It's become a family tradition that I make increasingly ridiculous birthday cakes for my kids each year. So when my little boy Ben turned 6-years-old, I thought I'd have a shot a making him a playable Angry Birds birthday cake with working catapult and iced birds as ammunition. It took 10 hours to make and 2 minutes to destroy!
Table of contents
Step 1 – Making the base
Step 2 – Designing your Angry Birds level
Step 3 – How to make the pigs and the birds
Step 4- How to make the stones and ice
Step 5 – Bake, cut and position your wafers
Step 6 – Landscaping
Step 7 – Final construction and demolition
What you’ll need
- Catapult – I bought this Browning Match Catapult from Amazon
- Old bookshelf or piece of wood
- Tin foil
- Sticky tape
- Drill and wood drill bits
- Permanent marker pen
- A few packs of Tunnocks Caramel Wafers
- Chocolate cake recipe and ingredients (any chocolate cake mix will do)
- Icing – White ready to roll (I used Silver Spoon stuff)
- Icing – Regal Ice coloured ready to roll (I used Dr.Oetker pre mixed)
- Marzipan (again the Silver Spoon stuff is spot on)
- Betty Crocker icing – 1 tub of vanilla, 1 tub of chocolate fudge
- Food colouring – Green (for the grass), Black (for the stone), blue (for ice blocks)
- Large spatula
- Butter knife
- Sharp knife
- Thin(ish) artist’s paint brush
Step 1 – making the base
Saw an old bookshelf that’s around 6-8 inches wide to around 3-feet long
Cover the bookshelf in tin foil and use sticky tape to secure it to the bottom
Position your catapult at one end of the bookshelf and draw around the base with a permanent marker pen. Then use your drill and wood drill bits to drill a hole that you can slot the catapult into – IMPORTANT NOTE: Drill at a slight angle so the catapult is leaning slightly back. I did a few test shots before drilling and this gave the best results when firing the catapult.
Check you can slot your catapult into the board before you ice the board. You want it to be a tight fit.
Step 2 – designing your Angry Birds level
I didn’t choose to copy an existing Angry Birds level, as it’s far more fun (and a little easier) to freestyle it. First, get all your Tunnocks Caramel Wafers and scatter them across your board to see how much room you have to play with.
Next, start building and work out what construction works for you. Remember, you don’t want to build too high, or they’ll fall over while you’re taking aim, as the finished level should be fragile enough that you can successfully smash it to pieces.
Pour yourself a drink and start sketching out some basic designs. It doesn’t matter if you can’t draw. Having a rough plan really helps when it comes to piecing it all together as you’ll see in the video above.
Step 3 – How to make the pigs and birds
I literally just had Angry Birds open on my phone and kept a level open so I could refer back to it from time to time. First step is to make the bodies and basic form of your pigs and birds. Use your pre-mixed coloured icing and roll out the spheres using a little plain flour so they don’t get sticky and unmanageable.
Top tip: Sticking bits of icing together isn’t easy once you’ve covered it in plain flour, but I found a solution. Simply dip the part you want to stick in a bit more plain flour, then dab water on it with the tip of a knife (the bits are pretty small and fiddly) – this makes a gluey consistency which helps secure snouts and beaks to bodies.
Leave it all out overnight. The icing will harden quite a bit, transforming the birds into far better ammunition and the pigs into more solid targets. Plus, having the bodies hardened makes it much easier to apply the finishing touches and details in the morning, as you’ll be less worried about them squishing in your hands as you add the eyes, feathers, and quiffs. Top tip: Marzipan is the perfect colour for the red bird’s tummy.
Step 4 – How to make the stones and ice
Crack open your packet of ready-to-roll white icing. Now use your sharp knife to cut out some large triangles and squares (stones), and some smaller cubes and rectangles (ice).
To create the stone effect, use your thin paint brush to paint around the edges with undiluted black food colouring. Then pop a little of the black food colouring in a glass and add a few shots of water to dilute it. This gives you a greyish shade that you can blend into the middle, working from the edges inwards.
To create the ice effect, paint around the edges using undiluted blue food colouring. When you’re done, as with the stones, dilute the blue a little. But this time don’t fill in the remaining white space. Instead paint a series of random diagonal lines (all in the same direction) to give the effect of ice.
Step 5 – Bake, cut and position your cake and wafers
Now, use any standard chocolate cake recipe to bake a cake. If you’ve got one, use a rectangular or square baking tin, as this means you’ll have less wastage when you start cutting your landscape out.
Refer to your sketch and cut your cake to size, positioning the pieces on your foil-covered cake board.
Use your black marker pen to draw lines around your bits of landscape. Then take the cake off. This is so that when you ice the board, you don’t waste icing and can just add the green grass icing where it needs to go.
Once you’re done, get your chocolate fudge Betty Crocker icing and dab a lump beneath each strut on your Tunnocks Caramel Wafers. This helps keep them together a little better and helps when you’re positioning them in the final construction phase.
Step 6 – Landscaping
Empty your pot of Betty Crocker vanilla icing into a bowl and keep adding heathy squirts of green food colouring until you’re happy with the shade of your grass.
Spread your green icing over the board using your spatula, avoiding the pre-marked spaces where your cakes are going to sit.
The grass effect is simply achieved by randomly dabbing and pulling the icing up into points. After an hour or so it’ll harden a little so it maintains its shape.
Place your cakes in their slots on the board, then use your tub of chocolate fudge icing to cover them. Cover each cake roughly with your spatula, then use your butter knife to finish it off smoothly.
Step 7 – final construction and demolition
Start by positioning your wafer arches on the board. Wedge them down as best you can, as they will wobble and topple at the slightest nudge. Then start placing your stone and ice blocks where you want them.
Final step is positioning your pigs. Keep a steady hand and place them wherever your like. Remember to make a game of it thought, and put them in tough places too, as you’ll want it to be a fun challenge.
Now it’s time to let loose and start pelting those pigs with your iced birds!
Sit back and enjoy the carnage. Then cut a fat slice of chocolate cake as your reward.