Seriously, this is a can-do holiday cake that's fun and best of all – easy!
I have nothing against the typical Thanksgiving Day desserts. I’ll try the pies, maybe some pumpkin cheesecake, those syrupy cakes with cranberries and nuts and other harvest-themed things.
But you just can’t beat a good, old fashioned chocolate cake. It’s what everyone really wants for dessert, especially those in the “no-fancy-flavors” crowd, such as the kids. Or my husband. And if you dress one up as a turkey (a cake, not my husband), then it totally counts as a Thanksgiving dessert.
If you’ve never decorated a cake in your life, this turkey is a perfect place to start. It’s easy to put together for even the newest of decorators.
First, you’ll need a cake pan. You can use a Bundt cake pan, though here I used an angel cake pan because I like the shape and it has two pieces so I can easily lift the cake out of the pan. Heck, you can even just make a double layer round cake if you like.
Grease the pan with butter or shortening. I also sprinkle flour around the pan, because I’m a nervous type and that helps the cake release later. Mix up your Betty Crocker chocolate cake mix, add it to the pan, and bake as directed on the box. Let it cool, then remove it from the pan and place it on your serving plate.
To frost, scoop a container of Betty Crocker chocolate frosting in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 15 to 20 seconds or just until the frosting is easily pourable but still thick.
Generously spoon the frosting on the top of the cake, all around the circle, and let the frosting drip down the sides. You may not use all of the frosting, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. Let the frosting set for at least 30 minutes. Now you’re ready to decorate.
While the cake is baking and cooling, prepare the tail feathers and face decorations. For the tail feathers, you’ll need fifteen sprinkle-coated marshmallows, five of each color – red, orange and yellow.
To coat a marshmallow, skewer it with a toothpick or skewer, quickly submerge it in a glass of water, dab the excess water on a paper towel, then hold it over a bowl and immediately coat it with sprinkles. Carefully remove the toothpick and set the marshmallow on a piece of wax paper.
Repeat for all the rest of the marshmallows. If you have time, let the marshmallows dry for about an hour before putting them on the sticks. If not, just keep a dry paper towel handy to wipe off your fingers from handling the wet marshmallows.
To make the tail feathers, dip a paper towel in some vegetable shortening and grease the top three inches of a lollipop stick. Skewer the marshmallows, three to a stick. Repeat to make five sticks.
Insert into one side of the cake to make the turkey's tail.
Tip: Don’t get too ambitious with the lollipop sticks and marshmallows. Stay with 6-inch sticks with only 3 marshmallows per stick, otherwise the feathers will be too top heavy to stay upright in the cake.
For the eyes, slice a marshmallow in half horizontally. On the non-cut ends, use the black edible writer to draw black pupils for eyes.
For the beak and wattle, cut a marshmallow diagonally. Using the same method to coat with sprinkles that you used for the tail feathers, dip one half of the cut marshmallow in yellow sprinkles and one half in red. Let dry.
Set the red marshmallow in front of the cake and press into the frosting. Rest the yellow marshmallow “beak” on top of the red one and press into the frosting.
Press the eyes into the frosting. If the pieces slide a bit and Tom looks a little quizzical, that’s only because he’s a turkey on Thanksgiving!
To secure the face, you can use toothpicks in the pieces if needed, but be sure to remove them before serving. He's ready to wow!
This cake was inspired by The Marshmallow Studio. The instructions for marshmallow kebobs are originally from my blog, The Decorated Cookie.