Owl Birthday Cake Recipe

How to make an owl shaped cake for a birthday or special occasion

We are always on the lookout for cake recipes that really stand out while not being overly complicated. The chocolate owl cake recipe on the Good Food web site seemed just right so George, my 9 year old son decided to put it to the test!

He made most of the cake on his own – I only cut out the sponge and arranged it to make the owl shaped base and helped with some of the decorating.

We didn’t bake the cake for a special occasion, but it was just too good not to show it off and too big to have it all by ourselves. So we invited some neighbours to share it… Several people asked for the recipe. And with all the chocolate buttons, biscuits and marzipan decorations, it was a hit with young children too.

Of course it didn’t just look good – the sponge is light and tasty with an almost toffee-like flavour. Perfect to offset the rich decorations!

Owl Shape Cake Recipe for Birthdays

To make this chocolate owl shaped cake recipe you will need

  • 2 cake tins: a 20cm round and a 18cm square cake tin
  • a large wooden board or tray to serve

For the sponge

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

For the chocolate icing

  • 250g of butter softened
  • 350g of icing sugar, sieved
  • 50g of cocoa, sieved
  • 2 tablespoons of milk


  • 8 giant white chocolate buttons
  • 2 packs of milk chocolate buttons
  • 2 chocolate Flake bars
  • 60g of yellow marzipan
  • 125g pack of chocolate finger biscuits

Owl birthday cake preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 4 and base line both cake tins.
  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 and add the sugar, breaking up any lumps if necessary. Beat together the eggs and soured cream and pour onto the dry mixture. Add the melted chocolate and butter. Mix all the ingredients  together well until the batter is smooth.
  4. Divide the mixture equally between the two tins and bake in the oven for about 55 minutes to 1 hour. To ensure that the mixture is equally divided, put a cocktail stick into each mixture and check the levels are the same.
  5. When the cakes are cooked and springy to the touch, take them out of the oven. When they are cold, remove them from the tins and lay out on a wire rack.
  6. To make the icing, put the butter into a bowl and beat until creamy. Add the icing sugar and cocoa powder a little at a time mixing well between each addition. Add the milk to mix to a soft spreading consistency.
  7. To assemble your owl shaped cake, place the round cake on a large wooden board or tray (the cake will need to be 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.
    How to make an owl shaped cake
  8. 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.
  9. Spread the butter icing all over the top and sides of the cake. Cut the flake bars into small pieces and arrange on the wings to represent feathers. Keep the flake crumbs. Arrange the milk chocolate buttons over the body. Place chocolate fingers on the bottom cake to make the fence. Using a fork or your fingers, 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.
  10. If you are making this owl shaped cake for a birthday, you can place the candles on the ‘fence’ part of the cake. You could also keep the chocolate fingers out and pipe a child’s name or a message on the bottom part of the cake using writing icing.

Twit twoooooo!!!

More birthday and chocolate recipes you might like to try:

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1 Comment on Owl Birthday Cake Recipe

  1. Roshan Reynolds // 15 December, 2012 at 8:58 am //

    I made this for the school parent’s baking competition at the Christmas fair last week and we won! The school logo is an owl so it was a perfect find.

    It looks absolutely spectacular, all the different decorations make different textures. The sponge is delicious too. It was so much easier to make than it looks, my 6 year old son and a friend did pretty much all the decoration by themselves. It is enormous though – only make if you have lots of friends or a very hungry family!

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