You can easily make cakes, cookies, and bread dough into animal shapes.
Cakes can be baked in animal-shaped molds. Or, they can be baked in round, square, and rectangular layers or in muffin tins. Then, the cake layers can be shaped further with a knife and arranged to make more complex animal shapes.
Cookie dough can be molded by hand, pressed into clay or metal molds, or cut out with animal-shaped cookie cutters. Bundt pans, stainless steel or heatproof glass bowls can also be used as cake baking molds. Bread dough can be rolled into balls and cylindrical to make a variety of animal shapes.
At your local craft or cake decorating supply store, you can find a variety of cake molds in animal shapes, including popular cartoon characters such as Winnie the Pooh and Garfield the Cat. An even wider array of molds is available online.
If you want to make a cake for an animal for which a mold is not readily available or if you want to avoid the cost of buying specialty molds that will be used infrequently, you are limited only by your imagination. Use a firm cake recipe, such as pound cake, so that the cake can be easily handled. To get you started, here are a couple of ideas:
Frog Cake: Bake the cake batter in a round, greased and floured heatproof bowl. Make sure. Lower the heat 25 degrees below the temperature required by the recipe and extend the cooking time so that the cake is done inside and out. Make sure a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry. Bake the remainder of the batter in floured and greased muffin tins or custard cups. Cool the cake and turn it out onto a cake base or plate; this will be the frog’s body. Cut one of the cupcakes in half vertically.
Mix buttercream icing in white and in pale green. Place icing on the top (wide end) of the half cupcakes and place them on top of the frog’s body to form bulging eyes. Cover the front of the eyes with white icing and then frost the entire body, sides, and back of the eyes with green icing. Use black or red licorice shoestrings for a mouth and large gumdrops for eyeballs. Use slices of gumdrops to bright colored spots on the green frog. Or, if you prefer, use bright colored decorator’s icing or gel to put eyeballs, mouth, and other details on your frog.
Cat Cake: Bake the cake batter in a small round layer and square layer. Cool and place on waxed paper on a cutting board. Cut the square layer into a triangle with a wide bottom, by cutting off and reserving narrow triangles from each side. Cut the sharp corner from the top of the triangle. Place the triangle with the round layer adjacent to the trimmed end on a cake board covered with foil or waxed paper.
Use buttercream icing as a mortar to hold the two pieces together. Your cat now has a body and ahead. From the reserved long narrow triangles, cut two matching triangles for ears and use the remainder to piece a tail. Use icing to hold the pieces together as you assemble your cat’s features. Ice the cake with white, chocolate (brown), orange, or black icing. Add features as desired using candy, such as gumdrops or licorice shoestrings, or decorator icing. If you want a fluffy white cat, coconut can be used for the fur.
For animal-shaped cookies, hundreds of animal cookie cutter shapes are available. Sugar cookies, ginger cookies, and shortbread are excellent for cookies cut with cookie cutters. These cookies can be decorated before baking with a mixture of evaporated milk and food coloring brushed on with pastry and decorating brushes. Or, they can be decorated after baking with a mixture of powdered sugar and milk. Decorator icing, colored sugar, and a variety of sprinkles can be used to add details to your animal cut out cookies.
Peanut butter cookie dough is a good choice for hand-molded animal cookies. By combining balls and cylinders of dough, you can easily shape dogs, cats, cows, horses, birds, lions, or elephants. Be sure, though, to make the various parts of your animal similar in shape and size for even baking. If your lion or horse needs a mane, you can squeeze the dough through a kitchen strainer to make the dough look like hair. You may need to bake these cookies a bit slower and longer than usual because hand forming makes a thicker cookie.
Finally, bread and roll dough can be shaped into animals. Use a brioche recipe to shape frogs in greased muffin tins. Place a large ball of dough in each depression in the pan and add two small balls for eyes. Decorate the baked frog rolls with decorator icing.
For larger animals, use frozen bread dough or mix up a batch of firm bread dough. Egg bread recipes work especially well for molded animals. Place the animal shapes on a greased jellyroll pan or cookie sheet for the final rising of the dough. Keep in mind the animal’s parts will become fatter as they rise.
Teddy Bear Bread: From a recipe for a 1.5-pound loaf, you can make two bears, so you will need to divide the dough in half. For each bear, form a flattened oval for the body. Add a flattened ball for the head. To connect the parts, use a small amount of water or egg white applied with your fingers. Add two balls to the head for ears.
Place a small, flattened ball in the middle of the face for a nose. To complete your bear, add two short legs to the side of the body and two to the bottom of the bottom. Brush the bear with egg white to give the finished product a shiny appearance. Raisins or currants or other dried fruit may be applied to the glaze as eyes and other facial features. Bake as usual, baking a shorter time than for a loaf of bread made with the same recipe.
Rabbit Bread: Use the same technique as for the Teddy Bear, but use long ovals for the rabbit’s ears and a triangle to form the face. The rabbitâ€™s lower legs can be made with four ovals–two on the outside of the lower part of the big oval, with two sticking out to the side.
With a few simple techniques, both children and adults can create a variety of animals with baked goods. The possibilities are limited only by imagination.With a few simple