This isn't a recipe so much as an activity. Christy and me used up a cold afternoon in a warm kitchen with this one. A much better cake decorator than me can really make this look snappy. Actually, a drunken Capuchin using only it's tail could do a better job, which is just another reason I tend to stick to pies. As it was, we just took it Grandpa & Grandma's and most of it was gone the same night.
- 1 packaged yellow or white cake mix. We used a Duncan Hines butter recipe white cake mix
- 1 cup milk
- 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (depending on whether or not you like peppermint. Be careful how much you use; a little is okay - too much is overpowering. )
- 2 tubs of white frosting. This sounds like a lot of frosting, but you're going to be using it to "glue" parts of the cake together, so better to have too much than not enough.
- 2 to 3 rolls of that strawberry fruit stuff called, "fruit-by-the-foot."
Heat oven to 350°F. The recipe calls for generously greasing a bundt cake pan with shortening - but who has actually has shortening laying around? For this cake, I've never had any success with the various no-stick sprays you can buy, so instead I'll lightly coat the inside of the pan with butter, which works just fine, thank you. Lightly flour.
While the oven is heating up, I'll place the cream cheese on the range, towards the back, where the heat vents just a little - but not too much. By the time the oven is heated up, the cheese is soft enough to beat. (Children may be confused and say something silly, like, "you're putting cheese in the cake?!" Ignore them. This step makes for a much tastier and moist cake.)
Beat cake mix, milk, cream cheese, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl with electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute, scraping bowl as you go. Beat on medium speed another 2 minutes, or until you can pour into the pan.
Bake about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes; then loosen sides with a knife and turn upside down onto wire rack and remove pan. Allow to cool completely, about 1 hour.
To assemble, cut the cake in half crosswise. Place half of the cake on a serving plate to form the crook of a candy cane. Cut the remaining half into 5 equal pieces (about 2-inches wide).
This next part is optional and, depending on my mood, I'll go easy with it (which can give you just a hint of peppermint) or do away with it entirely. It just depends on how big a fan of peppermint you are. I can take it or leave it. Stir half of the peppermint extract into each tub of frosting. Attach the cut pieces to the crook of candy cane with frosting, alternating pieces to form the straight part of the cane. Frost cake.
To decorate, arrange strips of fruit snack rolls on cake to look like stripes on a candy cane. Since I'm doing this with my kids, we tend to get a little creative, though you're going to have to work hard to restrain an 11 year-old armed with red and green sugar crystals.
And voilà! You have a fun and tasty treat for any holiday occasion.