YIELDS: 30 servings
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 30 mins
3 tube pans (8 5/8-, 1/2 -, and 10 1/4-in.; we used Paderno World Cuisine, $17 to $22 each, amazon.com)
2 c. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp, plus more for the pans
6 c. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 1/2 c. granulated sugar
8 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. whole milk, at room temperature
4 c. confectioners’ sugar
2 c. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extractTurquoise and orange gel food coloring, optional
Oreos, M&M’s, sugar cookies, and royal icing for the faces
- Make Cake: Heat oven to 325°F. Butter the tube pans.
- In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar on low speed to combine. Increase speed to medium-high; beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium; add eggs 1 at a time, beating each until incorporated before adding next. Beat in vanilla.
- Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk and beating just until incorporated.
- Scoop batter into the prepared pans: Fill the 10 1/4-inch pan to 3/4 inches from top and the others to 1/2 inches from top. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool in pan 15 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and let cool completely.
- Make Buttercream: Using an electric mixer, beat confectioners’ sugar, butter, and salt on low speed until combined, then increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With machine running, slowly add cream. Beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Tint as desired.
- Spread frosting over cooled cakes and decorate as desired.
- Make Owl: We used Oreos and chocolate chips for the eyes and decorated sugar cookies for the nose and ears.
- Make Fox: We used M&M’s for the eyes, decorated sugar cookies for the ears and teeth, and royal icing for the nose and mouth.
- Make Bear: We used mini M&M’s for the eyes and decorated sugar cookies for the ears, nose, and mouth.