In our neck of the woods, November is a drizzly gray month of rain and cold, and you simply want to stay inside under warm blankets with a belly full of hot stews, soups, and freshly baked cookies.
My birthday falls in November, and I’ve always wished for a sunny outdoor summer birthday—I was so envious of the barbeques, swimming, and picnic parties of those July babies! I wanted to make a cake that paid tribute to the November baby, so I dreamed up this DIY Gray Owl Cake for you to make this month. Mr. Gray Owl should bring a smile to many at any birthday or celebration you host during the cooler season—he would even make a pretty cute centerpiece for Thanksgiving!
This Owl Cake can be created with any color combination. He’ll be a surefire hit for a woodland-themed or owl-themed kid’s birthday party.
What You Need
- A two layer, round chocolate cake of your choice—baked from a recipe or from the box. I chose chocolate because I liked the idea of contrast between the light colored buttercream and the dark inside. You can do any cake flavor, of course!
- 4 cups of vanilla buttercream or 2 cans of frosting
- Black gel food coloring, yellow food coloring
- An offset spatula or butter knife
- A cake bench scraper
- A piping bag fitted with a leaf tip—I used a #352 leaf tip, but you could use a larger one such as #366 for larger “feathers.”
- A 6-inch ball of fondant (white with some tinted gray for the ears, yellow for the owl beak and eye irises, and black for the pupils)
- Parchment paper
- Cornstarch for working with fondant
- Rolling pin
- Large circle cutters for the owl eyes—I used round cookie cutters that have a scalloped edge
- A long wooden BBQ skewer, cut into two equal-length sticks
Bake your cakes according to the recipe instructions. Let cakes cool completely on wire racks in their pans.
Make your buttercream according to the recipe instructions. Add a small amount of black gel food coloring (about a toothpick’s tip) to tint it gray.
Place a dab of buttercream on a cake plate or cardboard cake board.
Carefully remove your first cake layer from your cake pan. Use a serrated knife to level your cake so the top is flat.
Place a dab of buttercream on the plate and then place the cake cut side up on the dab of buttercream to adhere.
Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread a layer of buttercream on top.
Remove your second layer from your cake pan, leveling it as you did with the first layer. Place the second layer cut side down onto the first frosted layer. Start frosting the top!
Frost the entire exterior of the cake.
Using your bench scraper, smooth the exterior of the cake. Place cake in the freezer for 10 minutes to set the crumbs.
Add another layer of buttercream, then smooth with the bench scraper.
Now, your cake is ready to get “feathered!”
Get your piping bag ready—I used a disposable piping bag (although I reuse them!) fitted with a coupler and ring, and of course my leaf tip #352.
Pretend your cake is now a face. Start at the bottom of the face, holding your piping bag so that the two prongs of the leaf tip look like a little snake tongue. Now turn it 90 degrees—you want to pipe with the two prongs on top of each other. Practice on a piece of parchment paper first to create something that looks like a leaf, or in this case, an owl feather. Pipe and pull away to create a triangular finish. Once you’ve got the hang of it, pipe your first row, as shown above.
Pipe another layer of feathers on top of the first layer, and continue to pipe more layers, working your way up the “face.”
Keep on piping until you have a beautiful face of gray, pointy, nonperfect buttercream feathers! You see where this is going, right?
Make your fondant accent pieces. Color a 1-inch ball of fondant with black gel food coloring. Make small circles for pupils and roll some between your hands to create “eyebrows.” Color a 3-inch ball of fondant gray using a dab of black gel coloring. Shape into triangle ears and adhere to wooden sticks. Color a 1-inch ball of fondant yellow using a dab of yellow gel coloring. Use part of it to shape a triangle beak. Roll out the remaining yellow fondant flat, and cut out two small scalloped circles. Roll out the white fondant and cut out two large scalloped circles. Adhere the yellow circles to the white circles and the black circles to the yellow circles to make the eyes.
Place your gray triangles into the top sides of your cake as ears. Place your fondant pieces right on top of the gray piped feathers—and hellooo, Mr. Gray Owl, You’ve come to life, my feathered friend!
I added a little party flag for extra cuteness. Write your best owl pun on the flag if you like. Aw yeah! This November party is going to be owlright, after all!
Hope you enjoyed this owl cake DIY and owl be seeing you soon with more cakey fun! Okay, I’ll stop now. :)