How to make a cat shaped birthday cake

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Translating the cat's graceful physique into birthday cake form takes a little planning, but it can be done with even the most basic baking supplies. A couple of round cake pans, a little carving and some creative frosting work are all you need. Learn how to make a cat-shaped birthday cake and you'll be able to create the perfect centrepiece for the party of a veterinarian, pet groomer or anyone who loves kitties.

Bake three round cakes. Cakes of 20 by 5 cm (8 by 2 inches) will be enough for a small family birthday party, but a larger party will require cakes of 25 cm (10 inches) in diameter or larger. When you choose a flavour, keep in mind the colour of frosting you plan to use. If the cake is much darker or lighter than the frosting, it may show through and alter the colour of the frosting.

Cut out ear shapes. Cut one round cake in half and set one half aside. From the remaining half, cut out a triangle that's approximately 65 mm (2 1/2 inches) on all sides. The ideal size will be relative to the size of the round cake you'll be using for the cat's head. Set this triangle on top of the cake you cut it from and use it as a pattern to cut out a second triangle.

Cut out the tail shape from the remaining half cake. Start cutting from the flat side and carve out a crescent shape that's flat on one end and pointed on the other. This should be approximately 5 cm (2 inches) across at the widest part.

Fit the parts together to form a cat shape. Place the two whole cakes on a portable surface such as a large platter or sheet of plywood covered with aluminium foil. Use a spatula to spread a thin layer of buttercream glaze on one side of each of the two whole round cakes. Push the two glazed sides together to form a head and body. Spread glaze on the top of the head and attach the ears. Spread glaze on the bottom of the lower round cake and attach the tail shape so that the crescent curls in toward the cake.

Frost the cake. First frost the entire cake with thin buttercream glaze. Let this dry for at least one hour. Prepare 700 ml (3 cups) of buttercream frosting and add food colouring as desired. For a multicoloured cat such as a tabby or calico, divide the frosting into bowls and colour each batch separately. Attach a #234 tip or "grass tip" to your pastry tube and fill the tube with frosting. Cover the cat's body by squeezing out short lines of frosting to look like fur.

Add features to your cat-shaped birthday cake. Use candy for the cat's eyes and nose. Draw a mouth with black gel frosting and make whiskers with black liquorice laces. To add a tongue, flatten a pink sugar-coated gel candy to get the wet and sandpaper look of a cat's tongue. Use light-coloured frosting to paint the insides of the cat's ears. Draw legs and paws on the body section of the cat shaped cake with black gel frosting. Add a collar using gel frosting or liquorice laces and place a candy or small cookie in the centre for a tag.

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