Chcolate hedgehog cake with chocolate buttons for spines

How To Make The Classic 80s Harriet Hedgehog Birthday Cake

The legendary chocolate hedgehog cake. It’s an 80s classic that my mum made me, and my kids ask for year after year. As well as looking super cute, it also tastes yummy thanks to a lot of chocolate icing, some orange and lots of chocolate buttons! I’ve used photos from two that I’ve made over the years, so they look slightly different. Chocolate Harriet Hedgehog birthday cake

This recipe is for a chocolate and orange marbled cake, but you could make just chocolate or just orange and it would be just as yummy. It’s baked in a pudding basin, to help you get the shape of a hedgehog.

HOW TO MAKE THE hedgehog cake


175g/6oz soft butter or margarine
175g/6oz caster sugar
3 medium eggs
150g/5oz self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
25g/0.8oz cocoa
1 small orange

1. Grease and line your pudding basin – I used a 1lb one and that was plenty big enough.
2. Cream together the butter/margarine and sugar until pale and fluffy. I used an electric whisk.
3. Gradually whisk in the eggs.
4. Sift in the flour and baking powder and gently fold together.
5. In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa with tablespoon of boiling water to make a paste, then add about half of the cake mixture and mix together.
6. Grate the zest of the orange into the remaining cake mixture, and add some of the juice, until the mix drops easily off the spoon.
7. Add alternate spoonfuls of the two mixtures into a greased, lined pudding basin.
8. Swirl through once to create a marbled effect, smooth out and bake at 180 degrees for around an hour, but keep checking on it.

Finally, Ava got to lick the spatula!


I was so pleased you can actually see a bit of marbling!

The amount of washing up is astonishing.Washing up


Next comes the construction… This means a great deal of chocolate butter cream icing.

350g/12oz icing sugar
25g/1oz cocoa
175g/6oz butter
Chocolate buttons

1. Cream the butter to soften it, using an electric whisk, or spoon if you’re feeling strong.
2. Sift in the icing sugar and cocoa and mix until smooth.

Cut the cake in half and see if the  marbling worked – mine’s pretty good, amazingly!

Marbled cake

Sandwich the two parts together, cut side down, with some icing. Cut part of one end off to make a rounded bottom, then stick these left overs at the other end to bulk out the snout.

TIP: Construct it on the plate you want to present it on, I forgot and used a chopping board for this one, but here’s my second attempt, on a strong paper plate. You can also see that this shape didn’t work as well so I’ve had to trim more, and add more in different places. Chocolate hedgehog cake before being iced

Next, just smother it in icing and make it fairly smooth, make some markings on the face with a fork. Then decorate with chocolate buttons cut in half, I did them in rows, interlocking with the row before, for maximum coverage.

I used one packet of small chocolate buttons, near the face, then went to giant ones half way when the small ones ran out. I used a jelly bean for a nose and two raisins for eyes.

The finished Chocolate HEDGEHOG CAKE

Ta da!

Chocolate Harriet Hedgehog birthday cake

The finished Chocolate Hedgehog Cake

Now, I’m not normally one to blow my own trumpet, but “TOOT TOOT” I am pretty darn impressed with my effort!

TIP: Pop the cake into the fridge if you can, to help the icing set.

So the big question is, did the birthday girl like it? Judge for yourself!Thea and her chocolate hedgehog cake

I’ve made it for Ava too and this time I remembered to reserve a bit of the cake mix to make into a cupcake, to hold the candles.

Ava loved it too.
Ava and her chocolate hedgehog birthday cake

Have you ever made an 80s birthday cake for your kids? It’s great fun.

Why not Pin this recipe for later?

A step by step tutorial showing you how to make the classic 80s chocolate Harriet hedgehog cake.

27 thoughts on “How To Make The Classic 80s Harriet Hedgehog Birthday Cake

  1. Olive Mavor says:

    I too am making a hedgehog cake – for my four year old grandson’s birthday – having made one in the eighties for my daughter!

  2. Shirl carter says:

    Thank you for his recipe . I made this for my daughter in the 80s and she has asked me to make the same one for her daughter s 5th birthday. So was very pleased to find the same Harriet heghog recipe. This will bring back memories.

  3. A Moment with Franca says:

    Oh wow Becky this looks fantastic and super yummy!! What a great attempt!! You definitely have skills for baking! I’m a disaster in the kitchen but Nick is pretty good so I will show him this so he can do one for us!! 😉 Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS!! I’m so happy to have again for this week!! 🙂 xx

  4. newmummyblogcom says:

    So impressive! I love it ! You really can’t fault 80s cooking… Prawn cocktails, salmon mousse, vol a vents, trifle! I might have to try this for hubby’s birthday 🙂 #kcacols

  5. The Speed Bump says:

    That is SO cute! I always wanted a hedgehog cake for my birthdays but I was growing up in the 2000s and I think it was seen as a by-product of the 80s but it’s so adorable!!! I am SO requesting one of these for my birthday next year! #KCACOLS

  6. Suz (Beau is Blue) (@beauisblue) says:

    what a fab idea! we will defo need to do something like this with Elliott! Thanks for sharing! beautiful photo! Suz x

  7. Sara Handy Herbs says:

    Wow! That is a very impressive cake – and what cute pics of the birthday girl! Thanks for sharing #ToddlerApprovedTuesday

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