I'm new to the forum but may be able to offer some help. I'm doing a baby shower next weeking using 2 of the bears (she's having twins). I already made one of them using packaged cake mix and it turned out great (according to the carving samples my dad-in-law ate). However, I'm doing my bear in chocolate cake.
I used 2 betty crocker fudge cake batters and one generic pound cake batter (plain). To that I added a little extra sugar, some of the hershey's special dark cocoa and a splash more of oil and milk (to make up for the extra dry from the sugar and cocoa).
It turned out nice and dense for carving and is in the freezer. I did have a good bit of leftover batter and made a simple round for my dadinlaw, who promply took it to his room for "safekeeping" -- un-iced! lol
For the second bear today, I'm going to try "Uncle Jimmy's Chocolate Pound Cake" just to see how it goes. I found a link here from JanH on this forum:
If it doesn't work for me, I'll go back to the other one because it was just fine.
If you're going with another type, then any pound cake recipe should work since you want something dense. I'd search this forum for people's favorite pound cake recipes.
(Also, I'm using a cream cheese/butter cream frosting I made up on my own. I played around with it and it worked great with the piping bag and held up a really long time -- a week or more. I'll likely do the same and add in chocolate.)
I have made the 3D Bear using the Darn Good Chocolate cake recipe and it baked up beautifully. Here is the link to the recipe
It is delicious! For the 3D pans I do not add the chocolate chips this recipe calls for. If you have to do any carving they can and will likely cause problems for you. The recipe is delicious without them and is my most requested chocolate cake recipe.
I always use a DH yellow mix combined with a BC pound cake mix. It holds up great every time, and its moist too.
I just use the half crisco/half butter icing for the fur.