About this recipe:This lion cake is a show-stopper birthday cake and ideal for kids of all ages. A single round cake is filled with delicious layers of mascarpone filling and jam then covered in yellow fondant icing. Tasty vanilla cupcakes form the mane of the lion with a marble effect frosting. Bake the cake and cupcakes a day in advance, and decorate the cake on the day itself.
For the cake and cupcakes
300g caster sugar
300g butter, at room temperature
2 sachets vanilla sugar
1 splash lemon juice
300g self raising flour
For the buttercream
150g icing sugar
150g butter, at room temperature
1 sachet vanilla sugar
For the filling;
60ml double cream
100g mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar, or to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons strawberry jam
For the fondant icing
200g ready to roll fondant icing
food colouring (yellow, red, blue and brown)
Frosting for the cupcakes
230g butter, softened
1 pinch salt
1 sachet vanilla sugar
300g icing sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
food colouring (yellow and red)
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Method Prep:2hr › Cook:50min › Extra time:2hr › Ready in:4hr50min
For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease an 18 to 20cm round springform cake tin and dust with flour. Line a 12-hole muffin tine with paper cases.
Using a stand mixer, beat the sugar, butter and vanilla sugar with a mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until creamy. Add lemon juice and then little by little add the flour and continue mixing. Now mix on the highest setting for about four minutes until a light, smooth cake mixture forms. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cupcake cases filling only 1/3 full. Spoon the remaining mixture into the round springform tin.
Bake the cupcakes for 30 minutes in the preheated oven until risen and golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely and then cut horizontally into three layers.
For the buttercream:
Mix the softened butter with icing sugar and vanilla sugar until smooth. Set aside
For the filling:
Whip the cream until peaks form. Fold together the whipped cream, sugar and mascarpone and mix well. Set aside.
To assemble the cake:
Take the bottom layer of the cake and spread with strawberry jam.
Lay the second layer of cake on the lower layer. Pipe some of the buttercream around the edge of the top of the cake then spread the buttercream in the centre (this is to help prevent it seeping out).
Place the last layer cake carefully on top. Coat the top and sides of the cake lightly with the remaining buttercream.
Knead the fondant so that it is smooth (setting some of it aside for eyes, nose, cheeks and tongue) then knead with a drop at a time of food colouring to get the desired colour (for the most part yellow). Roll it out into a thin circular piece and carefully lay this over the cake. Smooth away any bubbles gently with your hands starting from the middle and working your way outwards.
Now form the fondant cheeks, mouth, eyes, nose and tongue shapes. Form two balls of yellow fondant (cheeks), 1 small scoop of brown fondant (mixed yellow, red and a little blue dye the fondant to brown) to form a nose. Use a skewer to make holes like nostrils. Cut two ovals from the white fondant for eyes and attach two small circles brown fondant as a pupil. Make red fondant and form here of a tongue (use a knife to make marks like a tongue). Attach to the cake using a little water.
Beat the softened butter, salt, vanilla sugar, icing sugar and milk together with an electric mixer. Divide the icing into two parts: colour one part yellow and the other orange (or red or brown). Carefully fill a piping bag with one half filled with yellow and the other half with orange glaze for marble effect. Pipe the cupcakes with frosting, work from the outside in a circular motion.
Turn the cupcakes around the cake to form the mane of the lion.