Swan cake tutorial

From our Cake Decorating School… the swan cake step-by-step tutorial

Swan cake Image credit: Lakeland
Brought to you by Lakeland

Move over Mr Turkey, it’s time for Lakeland's magical swan to take centre stage on the Christmas table! This magnificent white swan cake is so effective yet surprisingly easy to put together. 

Tip! You could also make the feathers with meringue – simply whisk egg whites and caster sugar until glossy, then pipe or spread into feather shapes on non-stick paper and bake until dried out.

Content continues after advertisements

You will need

For the cake

  • 115g (4oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 115g (4oz) caster sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 115g (4oz) self-raising flour, sieved
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp jam, for the filling

For the buttercream

  • 100g (31⁄2oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g (8oz) icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

To decorate

  • 400g (14oz) white chocolate


  • 2 Lakeland small hemisphere cake tins
  • non-stick liner
  • mini palette knife
  • pastry brush
  • gold edible silk
  • edible glitter dust pump
  • Renshaw Flower Paste
  • Wilton Cake Decorating Brush Set
  • wooden skewer
  • edible glue
  • cake release
  • double-ended edible food art pen
  • silicone microwave chocolate melting pot
  • clear alcohol


To make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 3. Grease the cake tins with cake release or a little butter.
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, then gently fold in the flour and baking powder.
Divide the mixture between the cake tins, ensuring the surfaces are level, then place on a baking sheet. To hold the pans steady, we recommend standing them on cooking rings. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until well risen, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

To decorate:

Make the swan’s neck and crown in advance. Mould the flower paste into the shape of the swan’s neck and head and pinch it at the end to make the beak. Insert a skewer halfway up the neck and cut to length – leave about 8cm (3in) to poke into the cake to hold the neck up. Shape the small crown and leave them both to completely harden overnight.
To make the buttercream, mix the softened butter with the icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and creamy.
Cut the bottom off one of the hemisphere cakes to steady the cake, then sandwich the two cakes together with jam and buttercream.
To make the feathers, melt the white chocolate and lay your non-stick liner out in a long line. Using a teaspoon or palette knife, dollop a blob of chocolate onto the sheet and spread in one swift motion to get a feather effect with the pastry brush – you’ll need enough of these to cover the cake completely.
Leave to set for about half an hour before gently peeling each feather off the non-stick paper, then spray each feather end with the gold glitter pump.
Cover the whole cake in a thick layer of buttercream. Starting at the back, carefully stick and overlap the feathers, using extra buttercream or melted chocolate if you need to stick them on top of each other. Work your way around to the front and make sure the last few feathers below the neck are assembled neatly as the join will be visible.
Once the neck and crown have hardened, mix some of the edible gold silk with a drop of clear alcohol (vodka or gin will do) to make a paint. Using a brush, paint the gold onto the crown and beak.
Immediately spray the crown with the gold glitter pump and leave to dry. Once the crown is dry, use the edible glue to attach it to the head.
Use the edible food art pen to draw on the swan’s eyes and other details.
Attach the neck onto the body by pushing the skewer into the cake and use a little buttercream to neaten up the join.
For a final flourish, use the gold glitter pump to spray a little more gold over the completed swan.

Related cake decorating

More in Cakes for Christmas

Click here to sign up to our newsletters!

Click here to sign up to our newsletters!