Sweet Fox Cake #TipTuesday
This week, I want to share not only how to make this sweet fox cake but also talk about proportion and how to scale a cake for the servings you need.
So often, I see people ask "what size cake is this." My answer is that it doesn't matter. What I need to know is what size my client needs. It's my job then to create a cake size that maintains the same proportions but provides the servings we need. Most of the cute animal cakes we see online, including unicorns, are usually a tall tier 6" or 8" cake.
The cake on the left is a 4" tall 6" cake and the cake on the right is a 5" tall 8" cake. They look similar because of the proportions. I like to use 1" layers so the 8" cake has 5-1" layers. Based on a serving size of 8 cubic inches, the cake on the left serves about 10 and the one on the right serves 25.
The client who wanted the fox cake was expecting about 40 guests. This is why it is so important to have a serving chart you like. Certainly for 40 guests, we could make a 10" (serves 34) or 11" (serves 46) cake, but that would make for a very short and fat fox cake. Instead, I chose to make a 9" x 6 layer cake. My chart lists 9" cakes as serving 27. That is based on my 4-1" layers. I divide the 27 servings by the 4 layers/inches tall to see that each layer serves about 6.75. No one is eating 3/4 of a serving so I round down to 6 servings. I then multiply the 6 servings by 6 layers to see the 9" x 6" tall cake serves about 36. That's perfect for a guest count of 40.
I baked 3-9" devils food cakes and torted each to 2-1" layers. I filled them with salted caramel ganache and crumb coated 2-3 layer cakes. I stacked these together to make 1-6 layer cake.
I used a seam gauge to measure the length for my dowels and cut them using a mitre box. I really don't want the tiers to shift so I place a wooden bamboo skewer in the middle of the middle dowel and through both cakes.
Once I final frosted the cakes, I printed and cut templates for the face and ears. I printed a few different sizes. Looking back, I could have made the ears just a tad bigger.
Use the template to cut the ears from gumpaste. Smooth the edges and wrap the bottom around a bamboo skewer.
I use the wider side of a wave flower former to shape the ears. I place a little piece of paper towel to bend the ears and give them a bit of life.
Cut the face template from fondant. I smoothed the fondant into place but left the little curls at the side. I used a pair of scissors to cut the notch in half and shaped the little hairs. I was worried they would flap about trying to place this large piece on the side of the cake.
Add eyes and nose. I shaped these with a bit of black fondant. They aren't too large or heavy so I attached them to the cake with just a touch of water. To keep the eyes even, I like to make one long piece and cut it in half. That way I know I have the same amount of fondant for each eye.
This was a fairly late request. Instead of making my own sugar flowers, I used Queen Anne Roses from CalJava. I like to keep flowers on hand just in case. I almost always purchase white which offers me the flexibility to make them whatever color I need.
Once the ears were dry, I covered them with pink fondant. You can color the gumpaste if you prefer. Remember it will change colors as it dries.
I used the same ear template I used for the gumpaste. I cut 2 for each ear (front and back). I cover the back first then add the front and trim and smooth the edges where they meet.
Use a lighter pink and smaller template for the inside of the ear.
Add the ears and a matching ribbon to the cake board. I forgot to take a photo but I do add a little frosting behind the ears and flowers. I use a spatula to smooth the mounds. This hides all the back side of and makes the elements blend. This sweet little fox look proportionate but will feed 40 guests.
Just looking at the photo I don't know that I would guess it is a 9" 6 layer cake. But I do know I would say it doesn't matter what someone else used!
To get the photo, I use a combination of natural light from my window and a well placed floor lamp. Yes, that is parchment paper peeking out of the drawer.