- Boxed cake mix (I used Pillsbury, extra moist- it has pudding in it to make it super moist!)
- Any icing; I love Paula Deen's cream cheese icing (click here for the recipe)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice (you can use other flavored extracts too, such as coconut, or orange- if you use an extract, just use about a teaspoon though)
- Raspberry cake filling, or any other flavor of filling
- Decorative elements- for this cake I found colorful chocolate-covered sunflower seeds at Marshalls- I know it sounds random, but Marshalls always has really fun, unexpected candies that can be used for projects like this)
- A ribbon
So you just prepare the cake according to the instructions, adding the lemon juice into the final batter. Make sure to spray the inside of the pan, and then sprinkle with flour all around, and shake out the excess- this will ensure that after the cake is baked, it will come out of the pan easily. After it is baked, let it sit for at least 15 minutes to cool. Once it is cooled off, take whatever you're going to present the cake on (platter or cake stand), and turn it upside down on top of the cake pan, hold the presenting platter tightly to the cake pan, and flip so that the cake comes out in the middle of your platter. Take a serrated knife and carefully cut horizontally across the middle of the cake (if you're really crafty, you can make 2 cuts to give you a three-layer cake). Remove the top layer to a paper towel near by, careful not to break the layer. Then spread some of the raspberry filling on the bottom layer, leaving about 1/4 inch around the edges. Then replace the top layer. To ice the cake, take a nice icing spatula and spread the icing on all sides and the top. If you're getting little cake crumbles coming off the cake as you do this, just leave a thin layer, pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes, and then finish it up. Putting it in the fridge for a bit will help chill the icing and seal those crumbs in their place so that when you come back to finish the icing, the rest will go on really smoothly.
For the decorative elements, I literally threw the sunflower seeds at the side of this cake in order to make them stick into the icing on all sides (ugh, gravity), which worked really well. Instead of using some sort of candy, you can also just use other colors of icing and make a pattern of some sort. Finally, for the bow....for this cake I just crafted a small bow for the top (these are easy to make if you have a glue gun!). In order to get the ribbon on the cake, I just laid a piece in one direction, centered it on the cake, and then used my icing spatula to gently shove the very ends of each side under the iced cake. Then I repeated going the other direction to make the cross. Finally, I put a dab of glue gun glue on the ribbon where the pieces intersected, and the placed the pre-made bow on top- voila!
This is a great crafty, foody project that anyone can do, and it's such a fun thing to have at a birthday party. Give it a whirl!