Kipper is becoming obsessed by dinosaurs and fossils, so it was no surprise when she asked for a dinosaur theme for her recent birthday party. Now, while I’m not bad at baking a cake, decoration is another kettle of fish entirely, and I was starting to get more than a little nervous at the prospect of having to sculpt a stegosaurus out of sugar-paste for her birthday cake…
I needed something simple instead. Something that could be put together fairly quickly. That didn’t require a piping bag. Something fool-proof.
Something like an easy chocolate sponge cake, say, covered in chocolate spread and biscuit crumb ‘dirt’, with white chocolate ‘fossils’ arranged on top. And the spade from Kipper’s duplo, just for decoration. Behold, the dinosaur fossil excavation cake!
The white chocolate fossils were cast using this silicon fossil ice-cube mould, which seems to be getting harder to obtain as it is no longer in production. Act fast to get your hands on one! I made two sets of fossils, starting a couple of days ahead of the party, and kept them in the fridge till required. In the end, I didn’t quite use all the pieces, but our dino did get some extra body parts, just to make sure there were enough bits to go around 🙂
We served the cake as dessert at the party, with some fresh fruit and squirty cream. Kipper’s friends and their parents all seemed to enjoy it. And most importantly, it was a big hit with the dino-obsessed birthday girl!
Makes 1 25cm (approx 10 inch) square cake. (I used my adjustable cake tin – super handy and space-saving in storage!)
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- 300g self-raising flour
- 50g cocoa
- 350g soft butter or margarine
- 350g caster sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 325g jar dark chocolate spread
- 7-8 bourbon biscuits (or similar cream-filled chocolate biscuits)
- 200g white chocolate fossils - see note
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 25cm square tin with baking parchment.
- Sift the flour and cocoa together and set aside.
- Cream the butter/margarine with the sugar until light and fluffy. In a jug, beat the eggs together with the vanilla.
- Add the beaten eggs to the butter mixture a little at a time, adding a tbsp of the flour/cocoa mixture with each addition. Beat thoroughly to combine. If the mixture appears to be curdling, add a little more flour.
- Once all the eggs are incorporated, fold in the remaining flour/cocoa and mix well to ensure everything is well combined. The mixture should be a soft, dropping consistency - if necessary, add a little water or milk.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and tap to level. Bake in the preheated oven for around 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before decorating.
- If the surface of your cake is uneven, you may wish to level it using a breadknife or similar. Otherwise, continue with your cake intact.
- Spread the chocolate spread in a generous layer over the top and sides of the cake. (You may not need the entire jar.)
- Place the biscuits into a food processor or mini chopper, and blitz to crumbs. (Alternatively put them in a plastic bag and pulverise them with a rolling pin.) Gently stick some of the crumbs to the sides of the cake.
- Once the sides are crumbed, arrange the white chocolate fossils on the top of the cake. Sprinkle the remaining biscuit crumbs around and over the fossils to cover the rest of the cake. Brush any excess off the fossils if necessary.
- If you have a toy spade or any other non-edible 'accessories', place on the cake to complete the scene.
- Store in the fridge until it's time to light the candles and serve!
- Make the chocolate fossils before you make the cake, as they need time to set in the fridge. Melt approx. 100g white chocolate and carefully pour into your silicon fossil mould. Allow to cool then transfer to the fridge to set fully. Gently remove from the mould and store in the fridge until required. You will need around 200g of fossils to decorate the cake.
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