated biscuits
30g black fondant or black liquorice rope

To make Honey Cinnamon Cake


Preheat the oven to 160°C fan-forced. Grease two 15cm-diameter, 7cm-deep round cake tins with cooking oil spray and line with baking paper.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, honey and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift the flour and cinnamon together, then, alternating with the milk, fold it into the butter mixture in two batches.

Divide the batter between the tins and smooth the surface. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 15 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Use a long, thin knife to divide each cake into three even layers. Cover and set aside until needed.

To make Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Place the sugar and egg whites in a heatproof glass bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and whisk until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is slightly warm to the touch. Remove from the heat. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg white mixture on high speed until stiff and glossy peaks form (10-15 minutes).

Add the butter a piece at a time, beating well after each addition (don’t rush this process). Add the vanilla and beat until fluffy. Tint ½ cup of the buttercream pink and the remaining buttercream blue. Cover and set aside in a cool place.

To assemble

To assemble, working on a cake turntable, secure the bottom layer of cake onto a cake board or plate with a dollop of blue buttercream, then gently twist in place. Use an offset spatula to spread a thin layer of honey, jam or golden syrup over the top of the cake. Cover the top with a 5mm layer of blue buttercream, then use the spatula and a cake scraper to gently crumb coat the side of the cake with a thin layer of buttercream. Place the second cake layer on top and repeat the layering process until the final layer has been crumb coated, filling in any gaps between layers and spreading the buttercream up. Trim the top of the cake to create a rounded appearance. Apply another layer of buttercream to the exposed areas of cake and carefully smooth the cake until the desired finish is reached. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Apply a final layer of blue buttercream all over the chilled cake and smooth by holding a small cake scraper parallel to the cake and rotating the turntable with your other hand.

Slice the edge of each of the chocolate-coated biscuits and insert the toothpicks. Spread or pipe some pink buttercream over the front of each biscuit. Insert the biscuits into the cake to form the koala’s ears.

For the decoration, spoon the remaining blue buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a grass tip or multi-opening tip to pipe ‘fur’ around the ears and on top of the head..Roll out the white fondant on a board dusted with cornflour. Use a small, sharp knife to cut it to size, reserving the offcuts, then press it onto the koala’s chest. Add the small chocolate-coated biscuits in front of the chest. Pipe buttercream ‘fur’ over the paws.

Shape the black fondant or cut the liquorice to form the koala’s eyes, nose and mouth details. Use a small amount of white fondant to create the whites of the koala’s eyes and stick them in place using a little water, if needed. Attach the eyes, nose and mouth to the cake using a little buttercream. 


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