Animal Safari Cake

When my friend and colleague, Azra, asked if I could make a birthday cake for her little boys 5th birthday party I was happy to oblige. When she went on to say she would need at least 30 slices from the cake and 30 cupcakes to accompany it, I have to admit I thought I'd bitten off more then I could chew.

Fortunately the cake was a success and probably my best to date!

As most of my cakes are gifts I've never had to worry about portions before, so the first thing I did was find out how many slices my usual 8 inch round cake provides.

Our friend Verity advised they got around 25 slices from Harry's 1st birthday cake, cutting it in to rectangular pieces like a wedding cake. This seemed to fit in with Wilton's serving guide and so I decided to follow that. 

I didn't want one large cake so I thought I'd attempt my first ever tiered cake. Using Wilton's guide I decided to go with a 6 and an 8 inch cake, until I got nervous about portions and the lady in the cake shop suggested I go with a 7 and 10 inch cake. 

It proved to be more then enough as all of the children and their parents got a reasonably sized slice, and they still had half of the bottom tier left at the end.

Stacking the cakes was a nerve racking experience but not as terrifying as I thought. There are numerous tutorials on YouTube, each one varies slightly and different people favour different types of supports. I opted for plastic dowels and pretty much followed this tutorial, placing four in my bottom tier. The cake felt sturdy and was delivered to it's destination with no dramas.

With an animal safari theme for his party, I created lots of little animal friends to match Ben's party invitation. These little critters took some time but were my favourite part of the cake and lots of fun to make.

I must point out the inspiration behind this cake comes from Krazy Kool Cakes in El Paso, Texas. They made an animal safari cake back in 2011. It was exactly what I had in mind for Ben's cake and when I saw it I knew I had to recreate it. If you haven't seen their work check them out on Facebook or YouTube. They're a family run business, their cakes are amazing and they always take time to reply to their fans! They're also very happy to share their expertise and often post helpful tutorials online.

As for the cupcakes, I managed to whip up 12 vanilla cupcakes, 12 chocolate cupcakes and 10 banana cupcakes to accompany the cake.

I created animal faces on the vanilla cupcakes but short on time I cheated with the others and added printed rice paper toppers. Not everyone is keen on fondant so at least it gave a good selection.

I'm very proud of this cake and even Laura from Krazy Kool Cakes gave it a big thumbs up. I hear it was a resounding success at the party and Ben had a really great day.


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