I love bird watching from our living room window, and I feel like feeding the birds in the winter time is one great way to help beat the winter blues! We get such a kick whenever we see little visitors in the tree pecking away at the suet feeder, and I especially get excited when I've taken the time to make these for the birds handmade cakes! This recipe is easy to follow, easy to alter, and fun to enjoy once you get some birdie action outside your windows too.
For this recipe you will need
2 cup glass measuring cup
medium stainless mixing bowl
standard non stick muffin pan
small rubber spatula
steel mixing spoon (I love sun tea spoons)
paper baking cups
rustic craft twine
steel measuring cups
1/2 cup water
2 packets unflavored gelatine
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 cups wild bird seed
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup raisins
Prep your muffin pan with 7 paper baking cups. Then cut 7 strands of twine, about 15-20 inches long. (you want these nice and long so you can tie your ornament around a small tree branch) Then comes the messy fun part!
Start by adding 1/2 cup of water to your glass measuring cup, and microwaving for 1-2 minutes to get the water good and hot (don't over boil). Slowly add two packets of gelatine to the hot water, and stir with your metal spoon until the gelatine is dissolved. Then add 1/2 cup of crunchy peanut butter, and return the glass cup to the microwave for another 45 seconds or so. Stir until you have a creamy buttery mixture.
Next, add all your dry ingredients to your mixing bowl, and pour the peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients.
Mix well with your rubber spatula, until you get a nice gooey sticky mess of seeds.
Begin adding the bird seed mixture to the paper baking cups filling half way full. Then fold a piece of twine in half and press the folded side into the seed, leaving two long pieces hanging out. I recommend doing it this way, rather than making a loop, so that you can easily tie the bird seed cake onto any tree branch.
Next finish filling all 7 paper baking cups with your seed mixture, and press firmly using your rubber spatula. You want the ingredients to be nice and tightly compact, so they will stick together and stay a cake, while the birds slowly eat away at it.
Once you've used up all the seed mixture and pressed each cake nice and compact, place the tray in the freezer for about an hour. Remove the tray from the freezer, and carefully pop each cake out of the tray by gently tugging the paper edge of the cups, which will make the cakes pop out of the muffin pan. You can then store them in the freezer, laying flat in a gallon sized freezer bag, or freezer safe container.
I like to hang 2 cakes in the tree at a time, so that there isn't too much competition for the little birds to get in on the action. When you're ready to hang these, simply take one or two out of the freezer, let it thaw just enough that you can gently remove the paper liner, and tie the long strands around your favorite tree branch.
If you live in a climate that is cold and dry in the winter, these would be perfect for you... however if you live in a rainy climate like I do, keep an eye on the weather and hang these during a time when you see a dry stretch of weather for several days, so that they don't turn to mush in the rain.
As we all know, there are plenty of bugs and berries for birds to eat in the summer months, so this recipe is special for winter, with extra fat and protein to add to their little bones when food is otherwise scarce. This also makes a great winter craft project for kids, bird lovers, grandparents, or even as a Christmas gift for someone who loves feeding and watching the birds.
I hope you enjoy this little craft project with someone you love, and enjoy bird watching, learning what birds come to visit, and getting a bit of joy each time you see them arrive for a few bites from these yummy birdseed cakes!