I spotted these a while back on Pinterest(you can find the pin source here), and kept meaning to make them. We have a lot of little feathered visitors in our garden, and they happily help themselves to my vegetable seeds or creepy crawlies in the summer. In the winter months though, they really appreciate some bird feed and a dish of water on days when dinner is harder to find. I had a nice bird-feeder hanging from the shed but last year so many of them hung from it at once to fill their greedy little bellies that it broke. On Sunday I noticed a bird foraging through the mossy patches on the patio and thought that maybe it’s time for me to help them out a little. I remembered pinning this idea and so decided to give it a go.
These little bird ‘cakes’ were super easy to make and I think they look really pretty, a nice way to brighten up bare trees. I have a feeling that kids will absolutely love to make them and then hang them outside, keeping an eye to see if the birds like them. As they are quick and easy to mix together they make a great weekend activity. If they have grandparents who like to garden they would also make a pretty little stocking filler for kids to make for them for Christmas. Pop one into a cellophane bag, tie with a nice ribbon and add a little gift tag. I picked up a 1kg bag of bird seed in my local supermarket for €1.69 and used half to make 3 ‘cakes’ so they are also budget friendly.
This amount made 3 ‘cakes’ for me, I used a 14cm x 12.5cm heart-shaped cookie cutter, and a 13cm star-shaped cutter. The amount of ‘cakes’ you yield from the mixture will depend on the size of cutter you use to shape them.
100g Plain Flour
500g Bird Seed
1. Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas Mark 1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Add the flour and water to a large mixing bowl and mix to form a smooth batter. Add in the bird seed and mix until it has all been coated in some of the flour mix. At first you might think that you won’t have enough of the flour mix to do the job but just mix it thoroughly and I promise that you will.
3. Rub some oil onto the inside of a large cookie/pastry cutter. Place the cutter down onto one of the lined baking sheets. Spoon the bird seed mixture into the cookie cutter until it is full, make sure to pat it down as you go so that there are no big gaps left. Using a straw make a hole for the sting to go through, don’t make it to close to the edge (see note below) to ensure the ‘cake’ doesn’t break when hanging. Holding the spoon gently on top of the ‘cake’ ease the cutter off. Now repeat until you have used up all of the mixture.
4. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Thread some string through the hole and knot to secure, bows are optional. Now hang outside for the birds to fill their little faces.
A little note: When I got up this morning it would appear that the savages had eaten their way through to the hole for the string, I tied some extra string around it and hung it back up and within minutes they were back feasting on it. For this reason I would recommend placing the hole right in the middle of the ‘cake’. If you like you could tie the string around an ice pop stick before threading it through the hole for a little extra support. The ‘cake’ will lie horizontal then, if you know what I mean, but they seem to be enjoying standing on the one hanging from my shed now as they peck away at it. I’d post a picture but every time I appear at the back door with the camera they scurry, I feel like your man from the Kit Kat ad.
Apologies for the slightly wobbly pictures, but they kept swinging in the wind so it was hard to get a blur free shot.
So I finally caught one in action. But it’s a crap picture because I had to take it from a distance. And I used the wrong lens. Because I broke my other lens. But we won’t talk about that. It still makes me weep.