1. Bake the chocolate cake at least a day before you plan to decorate. Use a half-sphere, 20cm cake tin.
2. Once the cake is cool: Put it back in the tin and use a sharp serrated knife to cut any uneven rising off the cake to level it. Turn the cake out.
3. Make the royal icing
Beat egg white in an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, on a slow speed until bubbles start to appear.
Add sifted icing sugar a little at a time, beating on a higher speed until it forms firm peaks.
Add lemon juice and mix in gently. Tightly cover the icing with plastic wrap as soon as it is made so it doesn’t dry out.
Note: Royal icing will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days. Remove from the fridge, bring to room temperature and stir well before using.
Set aside 2 heaped dessertspoons in a small bowl then equally divide the remaining royal icing between bowls and colour one red and the other black. Add colour proportionately as follows, a little at a time, mixing well, then continuing to add colour until desired tone is reached.
Red: Add a few drops of red
Black: Add a few drops of black
Cover the bowls with plastic wrap to prevent the icing from drying out.
4. Stick the cake to the cake board using a little black royal icing. Place the cake and board on an upside-down bowl with a pan underneath it to catch the drips. Spread the black royal icing over the half sphere, letting the excess icing drip off the bottom of the cake. Set the cake aside to dry (this could take 6–8 hours, depending on the humidity).
5. To Outline The Wings: When the black royal icing on the cake is dry to the touch (it’s OK if it is still soft underneath), fit the medium round tip to a piping bag and fill the bag with a couple of dessertspoons of red royal icing. Keep the remaining royal icing covered.
Pipe a thin red line two-thirds of the way across the sphere to separate the face and body, leaving a 1 cm gap in the middle of this line, as shown.
Then, leaving a 1 cm gap all the way from front to back, pipe 2 lines along the top of the sphere to make the wings, as shown. To make the 3 spots on each wing, gently press the rim of a small glass onto the black icing.
Remove the glass and pipe 3 large red outlines over the resulting imprints. Cover the wings with red icing, carefully going around the spots (you can use a toothpick to spread the icing). Allow any excess icing to drip off the bottom.
Leave to dry.
6. To Make The Antennae: Use the paintbrush to paint the 2 skewers with black food colouring and allow them to dry. Use the tip of a sharp knife to carefully ‘drill’ a small hole in each giant Jaffa and push the sharp end of the skewers into them.
7. When the red royal icing is dry enough, place the cake on the serving plate.
8. To Add The Eyes: Fit the second piping bag with a medium round tip and fill the bag with the set-aside white royal icing. Using the glass-imprinting technique described above, pipe 3 white circles inside each other for each eye.
Fill the smallest centre circles and the outer ring with white icing, as shown, using a toothpick to spread the icing evenly inside the lines.
Exactly where you place the pupils in the eyes is what gives the ladybird personality, so you may like to practise on paper first before adding the eyes to the cake.
Insert the giant-Jaffa antennae into the cake above the eyes, at the top of the face