To celebrate my hubby’s birthday, I surprised him with this hidden squirrel cake. He definitely was not expecting a cake quite like this, and he loved it. Since we enjoy watching the active little squirrel community in our backyard so much, I chose this design, but you could make this cake with whatever shape suits your fancy. I think a pumpkin hidden in the middle could be very cute for Thanksgiving, or a hidden star could make a festive Christmas cake!
I made this cake using two recipes I have already posted on Noon Café. I used a double batch of chocolate devil’s food cake for the interior, and a double batch of yellow cake for the exterior. I had a little leftover cake and batter, but I just used them in a few cupcakes on the side, (and I ate a few of the leftover chocolate cake bits while I was working on this project! 😉 ) I think almost any basic cake recipe would work for this idea. The most important thing when choosing what kind of cake to use is that the colors between the two cakes need to be distinctly different.
The tools I used were a 4 inch by 9 inch loaf pan and a squirrel cookie cutter that was about 7 inches high. You could use a smaller loaf pan if you would like, and as I said before, you could use a different cutter. The cutter you choose just needs to be smaller than the pan.
Grease your loaf pan and line with parchment paper to make sure the cake comes out in one piece without sticking. Make the cake batter that you will use for your cutout design first. Fill the pan about 3/4 of the way full.
Bake. The cake is done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the top springs back to the touch. My double batch of devil’s food cake took about 80 minutes to cook through. Let the cake cool completely.
Remove the cake from the pan. Cut it into slices that are not thicker than the depth of your cookie cutter. Then cut each slice with your cutter and stack them together. Set aside.
Make the second cake batter for the outside of the cake. Put some of the batter into a piping bag.
Grease the same loaf pan you used before and line with parchment paper to make sure the cake comes out in one piece without sticking.
Pipe a line of batter lengthwise into the bottom of the pan. This will help “glue” the shapes to the bottom and keep them from moving while they bake. Set the cutout cake shapes upright in a row along the line of batter. The row of cutouts should go the full length of the pan, touching both ends to help keep it all in place. Pipe the batter with a pastry bag to get under the crevices of the shape. Fill the pan about 3/4 full with the batter, and gently smooth the top. Rap the pan on the counter to make sure the batter is settled without any big air bubbles.
Bake. The cake is done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the top springs back to the touch. My yellow cake took about 70 minutes to cook through. Let the cake cool completely.
When you slice into the cake, you should see your cutout design! This is more of a technique than a recipe, so there is a lot of room for creativity with different flavors and shapes. I am excited to try some different variations after we eat this one. I hope you’ll give it a try!
If you are like me, you might find it easier to learn these techniques by seeing them rather than reading about them. Here is a little video of a bunny cake that uses the same technique I used for my squirrel cake.