For the cake:
- 300g softened butter
- 300g golden caster sugar
- 6 eggs
- 300g self-raising flour
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp milk
- 150g softened butter
- 300g icing sugar
- 2-3 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1kg white fondant icing
- Green, yellow and orange gel food colourings
- Preheat oven to 180°C (Gas mark 4/350°F). Grease and line a 30cm x 20cm (12in x 18in) rectangle cake tin.
- Place the butter and caster sugar in a large bowl and whisk together until well combined and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, two at a time, whisking after you add each pair. Once the eggs have all been whisked in, add the flour, vanilla extract and milk. Whisk again until fully combined.
- Pour the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin. Gently smooth the top down with a spatula, then bake in the pre-heated oven for around 35 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch.
- Once the cake is cooked, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely before icing.
- Prepare the buttercream icing: Whisk the butter until soft and fluffy. Add the icing sugar, a little at a time, whisking as you go until completely combined. Add the vanilla extract and whisk again until combined. Add milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until the icing is at the correct consistency for spreading.
- Using a palette knife, spread the buttercream all over the top and sides of the cake. Try to get the buttercream as smooth as possible as this will form a base for the fondant.
- Once the cake is covered in the buttercream coating, pop it in the fridge or somewhere cool for 1/2 hour or so to allow the icing to set a little.
- Roll 400g of the white fondant out into a thin sheet that is big enough to cover the cake. Carefully drape it over the cake. Shape the fondant over the tricky corners by gently pulling it away from the cake and smoothing it into place.
- Once the fondant is moulded to the cake, cut around the edges to remove any excess and tuck the ends under the cake.
- Reserve 50g of the remaining fondant icing, then colour the rest bright green. Roll out the green fondant into a thick layer, just big enough to cover the top and one long side of the cake.
- Use a ruler to measure and cut the fondant into a rectangle for the cover and spine of the book. The fondant should overhang the edges of the cake by around ½cm on each side. Carefully lift the fondant and place it on the cake, folding the spine around the long side.
- Cut strips of leftover green fondant and place them around the base of the cake on the remaining three sides, to look like the edges of the back cover.
- Use a large sharp knife to carefully score lines in the white fondant to give the appearance of book pages.
- Divide the remaining 50g of fondant into two, then colour one piece yellow and the other piece orange.
- Roll out the coloured icing and use round cookie cutters to cut into shapes for the acorn.
- Carefully place in the centre of the cake to decorate the front cover of the book – you can stick these in place with a little water if needed.
There you have it, the yummiest book cake for your little Squirrels! Perfect for a birthday party, picnic or bank holiday bash! 🐾