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When Boys Bake

Posted by on December 22, 2013

(Warning! Includes a recipe!)

One of the things you learn pretty quickly when your house is full of boys is that a lot of things aren’t going to turn out quite like you envisioned them. It’s as if you commissioned a Norman Rockwell painting of a happy, traditional family scene, only to find out that what you got was something from “When Zombies Attack!” It’s not exactly what you were hoping for, but hey, it’s still a Norman Rockwell, right?

Such is Karen’s life.

One Christmas she laid-out all the preparations for our family to decorate sugar cookies together. We had cookies cut in the shapes of Santa, and reindeer, and Christmas trees. There was frosting in green, and white, and red. The kitchen smelled delicious, and we were all gathered around having a wonderful, Norman Rockwell moment.

Until one of Santa’s arms accidentally broke off.

In a normal household this might be taken as a sign that the cookie in question was meant to be broken up and shared among the decorators. Such are the rewards of being involved in the kitchen. At least in normal homes.

Our boys took it instead as a challenge to their decorating abilities. After only a moment’s hesitation, they slathered Santa’s arm and its former place of attachment with lots of red icing to festively highlight his horrific amputation. The expression on Santa’s face was iced to match. Poor Santa.

If only it had ended there.

By the time they were done, every cookie in the batch had suffered some form of injury. There were headless reindeer and severed limbs everywhere. Who knew that Christmas trees could bleed? The boys were exceptionally pleased with their efforts, and I have to admit that I was personally quite impressed. This may be related to the fact that I participated in the decorating, but I’m not really sure. :-) Karen, on the other hand, was left wondering what she was going to do with all those Christmas cookies that she could neither put out for guests nor give as gifts.

For some reason we boys were never again asked to help with cookie decorating.

Sometime later we were given the opportunity to provide a baked good for a raffle at the church to raise money for a mission trip. Ever eager to participate in the furthering of the gospel, we put our heads together to decide what we should make. We knew it had to be just the right thing. When we stumbled upon the recipe for “Kitty Litter Cake,” the choice was obvious.

As the photo below shows, our enthusiasm for realism in our baking was not deterred by mom’s reaction to the Christmas cookies. We were artists, and the litter box was our new canvas.

We found the recipe below on the internet. There are many other versions out there. Apparently we are not alone in our appreciation of this art form.

Kitty Litter Cake

Recipe Yield: 20 servings


1 (18.25 ounce) package German chocolate cake mix
1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (12 ounce) package vanilla sandwich cookies
3 drops green food coloring
1 (12 ounce) package tootsie rolls


1.       Prepare cake mixes and bake according to package directions (any size pan).
2.       Prepare pudding according to package directions and chill until ready to assemble.
3.       Crumble sandwich cookies in small batches in a food processor, scraping often. Set aside all but 1/4 cup. To the 1/4 cup add a few drops of green food coloring and mix.
4.       When cakes are cooled to room temperature, crumble them into a large bowl. Toss with 1/2 of the remaining cookie crumbs, and the chilled pudding. You probably won’t need all of the pudding, you want the cake to be just moist, not soggy.
5.       Line kitty litter box with the kitty litter liner. Put cake mixture into box.
6.       Put half of the unwrapped tootsie rolls in a microwave safe dish and heat until softened. Shape the ends so that they are no longer blunt, and curve the tootsie rolls slightly. Bury tootsie rolls randomly in the cake and sprinkle with half of the remaining cookie crumbs. Sprinkle a small amount of the green colored cookie crumbs lightly over the top.
7.       Heat 3 or 4 of the tootsie rolls in the microwave until almost melted. Scrape them on top of the cake and sprinkle lightly with some of the green cookie crumbs. Heat the remaining tootsie rolls until pliable and shape as before. Spread all but one randomly over top of cake mixture. Sprinkle with any remaining cookie crumbs. Hang the remaining tootsie roll over side of litter box and sprinkle with a few green cookie crumbs. Serve with the pooper scooper for a gross Halloween dessert.

I can’t remember how much money our cake raised in the bake sale. I don’t think it was much, but that didn’t bother us.

Artists are rarely appreciated in their own time.

originally published 2/6/12| next post Treasure

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