This year I have a new birdfeeder hanging from our tree which my Dad graciously passed along to me. Winters can be long and dreary here in Michigan and feeding the birds is a fun little diversion that I enjoy.
My new birdfeeder has two wire baskets for the square suet birdseed cakes, more commonly known by the brand name of Birdola. I’ve bought a couple of the Birdola cakes so far this winter season, but then (as I am so often prone to do) I began to wonder if I could Make My Own little birdseed cakes.
I started searching for recipes online and found this bird suet cake recipe at the rather unlikely website of Dave’s Repair, a site which mostly talks about appliance repair. He gave a glowing testimonial of how much the birds loved this recipe (along with bears and other assorted critters !!) so I decided to make it for myself and see how the birds in my neck of the woods like it. No bears where I live so we should be OK in that department.
It turned out the most puzzling thing would be finding the first ingredient in the recipe, good old fashioned lard. I ended up finding my lard in the Hispanic section of the grocery store. (read the follow up post: Looking For Lard – Can You Find it in a Grocery Store)
Homemade Birdseed Cake Recipe
You will need:
1 pound lard (I used about 2 cups as I could only find a 2.5 lb tub and had to improvise)
18 oz jar crunchy peanut butter
1 cup raisins
1 cup mixed birdseed
6 cups cornmeal
5 cups all purpose flour
#1 – Melt the lard in the microwave. (I did 2 minutes and 20 second in a glass mixing bowl). Once melted, it will be a clear liquid.
#2 – Pour the melted lard into a very large mixing bowl. Stir in the peanut butter, raisins, and birdseed.
#3 – Next stir in the cornmeal, and then stir in the flour. Toward the end of this process it works a little better to just dig in with your hands to mix it up.
#4 – Spread the mixture in a 9×13 cake pan and cool. Once it has cooled, cut into 6 square blocks. Store in the freezer in ziploc bags.
As stated in the original recipe, this did indeed make 6 blocks that are about 4″ square by 1-1/2″ thick that fit quite nicely into my feeder.
Once I had these all made up I was little surprised at how you really can’t see too much of the birdseed. It does have a much higher proportion of cornmeal and flour. But so far it seems that the birds are enjoying this mixture!