How to Make a Festive Sideways Turkey Cake for Thanksgiving

It only takes one cake layer to create this clever dessert!

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Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

The Prettiest Turkey at the Table

This super-fun turkey cake looks like it might have come from a bakery — but it actually only requires one cake layer and the piping technique is very forgiving (turkey feathers come in all shapes and sizes, after all!). Here's how to make it for your festivities — get the full instructions in the recipe.

Get the Recipe: Sideways Turkey Cake

Mix the Batter

This cake is as colorfulinside as it is outside! Divide the cake batter between three bowls. Tint each bowl with food color so that you have a red bowl of batter, an orange bowl and a yellow bowl.

Fill the Cake Pan

Alternating between colors, pour the batter scoop-by-scoop into a greased 8-inch cake pan. Swirl the colors together using a skewer or a butter knife.

Bake and Level

Bake the cake according to the recipe's instructions. Allow it cool, and then level it off using a cake leveler or a serrated knife.

Save the Scraps

Save the cake scraps in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to keep fresh – we'll use them in a moment.

Cut and Layer

Cut the cake layer in half cross-wise. Frost one half of the cake with about 1/4 cup buttercream frosting and place the other half on top.

Return to the Scraps

Crumble the cake scraps with your fingers and add 2-3 tablespoons of buttercream. Mix well with a spoon. When the mixture becomes too thick to stir, use your fingers to combine the ingredients until a dough-like consistency is achieved.

Form the Turkey's Head

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, form some of the cake scrap-mixture into a small baton shape with one end slightly larger and rounded. Chill in the fridge until firm.

Dip in Chocolate

Coat the cake piece with melted chocolate, and return to the baking sheet. Chill in the fridge until firm, about 15 minutes.

Tint More Buttercream

Meanwhile, divide rest of the buttercream and tint with different colors according to the recipe instructions. Transfer each color to a piping bag fitted with your favorite decorator piping tips. Choose ones with which you can create a feather-y look!

Start Piping

Using the piping bag filled with the red frosting, pipe 1-inch dots of buttercream around the top rounded edge of the cake. Place the bowl of a spoon in the center of each dot and pull the frosting down toward the bottom flat edge of the cake to create your first layer of feathers.

Add More

Using the piping bag filled with the tan frosting, pipe shells in a downward motion that overlaps the red frosting layer. Use a spoon to remove some of the bottom edge of the shell row to make room for the next layer.

Keep Going!

Continue piping scallop shells with alternating colors until the entire surface of the cake is filled. Remove the chocolate-covered turkey head from the fridge and press it firmly in the center of the frosting. Turn the cake upright and cover the top edge of the cake in alternating colors of frosting. Finish the back of the cake by piping rows of shells using the tan frosting.

Make Cookie Feathers

Place store-bought gingersnaps on a baking sheet. Dip the backs of candy corn pieces into the melted chocolate and place three one each gingersnap. Let stand until set, about 10 minutes.

Add Them on Top

Insert each cookie upright into the top of the cake so that the candy corn pieces are showing to the front of the turkey.

Add the Finishing Touches

Finish the cake by attaching a candy bead on the turkey head with melted chocolate. Attach half of a lemon candy chew for a turkey beak. And use pieces of fruit leather trimmed to size to create the red beak appendages.