My birthday cake was succulent! I "doctored up" two white cake mixes and baked them in 13- by 9-inch pans. When the cakes had cooled, I cut them into several pieces to put together a cactus shape.—Terri Newton, Marshall, Texas
- 2 packages white cake mix (regular size)
- 2 envelopes whipped topping mix (Dream Whip)
- 2-1/2 cups milk
- 6 eggs
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 9 cups confectioners' sugar
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 to 10 tablespoons milk
- Red and green gel food coloring
- 1 each sprinkles and M&M's minis
- In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes.
- Pour into two greased and floured 13-in. x 9-in. baking pans. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
- Level cake tops if necessary. Cut a 12-in. x 3-1/2-in. strip from one long side of one cake. Place the larger rectangle on a 20-in. x 18-in. covered board for cactus stem; place strip below it for the base. Round top corners of cactus stem.
- Cut two 5-1/2-in. squares from second cake for cactus branches. Cut a 3-in. square from one corner of each 5-1/2-in. square. (Save remaining cake for another use.) Position one branch on each side of cactus stem. Round top corners of branches.
- In a large bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar; beat until smooth. Add vanilla and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Frost cake base with 1 cup frosting. Tint 1/4 cup frosting red; set aside. Tint remaining frosting green; frost cactus.
- Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert round tip #3 and fill with red frosting. Pipe "Fiesta" and wavy designs on top and sides of base. Decorate cactus with chocolate sprinkles; decorate base with M&M's. Yield: 24-30 servings.
Originally published as Cactus Cake in Taste of Home August/September 2004, p23
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