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:
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:
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.
The birthday girl even got in on the baking (read licking) action…
And Olivia just hung out and was a happy girl while mommy worked!
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.
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.
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! 🙂
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.
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:
And here is my little gaggle (flock, herd… what is a group of pigs called?) of piggies.
And my girl with her cake!
Here are the recipes:
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 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.
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
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.