1. The hen begins as a bowl-shaped cake. Use a long serrated bread knife to cut a crescent-shaped piece off both sides of it. (From above, the outline of the remaining cake "body" should look like a football.)
2. The crescent-shaped pieces are carved into the neck, tail, and back of head. Parts are then "glued" with buttercream: back of head to neck, neck and tail to body (neck should stand taller than tail, which is placed at an angle). Seal in crumbs with a thin layer of buttercream; this will also cover imperfections. Using two spatulas, carefully transfer to cake stand to decorate.
3. Pipe feathers in 1/2- to 1-inch lengths with a small ridged pastry tip; for each tapered feather, abruptly release pressure on pastry bag after squeezing out each one. Begin in front, at base of body, and work your way up to create overlapping feathers. Repeat to cover sides of bird, then the back. The same technique is used to add red wings and tail feathers.
4. The teardrop-shaped wattle is made by piping two drooping U shapes side by side in red buttercream. For scalloped comb, start at front of head and pipe forward a short line, then pipe back over it; start next line in middle of the one before. Pipe the yellow beak using the coupler-- no tip necessary. Use tweezers to place pieces of licorice laces for eyes.
And this is the result:
See our other Amazing Animal Cakes!