Make Your Own 'Big Dig' Cake / / by BGS Comms

Last weekend a friend of the Comms Team decided to do some archaeologically inspired baking with her son, and created this deliciously chocolatey 'Big Dig' cake. 

The idea is for the family to bake the cake together, following which fondant 'bones' are added under the final layer of topping. Very carefully, with either pastry brush or clean paintbrush the child - or big kids among us - can then 'excavate' the 'bones, before helping themselves to a big slice of cake! 

With permission, we've been able to share the recipe for the cake on our blog. Fancy trying it? We'd love it if you shared a picture of any 'Big Dig' cakes you make to either our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts. Which dinosaur bones will be discovered? A T-Rex, a Triceratops? How about a brand new species? We can't wait to see! 

Big Dig Cake

Credit: Alison J Emm 


200g margarine
200g granulated sugar
200g self-raising flour
4 medium eggs
Vanilla extract

150g butter
250g icing sugar
50g cocoa powder
Bourbon biscuits (or alternative)
White fondant icing 


Mix the sugar and margarine together in a bowl. Sieve the flour into the bowl, then add the eggs and a splash of vanilla essence. Beat all of the ingredients together until fully combined into a smooth batter.

Pour into a greased or lined cake tin(s) – either a 30 cm x 20 cm cake tin, or two 20cm round cake tins. Bake in the oven at 180c (170c for fan ovens) for 20-25 minutes. Test the cake on removal by piercing the cake with a skewer or sharp knife in the centre, if the skewer or knife comes out clean, your cake is cooked. If it doesn’t, pop it back in for another few minutes. 

To make the icing, sieve the icing sugar and cocoa powder and then beat together with the butter. In a separate bowl, crush your biscuits as much as possible to create the ‘top soil’. I used bourbons, but most biscuits will do the job.

Spread the icing on top of your cake, and in the middle if you’ve made two round cakes. Don’t forget to leave the cake to cool otherwise your icing will melt and make a mess! Shape the fondant icing into whatever bone, skeleton or fossil shapes take your fancy. Press them gently onto the top of the cake so they won’t move around when you’re on your ‘dig’. If you don’t have any fondant icing, you can make an impression in the icing in the shape of a footprint, a shell or a bone instead.

Once you’re happy with your ‘fossil’, sprinkle the crushed biscuit over the top of the cake to cover the design. Your cake is now primed for discovery. Use a pastry brush or a very clean paintbrush to brush away the ‘earth’.