The Making of a Wolf…

When I asked Maiya a few weeks ago what she wanted for a birthday cake she said, ‘A Big Bad Wolf’ cake. Ummm ok (thinking, how the hell am I going to pull this off!?!). As we got closer to the date, each time I asked her she was adamant, she wanted a ‘Big Bad Wolf’ cake. When I was growing up my mom often made us some cool birthday cakes (Raggedy Ann, etc), and I always wanted to have my kids birthdays be a day when they could pick, what they wanted to eat, do, and what they wanted for their cake and party (you know, within reason). So I started googling (thinking, google knows all, someone has done this and will show me the way – sidebar – how the heck did parents do ANYTHING before google!?). Well the cake I found that I thought I could reproduce in some form is this one:

Wolf Cake

I started by making a paper template using my round cake pan, a cupcake paper, and the image above. This is what I came up with:

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Baking the cake. I called my mom and she gave me a cake recipe that she had used called Grandma’s Chocolate Cake from an old Companies Coming cookbook. (I’ll post the recipe below for anyone who wants it). I baked it into one round cake and the rest of the batter into cupcakes. I knew I wanted cupcakes for the wolf’s nose, and thought cupcakes would be easy to shape the rest of the head with. It worked out well because I also decided to make piggy cupcakes, so I had plenty of leftover cupcakes for some piggies.

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The birthday girl even got in on the baking (read licking) action…

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And Olivia just hung out and was a happy girl while mommy worked!

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After the cake was baked, I let it cool completely, and then started to shape it into a wolf. You can see below the picture of the final shape that I came up with, along with the template laid overtop to show that it looks approximately like what I was going for.

wolf

At this point I crumb coated it with icing. This is a thin layer of icing that helps to make it easier to ice later as it glues all the crumbs down, and helps give you a nice surface to work on. It also should help to seal the cake so that it does not dry out overnight. Here is the cake as I left it the night before the party.

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The next morning (the day of the party) I woke up and made up my icing (I’ll post that recipe below also…). I colored it grey with some black food coloring, and then took a few spoonfuls out that I added more black food coloring to, to make a black icing for the nose, eyes, and ears. I started by putting the nose, eyes and ears on, just freehand with a knife. I’m sure this isn’t how the professionals do it, but I’m no expert cake maker! 🙂

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At this point I started to fill in with ‘hair’. Thanks to the great advice of some of my mommy running friends, I had gone out and purchased a grass piping tip (tip # 233). I used this tip to pipe the hair of the wolf. It was a lot of work, and my arms were very cramped up by the end, but it did a great job of making hair like texture. In the photo below, the center of the wolf’s face looks like a lighter color. This was where I had to refill my piping bag, it actually didn’t turn out like this, but looked different until the icing set.

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In addition to the wolf, I also made some little piggies to go with him. They were pretty easy to put together, and I just followed these instructions that I found on another blog. The only thing I had to do was to die the marshmallows. I looked at the grocery store, but there weren’t any colored large marshmallows. To die the marshmallows I just put some water in a cup, added some red food coloring, and submerged the marshmallows, weighing them down with another cup. I then let them dry overnight. The color was a bit blotchy from being crammed into the cup, and I would work harder to make it even if I was coloring a darker color, or if I had a more discerning audience than my 3 year old 🙂

Here are the cupcakes ready to assemble:

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And here is my little gaggle (flock, herd… what is a group of pigs called?) of piggies.

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And my girl with her cake!

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Here are the recipes:

Cake:

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 egg beaten

3 squares unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

2 cups sifted cake flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup milk

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a pot and cook over medium heat until the chocolate melts. Cool

Cream the shortening and 1 cup of sugar. Add vanilla and eggs.

Stir the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Alternatively add the dry ingredients and milk to the creamed sugar shortening mixture.

Blend in the chocolate mixture.

Bake at 350 for approx 25-35 minutes.

Icing:

1 cup butter/shortening mix (I used approx 2/3 butter 1/3 shortening). Butter is yummier but shortening is apparently easier to pipe.

1 tsp vanilla

4 cups icing sugar

2 tbsp milk

food coloring

Cream the butter and shortening together. I whipped them for quite a while to make sure they were well blended and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Slowly add the icing sugar. Add the milk, 1 tbsp at a time until the icing is the desired consistency. Color as required.

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4 thoughts on “The Making of a Wolf…

  1. Pingback: Blog-a-versary, a favorite thing, and a long run | Terry's Blog

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. My second grade daughter had to do a report on the arctic wolf and include a visual representation. She desperately wanted to do a cake, but I couldn’t imagine how she could do it without a lot of help from me (and I’m not much help!) Your instructions were so simple, she had no problem. Because hers was an arctic wolf, she did a final layer of white frosting and covered with coconut. She toasted a little coconut for inside the ears, used a peppermint patty on top of the frosting for the nose, licorice slivers for whiskers, and added some green gummy lifesavers inside the black frosting for the eyes (she shaped the eyes more like almonds to do this), But we never would have been able to get it started or imagine how to do it without your post. Thanks!!

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