For Christmas, this year, I would like to make a cake that looks like a stack of presents. Not a square tiered cake, but I was thinking of making lots of mini four inch square cakes and spreading them around a board, stacking some and making it look like real presents. Christmas dinner will have about twenty people, so how many mini cakes should I make? I was thinking around twelve. Since I have no 4 inch cake pans, I was planning on baking cakes in sheet pans and cutting them, making each a two inch tall three layer cake. I will have to travel about half an hour to get to my grandmother's house, so I'm not sure how to keep them safe. They will be chocolate filled with swiss meringue buttercream and covered in marshmallow fondant.
So my main questions are:
1. How many cakes do you think I will need to feed twenty people, knowing some won't eat any and some will could eat an entire cake themselves?
2. How much fondant should I make to cover all of these cakes? Just a basic layer. Maybe some ribbons on them, and a bow on the tallest present
3. Do I need dowels to stack some of them? Since they're all the same size, two cakes would be supporting one other cake. The cakes are very fluffy and soft.
4. Since I need a large base for this, I plan on wrapping a large wooden cutting board (flat) in tin foil. How would I keep my creation in tact for the ride up? Since we don't have much space in the mini van with all six of us in there, it would probably have to sit on my lap (shudder). Is there a way to keep the cakes from sliding? I'll probably bring extra fondant just in case of an emergency.
First of all, I would plan on using either several layers of regular foamcore board taped together to make a thick cake board - or use a single or double layer of the extra thick foamcoare board to support the weight of all the cakes. Also, when you stack a couple of the little cakes you can use bamboo skewers/sharpened dowel rods to secure them together and to the board - tapping them slightly into the foamcore board for extra security! The cakes are so small, I wouldn't think you would really need to use dowels for support if you are only stacking maybe two together- someone else can chime in on that debate.
Oh- and do find some FDA approved cake foil. It will look so much nicer (and more professional) than just aluminum foil. And if I was doing this cake I would try to design it so that if would fit the size of a cake box- whether 1/2 sheet or full sheet size just so it would make transporting it easier. Granted it wouldn't totally fit, but even if you just place the cake board into the bottom half of a cake box it might make transporting it easier.