September 3, 2015

CAKE, COLE SLAW and BAKED BEANS—all made out of cake batter and sweets!! Now that’s what we call a classic CANDY LAB ILLUSION. (As you know, we love when we can make cakes and cupcakes look like an entirely different food.)

You’ll need to start with what we call a “perfect cake mix.” See our previous blog entry for how to make it. Or check page 289 of our latest book CAKE MY DAY! (Still available by clicking HERE for our Amazon page.) (Shameless plug.)

Anyway, without further ado, straight to the recipe:


1 recipe Perfect Cake Mix (SEE NOTE ABOVE), made with yellow batter

2 bags (14 ounce each) soft caramels (Kraft), unwrapped

1 can (16 ounces) plus 1/2 cup vanilla frosting

1 creme-filled vanilla snack cake (Twinkie)

1 plain bread stick (9 1/2-inches long)

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup chopped coconut

Green, yellow and red food coloring (McCormick)

1/4 cup small red jelly beans (Jelly Belly)

1/4 cup dulce de leche (Nestle)

1 plastic chicken deli container (grocery store)

2 small (8 ounces each) plastic deli containers

White and black decorating sugar


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spoon 1/2 cup Perfect Cake batter into each of 4 prepared 5 ounce oven safe glass bowls. And spoon the remaining batter in a prepared 3/4 quart oven safe glass bowl (Pyrex). Bake until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes for the small bowls and 35 to 40 minutes for the large bowl.

Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and cool in the bowls for 10 minutes. Invert, remove the bowls, and cool completely.

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. As you make the chicken parts, transfer them to the prepared baking sheet.

To cut the cakes: Trim the tops of 2 of the small bowl cakes and the large bowl cake level. Place the trimmed cakes, bottom side up, on a work surface. For the body, cut a 1-inch deep piece from either side of the large bowl cake to create point at one end. For the drumsticks, cut 3/4 inch from one side of the small bowl cakes.

Deli Chicken-assembly 2

Cake cuts will look like this.

To make the parts: Cut a 2-inch piece from either end of the bread stick for the leg bones, discard the center piece. Cut a 1 1/2 inch piece from both ends of the snack cake for the leg, discarding the center piece. Arrange the small bowl cakes, cut edges facing each other, on waxed paper. Spread some vanilla frosting on the cut ends of the snack cake pieces and bread sticks. Press a frosted end of a snack cake on the side of cake, near the cut edge. (See below.)

Deli Chicken-08

Press the frosted end of the bread stick into the rounded end of the snack cake. Repeat to make another leg. Spread a thin crumb coating of the vanilla frosting on the assembled pieces to smooth. Transfer all the cakes to the freezer to chill, about 30 minutes.

To make the golden baked chicken skin: Microwave 10 caramels for no longer than 3 seconds to soften. Press the caramels together and roll out to an 8 by 6 inch rectangle. Repeat with another 10 caramels. Soften 20 caramels, press together and roll out to a 12 inch circle. 

Spoon 1/2 cup of the remaining vanilla frosting into a ziplock bag. Press out the excess air and seal the bag. Place the chilled large cake on a work surface. Spread some of the remaining vanilla frosting over the cake and smooth. Place the large sheet of caramel over the cake, leaving an opening near the pointed end of cake. Press and smooth the caramel, tucking any excess caramel under the cake. Transfer the cake to the plastic container or serving platter. 

Working on one drumstick at a time, spread some of the vanilla frosting over the chilled cake, leaving the bread stick plain. Wrap one of the smaller pieces of caramel over the cakes and up the bread stick about 3/4 of an inch. Smooth the caramel by pressing slightly into the frosting. Pinch the excess caramel around the base of the bread stick for the chicken skin ruffle. Wrap any excess caramel under the cake edge and trim with a small knife. Repeat with the other drumstick.

Brush a small amount of water on the back side of the drumsticks. Attach the drumsticks, cut side down, at the pointed end of cake; bread sticks pointing out and crossing.

Dissolve the cocoa powder in 3 to 4 teaspoons warm water. Dip the tip of a firm pastry brush into the cocoa mixture, hold it over the chicken, and run a fork, or finger over the bristles to lightly spritz the chicken, dipping again when necessary, to make a pattern resembling brown spots. 

For the COLE SLAW: Place one of the remaining bowl cakes, rounded side down, in a shallow (8-ounce) plastic deli container. Tint 1 tablespoon of the chopped coconut green with the food coloring and 1 tablespoon chopped coconut orange with some yellow and red food coloring. Place the remaining chopped coconut in a medium bowl. Add the green and orange coconut and toss to combine. Snip a corner (1/4-inch) from the bag with the vanilla frosting. Pipe some of the vanilla frosting on top of the cake and smooth. Mound the coconut mixture on top to cover.

For the BAKED BEANS: Place the remaining cake, rounded side down, in a small deli container. Pipe the remaining vanilla frosting on top of the cake and smooth. Combine the jelly beans and the dulce de leche, tossing to mix. Spoon mixture over the frosted cake when ready to serve.

Once you’re done, you’ll have 16 delicious servings—a chicken dinner that’ll please the sweetest tooth in your home.

Happy Cake-making,

Alan and Karen

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