Rachel Allen was brought up in Dublin and left home at eighteen to study at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. Rachel is now a busy ...
400 g (14oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
400 g (14oz) sugar
400 g (14oz) plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
for the icing
450 g (1lb) butter, softened
900 g (2lb) icing sugar, sifted
a few drops of food colouring, such as pink, red, blue or yellow
6–7 small sweets (such as chocolate buttons, smarties or jelly tots) for the eyes, nose and buttons
1 liquorice lace for the mouth
Butter the sides of the cake tins and line the base of each tin with baking parchment, then line the muffin tray with the paper cases.
Cream the butter until soft in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Whisk the eggs together in a separate bowl for a few seconds or just until mixed, then gradually add them to the butter mixture, beating all the time.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in gently to combine. Fill the muffin cases and smaller tin three-quarters full with the batter, then put the rest of the mixture into the larger cake tin (it should be about half full).
Bake the muffins and the smaller cake for 20–25 minutes or until they have risen and are golden brown on top. The larger cake will take about 35 minutes.
Remove each cake from the oven when it is ready and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Then loosen around the edges using a small, sharp knife and carefully remove each cake from its tin before leaving on a wire rack to cool down completely.
Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove from the tray and place on a wire rack to cool.
Place the large cake right side up on the lower part of the large plate or cake board to make the teddy’s body, then place the smaller cake directly above for the head (like a snowman). Arrange four muffins around the body for the arms and legs, then cut the remaining muffin in half vertically and place on top of the head for ears.
To make the icing, beat together all the ingredients for a couple of minutes or until light and fluffy, adding more food colouring if you want a deeper shade.
Using a palette knife or spatula, spread the icing all over the teddy bear. If you want it to look smooth, dip the palette knife regularly into a jug or bowl of boiling-hot water.
Next decorate the cake. Add two sweets (chocolate buttons, Smarties or Jelly Tots) for the eyes and one for the nose.
Using the liquorice lace, make a rounded ‘W’ right under the nose, with the centre of the ‘W’ elongated to resemble the mouth. Place 3–4 sweets down the front of the body for the teddy’s buttons, or cover the whole body in sweets if you like.