by Stacia Friedmann
When the pandemic first struck in early 2020, The Frosted Fox Cake Shop followed the city mandate and closed its doors, which continued for a few months.
By June, however, they were back in business.
“We reopened with curbside service for almost a year and a half,” said Jennifer Low, co-owner of the bakery. “During that time, people had fewer gatherings but wanted more elaborate little cakes for children’s birthdays, which is one of our specialties.”
Meeting that new type of demand, a movement born of necessity, has reshaped the future of business. Its post-pandemic “normalcy” has led to a reconfigured artisan bakery, an increase in staff and a surge in demand for one of the area’s most popular wedding cake designers.
“We have been very lucky to have worked with many wonderful places like the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Valley Green Inn and Awbury Arboretum,” Low said. “For wedding cakes, people come from Doylestown, Media and Center City.”
The Frosted Fox story, which opened in 2015, actually began several years earlier, when Low met Sean Williams on the first day of school at the Culinary Institute of America. They fell in love while honing their baking skills, and after getting married in 2010, they moved to Germantown, just blocks from where Low grew up.
They decided to open their own shop and name it after the smart, fast, and lovable creature that had been a big thing in their lives. His choice of location, 6511 Germantown Ave. between Hortter and Upsal streets, turned out to be a good one. The neighborhood was being discovered by young professionals, and not long after it opened, luxury apartment buildings and upscale cafes began to spring up around it.
“We love our location and keeping things smaller has helped us get through the last few years,” said Low, who is the lead cake decorator, as well as a business manager, accountant and social media guru. Williams runs the front of the store, taking orders and making deliveries.
Considering all the excellent bakeries along Germantown Avenue, one has to wonder: How has Frosted Fox, seemingly out of nowhere, come to be recommended by upscale wedding venues and top caterers?
The answer lies in Low’s design sensibilities and taste buds. Instead of using the standard two-layer cake as the base for her designs, she starts with four layers. The result is as elegant as a top hat, whether applied to a cake for a single party or a wedding cake for a hundred.
“It’s an aesthetic that we like,” Low said. “We also make a six- or eight-layer cake, and for our tiered cakes, each tier is five inches tall.”
Low’s preference for using buttercream icing over fondant, a sugar mass that gives the cake a super smooth appearance, is another way her designs are unique. While fondant allows for more sculptural and flexible designs, it’s not as delicious as buttercream. However, Low is happy to use fondant to create cakes that resemble everything from a SEPTA bus to the Liberty Bell.
The most popular of the 12 cakes they offer are devil’s food and carrot cakes, Low said. Among their nine available fillings are passion fruit curd filling and spiced chai mousse, and their nine frostings include Nutella buttercream. Couples planning weddings can choose from nearly 1,000 possible combinations.
Its frozen shortbread cookies, depicted as a fox, are also big sellers. And yes, if you want fondant, it’s available in sweeter and savorier versions than usual.
Do you want to try everything? Grab a Frosted Fox Scrapple Cup filled with cake bits and assorted frostings, and not a trace of that Pennsylvania Dutch breakfast delicacy. These days, cake tastings aren’t done inside the store, but instead are available in a take-out sampler.
“Our production team took over our retail space and redesigned it to allow more space for our expanded staff,” Low said. This means that when you walk in you can no longer walk past the display case, but you have a great view of a busy open kitchen, as if you were watching an exciting episode of ‘The Great British Baking Show’.
For the holidays, the Low’s team goes into overdrive with the pie production, featuring pear and ginger tarts, apple crumbles, walnuts and sweet potato, as well as pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.