Use the brushstroke technique to help create Harry Potter's hooting companion, Hedwig!
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups sugar
9 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ¾ cups buttermilk
3 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
7 cups confectioner’s sugar
black and yellow food colouring
2 cups white candy melts, melted
1 cup black candy melts, melted
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Bake the cake: Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and eggs one a time, mixing with each addition. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Add this to the batter in 2 additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Divide the batter between 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. The cakes may deflate slightly after coming out of the oven, but don’t worry!
Make the buttercream: Beat the butter with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time, then beat for 3-5 minutes until fluffy.
Assembly: Stack the cakes on top of each other, spreading some buttercream between each layer. Carve the cake into an owl shape. Cover the entire surface of the cake in a thin layer of buttercream, catching the crumbs in the buttercream. Place the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until the buttercream is firm. Then coat the cake in a generous layer of buttercream. Place small dollops of black and white candy melts onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a clean paintbrush or a knife to smudge the dollops and create brushstrokes. Create a small black feather and a variety of sizes of white feathers. Transfer the entire baking sheet to the freezer until the candy melts have fully hardened, about 20 minutes. Stick the brushstrokes to the cake to create Hedwig’s wings, tail and chest feathers. If necessary, use extra buttercream as a glue to attach the brushstrokes. Dye some buttercream black and yellow, place in piping bags fitted with small, round piping tips and draw the eyes and beak. Enjoy!