Monday, October 17, 2016

Wolf Cake - Cub scouts & Halloween

My son and I needed to bake a cake for a cake bake auction for his cub scout den/pack.  He is currently a wolf, and the categories ranged across various themes.  We decided to make a cake that fit two categories: Den themed & Halloween - how fun!  I googled 'wolf cake' and found some great ideas for a wolf cake.  I decided on a vanilla cake that would be shaped into a wolf face as found on these two websites:,

So then, we embarked on baking two 8-inch vanilla cakes for the main part of the face with a few cupcakes to mold the snout and ears.
I used a slight variation to my vanilla cupcake recipe (used method of 'reverse creaming' to mix the ingredients, used only cake flour, used egg whites instead of whole eggs, used buttermilk instead of milk) that I found on this blog:
Cake Ingredients
  • 3 cups (450g/15oz) cake flour*, sifted
  • 2 cups (480g/16oz) granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 whole egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 1/2 cups (340g, 12oz, 3 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
Frosting Ingredients
  • 1½ cups (340g/12oz, 3 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 ¼ cups (360g/12oz) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk or cream
  • pinch of salt
The Cake:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Insert 5-6 cupcake/muffin liners into a cupcake/muffin tin.
  2. In a large jug combine and whisk together the egg whites, whole egg, milk, and the vanilla extract. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed for 1 minute. (You can also do it by hand)
  4. Add the cold butter and continue to mix on low until the mixture is a fine crumbly texture.
  5. Add the liquid mixture into your dry ingredients in 2 separate batches making sure to scrape the sides and bottom before and after each batch, mixing until light, fluffy, homogenous and well incorporated. Fold once or twice to ensure the batter at bottom of bowl is incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans - 2 1/2 cups of batter per each 8-inch pan, the remainder in the muffin tin.
  7. Bake until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs when inserted into the center, about 25-35 minutes. Be very careful to not over-bake. Check cake at 25 minutes to see how it is doing and judge the timing from there.
  8. Once baked, let the cakes cool on racks for 20 minutes before removing them from the tins.
  9. When the cake is completely cold you can start to decorate. If you are not using it straight away wrap the cake tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.

The Frosting:
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or using an electric hand mixer whip the butter until light and creamy for about 7-8 minutes on medium/high speed.
  2. Once the butter is pale in color and light slowly add in the confectioners' sugar one spoon at a time on medium speed. Let the sugar fully incorporate before adding in more sugar.
  3. Add the vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, salt and cream.
  4. Whip on high speed for another 3-4 minutes until very light, creamy, and fluffy.
  5. Use the buttercream straight away or keep it refrigerated for up to 4 weeks. Before use make sure it comes to room temperature.
To Frost the Cake:
  1. With a serrated knife, cut off the top of the cake layers to give them even, level surfaces to frost on.
  2. Place bottom cake layer on the table and spread your chilled white butter cream frosting on top with a small offset spatula. 
  3. Gently place 2nd cake layer face down on top.
  4. Set a cupcake on it's side and attach it with frosting to the bottom of the cake to make the shape of the wolf's snout.  Cut another cupcake in half and lay them on their sides to make the wolf's  ears.
  6. Carve a little bit of cake away from the ear to the cheek, and then from the bottom of the cheek to the snout to give the wolf a more narrow, wolf-like, shape.  
  7. Once the desired shape is achieved, complete the crumb coat by adding a generous scoop of frosting and spread it evenly with a small offset spatula over the entire cake until there is a thin layer of frosting over the whole cake.
  9. Chill until set, about 30 minutes, and then remove from the refrigerator to begin decorating.
  10. Roll out black fondant with a bit of powdered sugar and, using a fondant knife, make cutouts for the shape of the eyes, the inner ears and snouts using the picture below as inspiration (see note at bottom for more detail):
  11.  Alternatively, use black frosting and a #5 tip to apply it to create the shape of eyes, inner ears and snout.  **Note that i couldn't get the frosting black using the wilton black gel, could only get it dark as a dark grey; also made a light grey, and kept some of the frosting it's original color**
  12. I bought these Wilton candy eyes to attach to the black fondant cutouts:
  13. Using the wilton grass tip #233, begin frosting the wolf with the white frosting, just doing bits around the eyes and snout.  Then using the dark grey/black frosting, outline the entire wolf along the bottom.  Finally, using the grey frosting, fill in the entire cake with 'fur'.   
  14. Kind of looks like a horse/owl/maybe a wolf?  I think i cut the 'snout' a bit too narrow.  But it'll do!  
  15. NOTE**I used this image: as the basis for my design.  There's nice detail to create the shape of the eyes and snout.  The larger white areas around the eyes and snout I decided to keep in the design of the cake by using white frosting in those areas.  The rest of the wolf is grey, with the exception of an outline around the cake in dark grey/black.**

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