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Flowering Cactus Cake

 Flowering Cactus Cake
PRICKLY as it might appear, this dessert from the desert is one your guests will get their hands on in a hurry! Starting mouths watering will be the confection's deliciously moist chocolate cake—featuring a hint of mocha flavor—from crafty cook Opal Foss. A cactus plant grew out of her recipe, thanks to CT's kitchen staff. They baked the mix in loaf pans, then topped the treats with gr
12-14 ServingsPrep: 30 min. Bake: 1 hour 5 min. + cooling

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 2-1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 cups cold brewed coffee
  • FROSTING:
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Green paste food coloring
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk
  • Sugar
  • 22 to 25 red gumdrops
  • Black shoestring licorice

Directions

  • In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time,
  • beating well after each addition. Stir in chocolate and vanilla.

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Flowering Cactus Cake (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • Combine flour, salt and baking soda; add to creamed mixture
  • alternately with coffee. Pour into two greased 5-3/4-in. x 3-in. x
  • 2-in. loaf pans and one 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350° for
  • 45 minutes (small loaves) and 65 minutes (large loaf) 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.
  • For frosting, cream butter and shortening in a bowl. Gradually add
  • confectioners' sugar, vanilla, food coloring and enough milk to
  • achieve desired consistency.
  • Using a serrated knife, level the top of each cake. Round corners of
  • small cakes; set aside. Place large cake, cut side down, on a 13-in.
  • x 12-in. covered board. Round top corners. Frost top and sides of
  • large cake. Frost small cakes; position at a slight angle on each
  • side of large cake with one higher than the other.
  • Sprinkle sugar on a work surface. For each large flower, place four
  • gumdrops on sugared surface. With a rolling pin, roll each gumdrop
  • into an oval; cut in half lengthwise. With cut side down, roll up
  • one piece to form a bud shape. Wrap remaining pieces around it so
  • rounded edges form petals. For smaller flowers, use two or three
  • gumdrops.
  • For cactus spines, cut licorice into 1/2-in. strips. Cut each strip
  • in half lengthwise, but not all the way through, leaving strips
  • attached at the bottom. Arrange randomly over cake. Yield: 12-14
  • servings.