My youngest daughter is a big fan of ants. She loves her books that have ants in them, she loves the ants that enter our house, she loves to draw ants (actually, she draws dots and says “Look, an ant”). So, a couple days ago she turned 2, and I wanted to make a beautiful cake for her. BUT: have you ever seen an ant cake? I haven’t… I DID find some ant cakes on the internet, but I couldn’t figure out how to make them (e.g. here). So I was looking further and on my favorite site I found this really beautiful ladybug cake. My daughter likes ladybugs – not as much as ants, but enough to be happy with a ladybug cake, I thought. It’s a 2-layer cake, originally filled with cream, but this was too heavy for my taste, so I replaced the cream filling with a mixture of mashed chocolate coated marshmallows and quark. The other ingredients that might be difficult to find in the US are toffifay and mikado sticks (also known as pocky). But you can make the legs, antennae and the eyes with other sweets, too. The result was a really cute-looking cake, but it was a little dry. It was really good the second day, though, when the frosting and the filling had soaked the cake. Here’s what you need to make this cake:
- margarine for the spring form
- 250 g/ 8,82 oz margarine/ butter
- 200 g/ 7 oz sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 4 eggs
- 200 g/ 7 oz all-purpose flour
- 75 g/ 2,65 oz cornstarch
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 2-3 tblsp milk
- 1 bag (100 g/ 3,53 oz) milk chocolate icing
- 2 toffifays
- 200 g/ 7 oz powdered sugar
- 3 tblsp lemon juice (use the lemon you peeled the zest off)
- red food coloring
- 12 chocolate coated marshmallows
- 250 g/ 8,82 oz quark
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- 8 mikado chocolate sticks (pocky)
- 2 small plastic bags
Line spring form with parchment paper and grease upright rim with margarine.
Mix margarine, sugar and vanilla sugar. Stir well. Add eggs. Mix flour, cornstarch and baking powder. Add flour mixture and milk to margarine/ sugar mixture and stir well. Pour into spring form. Bake at 160°C/ 320°F for about 40 minutes. Let cool off.
Cut cake into 2 layers. Cut top layer into head and two wings. Mix powdered sugar, 3 tblsp lemon juice and 1 tblsp of water. Fill 1 tblsp of frosting into plastic bag. Color remaining frosting with red food coloring. Fill 1 tblsp of red frosting into 2nd plastic bag. Coat wings with red frosting and decorate with M&M’s. Let dry.
Soften chocolate icing by putting bag in warm water for 10 minutes or microwave (if bag is microwaveable). Coat head with chocolate icing and make eyes with toffifays. Let dry. Remove bottoms from chocolate coated marshmallows.
Mash tops of chocolate coated marshmallows with a fork, add quark and 3 tsp lemon juice and stir well. Coat bottom layer with marshmallow/ quark mixture. Put head and wings on bottom layer. Draw mouth and eyebrows on head with white and red frosting from plastic bags by cutting off a tiny edge of the bags. Insert two mikado chocolate sticks as antennae and 6 sticks as legs.