White and Dark Chocolate Cow Cake

Well, hello there.

This? Oh, this is nothing. This is just a white and dark chocolate cake that has a cow on top and a cow print design inside. I may be a little proud of it. But y’know. Only a little.

This is the third in my Bake the Bake-Off series — a hidden design cake. For some reason, I couldn’t get the idea of cows out of my head. Maybe it was Butcher, Baker‘s fantastic hidden Damien Hirst cake? I don’t know. But as soon as I knew I had to make a hidden design cake, I knew I wanted to make this.

It was all very experimental, making this, and there are a few things I may have done differently. For that reason, I’ll write the recipe up according to what I’d do if I was making it again, but explain what I actually did in the step-by-step guide.

Sorry if the instructions are confusing — this was quite easy to make, but tough to explain how I made it!


For the white cake 

  • 150g good quality white chocolate
  • 100g butter
  • 130g plain flour
  • 1⁄4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 20g White Chocolate Options
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 75ml buttermilk (or 70ml of milk with a good splash of white vinegar, left to sit for 5 minutes)

For the black cake

  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 50g butter
  • 40g plain flour
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 1 egg

To decorate

  • 500g of white ready-to-roll icing
  • Green gel colouring
  • Black food colouring pen
  • Four tablespoons of jam
  • Optional: Blue and pink food colouring pens


  • One deep, loose-bottomed 20cm tin
  • A rolling pin

The night before you’re going to make your cake, prepare the icing. Break off a small piece of white icing for your cow. Then smear the rest with gel food colouring.

Knead the icing and the colouring together, just like you’re kneading bread, until it’s evenly mixed in. Repeat until you get the colour you want or you get bored. Then wrap the icing well in clingfilm and chill overnight.

Shape the rest of the icing into a cow. I have absolutely no artistic skill, so mine looked like this.

I’m sure you can do better.

Then, use the pens to draw eyes, a little nose and spots all over the cow.

I didn’t have pens, so I painted the decoration on with food colouring gel. This does not work. When I returned to my cow, all the dye had smeared and ran (As you’ll see later).

So…the day after you’ve done this, you’ll be ready to make your cakes. I say cakes because you have to make two cakes at exactly the same time to make this cow cake. I’m only going to run through one set of instructions, because it’s the same for both cakes, but bear in mind you have to do this for each set of ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 160C (140C for a fan oven) and grease the tin. Break the chocolate into pieces and put in a heatproof dish over a pan of boiling water. Cut the butter up and add it to the chocolate. Heat gently over the water, stirring constantly, until fully melted. Then remove immediately from the heat. I’d get someone to help you for this bit, as stirring the two dishes at once is hard.

Check how runny the white batter is. When I did this I forgot to account for how much cocoa butter is in white chocolate — melted butter was actually sitting on the top of the dish there was so much in that batter. I just tipped a bit out into a mug and saved it. I’ve reduced the amount of butter in the recipe, but if it looks oily and buttery, you can do the same.

Mix the flours, bicarb of soda, sugar and cocoa/white chocolate Options together and add the chocolate. Crack in the eggs and pour in the buttermilk. Stir until you have two well blended, smooth batters. The dark chocolate batter will be really thick — add a bit of the excess white chocolate’s butter if necessary.

Now comes the fun bit. You need to put the white batter in first, covering up most of the bottom of the tin. Then add a dollop of chocolate batter to cover up the bit of the tin the white batter doesn’t, and dollops of chocolate batter spaced out over the rest of the tin. Repeat.

Finish with a big splosh of white batter.

Bake for an hour to an hour and a half — until it’s risen, golden, and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Mine was in there for an hour and fifteen minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out and cool completely.

Boil the jam until it’s soft and smooth. Then brush it all over the cake. I couldn’t think of any way to get the icing to stick to the cake that was chocolatey — if you have any ideas, let me know!

Now it’s time to decorate. Knead the ball of icing between your hands until it’s soft and pliable. Dust your work surface with icing sugar and start to roll the icing sugar out.

Turn it 90 degrees after each roll to make sure it doesn’t stick. If you’re crap at rolling icing like me, you’ll end up with something really wide but short.

When it’s big enough to cover your cake, flip it over the rolling pin (so it doesn’t tear) and drop it over the cake. Use your hands to cup around the cake and make sure it’s evenly covered and tight to the cake.

It’ll look like this.

Use a knife to trim off the excess.

Plonk the cow on top and….there we go!

The slices should all have cow print on them.

Here’s the cake cut in half.

It tasted lovely! The dark chocolate bits tasted really, really chocolatey. White chocolate cake doesn’t taste particularly like white chocolate, but it’s still delicious.

As baking experiments go, I’m pretty happy with this one.

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