Peep Cake

Total Time:
2 hr 10 min
45 min
1 hr 25 min

14 to 16 servings

  • For the cake:
  • Unsalted butter, for the pans
  • All-purpose flour, for the pans
  • 2 18 .25-ounce boxes yellow cake mix, plus required ingredients
  • For the frosting and decorations:
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon yellow food coloring
  • Yellow sanding sugar, for coating
  • Small chocolate disks (such as melting wafers)
  • Butter and flour a 9-by-13-inch cake pan plus a 1-quart and 2 1/2-quart ovenproof bowl. Make both cake mixes; divide the batter among the pan and bowls. Bake at 350 degrees F until a toothpick comes out clean, about 35 minutes for the pan and small bowl, and 50 minutes for the large bowl.

  • Let the cakes cool 15 minutes in the pan and bowls, then unmold onto racks to cool completely. Trim the flat sides of the bowl cakes with a serrated knife to make level. Using a chef's knife, cut the 4 corners off the rectangular cake, as shown; set aside 3 of the cake triangles for the tail and beak.

  • Put the flat cake on a cake board or platter; use toothpicks to attach 2 cake triangles to a short end for the tail. Position the large bowl cake on the flat cake as shown, then top with the small bowl cake; insert a skewer through the cakes to secure. Trim another cake triangle to make a beak; attach to the small bowl cake with toothpicks.

  • Make the frosting: Heat the sugar with the cream of tartar, salt and 2/3 cup water in a saucepan, stirring, until dissolved. Beat the egg whites with a mixer until frothy. Slowly beat in the hot sugar mixture, then increase the mixer speed and beat until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts and the food coloring.

  • Cover the cake with a thick layer of the yellow frosting, using the frosting to sculpt a rounded chick shape. With the edge of an offset spatula, use some frosting to extend the beak and tail.

  • Coat the cake with yellow sanding sugar. Refrigerate, uncovered, 15 minutes. Press the chocolate disks into the frosting for eyes. Remove the skewer and toothpicks as you cut the cake.

  • Photograph by Kat Teutsch

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