For my daughter Kate’s first birthday party, I decided to do an insect theme and make a ladybird cake. I actually made 2 ladybirds; a mommy and a baby, but I am only going to describe how I made one. Just make a second smaller version if you want to do a baby too.

I bought a glass Pyrex bowl and baked a chocolate cake in it. I cut the cake into 2 pieces in the proportions of 1 third:2 thirds. I bought a block of ready-made fondant icing from a baking specialist shop. I divided the block into 3 parts; a big ball which I coloured pink (it was meant to be red but the red food colouring only turned the icing pink!), another big ball which I coloured black and a small ball I left white (tip: it is better to use powder colour rather than liquid for fondant icing because the liquid makes the icing quite sticky). I further divided the black ball into 2 smaller balls.

Then I rolled the balls into flat circles using a rolling pin. Remember to grease the surface that you roll the icing onto and the rolling pin and also your hands with a clear cooking fat. I’ve used normal butter before and that also works fine. I’ve read that you can also use icing sugar or corn flour but I’ve tried it and found that it leaves white powder marks on the icing.

I covered the 2 parts of the cake in apricot jam and then draped the pink circle over the bigger piece (the body) and one black circle over the smaller piece (the head). I smoothed the icing down over the cake with my hands and cut off the excess icing around the edges. I ran a wooden skewer over the centre of the back of the body to create a wing divide. Then I pushed the 2 pieces together to make the ladybird.

I cut big black circles from the second black circle of icing and decorated the pink body with them. I used white and black circles for the eyes. I made antennae from black bottle cleaners with a ball of black icing on the top and propped them in the divide between the 2 cakes. I sprinkled the ladybird with pink food glitter and I coloured some desiccated coconut green (in a plastic bag) and surrounded the ladybird with the coconut to make grass.

Lastly I stuck in a single candle and wrote Kate’s name on the cake board using icing made from beaten egg white and icing sugar. She loved it!