Broody Hen Cake

You will need

  • 375g softened butter (leave at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before using)
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 40g raspberry or strawberry jam
  • 300g icing sugar, sifted, plus a little extra for rolling
  • Finely grated lemon zest of 2 lemons
  • 25g red fondant icing, 20g pink fondant icing, 10g black fondant icing, 15g yellow fondant icing
  • Dried noodle nests or spaghetti

Remember – grown ups like you to tell them if you’re cooking with hot or sharp things!


Serves 8-10

  • You’ll need an adult to help you make this cake. To prepare the cake, preheat the oven to 190C/fan oven 170C/Gas 5. Butter a 1 litre heatproof pudding basin or Pyrex mixing bowl and two 200ml heatproof pudding basins, then line just the bases with small discs of non-stick baking paper. (If you don’t have any mini basins, cook the smaller cakes in metal mini pudding tins or two holes of a deep muffin tin, lined with baking parchment). To get the right sizes for the discs, draw around the base of each bowl and cut out.

  • Put the 225g butter, sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla and baking powder in a food mixer and beat until well combined, thick and creamy. Spoon 125g of the mixture into the two smaller basins and the rest in the large one and smooth the surfaces.

  • Place the larger bowl on a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes. Without leaving the oven door open for too long, add the two smaller bowls to the same tray and bake for a further 25 minutes or until all the cakes are completely cooked. Ask an adult to take the cakes on the baking tray from the oven for you.

  • Leave the cakes to cool on the tray for 30 minutes, then run a table knife around each sponge and turn out onto a wire rack. Remove lining paper and leave to cool completely.

  • Put the butter for the icing, sugar and lemon zest in a food mixer and mix until very light and fluffy. Add brown, red and orange food colouring paste, just a little at a time and mix until you have the colour of a brown hen.

  • Cut the larger cake in half horizontally and spread with jam. Sandwich back together and place on a large, round platter or cake board, flat side down. Use a little of the butter icing to help stick the cake to the board.

  • Using a palette knife, spread a thin layer of icing all over the larger cake. Cut a thick slice off the base off one of the smaller cakes and then cut in half to make the wings for the chicken. The remainder will be used to form the neck and head.

  • Cut the other small cake in half from top to bottom. You will need one half to make the chicken’s tail and the rest won’t be needed. Cover all the cake pieces in a thin layer of icing.

  • Using a long skewer to help secure it, put the smaller cake against the larger cake to form the head and neck of the chicken. Attach the halved smaller cake to the opposite side of the chicken, curved side facing up, with a shorter skewer to make the tail. Use more icing to attach the wings to either side of the chicken.

  • Spread any uncovered cake with a thin layer of icing and put in the fridge to chill for 1 hour. Do not chill the rest of the icing or it will be too hard to spread.

  • Take the cake out of the fridge and spread thickly with the remaining butter icing all over. Use the back of a teaspoon, or a wooden ice lolly stick, to create feathery patterns in the icing.

  • Use the red fondant icing to make a comb and wattle for the chicken, by rolling thickly on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar and cutting into a zigzag shapes. Attach to the chicken by pressing in to the soft, butter icing. Use the pink icing to make eye shapes and the brown and yellow fondant icing for the eyes. Use the remaining yellow icing to make a beak. Attach in the same way then leave for at least 1 hour before serving.

  • Surround the chicken with uncooked noodles or spaghetti to look like straw.

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