A double-stack of peppermint-swirled bundts make for an impressive "hill" on which to place an adorable snowman. Sure, he's a little panicked dripping down the sides (!) -- but we can't help but smile at his cute face.
a 10-cup bundt pan; a 4-cup (mini) bundt pan; a cupcake pan
For the cakes: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, oil, granulated sugar and eggs together until well combined. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Add the vanilla extract and mix briefly to combine.
Line a cupcake pan with 7 paper liners. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter.
Remove 2 2/3 cups batter from the bowl and place it in a separate bowl. Stir in the mint extract and red food color.
Spray a 4-cup bundt pan and a 10-cup bundt pan with flour-based baking spray. Alternate layers of vanilla batter and mint (red) batter in each bundt pan until the pans are about 3/4 full. Use a butter knife to gently swirl the two batter colors together.
Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 20 minutes, the 4-cup bundt for 30 to 35 minutes and the 10-cup bundt for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. When the cakes are done, turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely.
When the cupcakes are cool, crumble them into a large bowl and add 2 ounces of cream cheese. Mix together using a rubber spatula or knead together with your hands. Squeeze a small handful of the mixture in your hand. It should hold together. If it doesn't and the mixture is crumbly, knead in the remaining 1/2 ounce cream cheese.
Form three roughly ball-shaped pieces from the mixture that are small, medium and large as the segments of a snowman. Flatten the bottom of the largest ball so that it appears to pool and slump to one side. Add the medium ball on top and flatten slightly. Add the smallest ball on top and dowel the three pieces together with a toothpick. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 to 20 minutes.
For the glaze and decors: Combine the powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the half-and-half a little at a time until a thick white glaze forms. Place the largest bundt cake on a cake stand or serving platter with a lip. Cover the top of the bundt cake with half of the glaze. Top the glazed bunt cake with the second smaller bundt cake. Top the second cake with the remaining glaze. You may not have to use the entire batch of glaze.
Cut a small piece away from the orange fruit chew using a knife and mold it into a triangular carrot shape. Break away the point of a toothpick and insert the non-pointed end into the flat side of the carrot shape. Have this ready on hand along with the chocolate chips, pretzel stick, chocolate sprinkles and licorice lace.
Melt the white candy melting wafers in the microwave at 100 percent power at 30-second intervals until the candy can be stirred smooth and is pourable.
Place the chilled modeled snowman shape on the center of the top bundt cake. Spoon the white melted candy onto the snowman shape and allow the excess to run down the sides of the cakes.
Quickly add two mini chocolate chips (flat side out) for the snowman's eyes. Add the two chocolate sprinkles just over the eyes for eyebrows. Press the nose into the face just under the eyes and add the larger chocolate chip (flat side out) for an o-shaped mouth. Break the pretzel stick in half and add to each side of the body, with one arm sticking upright and the other onto the lower part of the body as if it has melted off. Add the three remaining mini chocolate chips for buttons down the front of the snowman body. Add a licorice lace scarf around the neck.
Cut the fun-size candy bar in half and have ready on hand with the vanilla cookie.
Heat the dark chocolate in the microwave at 100 percent power at 30-second intervals until melted and smooth. Dip the cut end of a candy bar half into the chocolate and press it on the center of the cookie, creating a hat shape. Refrigerate until set, about 5 minutes. Dip the entire cookie hat in the chocolate and remove with a fork. Place it on parchment paper and refrigerate until set, about 5 minutes. Dab a small amount of melted chocolate onto the bottom flat part of the cookie hat and hold to the snowman's head until set, about 2 minutes.
Display as an edible centerpiece at your next holiday gathering. Cut the cake into slices to serve, revealing the red peppermint swirled interior.