Ingredients & Prep
1. cake mix
Anything you want, since you're covering it with "cat litter" anyway. Ignore recipes that say to use a particular brand or type of cake.
I chose Duncan Hines dark chocolate. Before starting, I looked up instant cake mixes online and found Duncan Hines to be almost universally touted on baking forums. Just about everyone agreed that Pillsbury and Betty Crocker were not as good. Interesting. I'll have to evaluate for myself one day but for now I went with the popular vote.
Make the cake according to directions. While it's cooking, make the pudding.
2. instant pudding
I chose cookies & cream for the pale yet grainy grayish texture. It was perfect. Other recipes say you can use vanilla. I used lactose-free milk, whipped it up and refrigerated until needed.
3. Vanilla creme sandwich cookies (1 package)
Crumble cookies into a bowl and crush until they form a rough sandy texture.
Some recipes say to add green food coloring but I found it annoying and unnecessary, dyeing my fingers and not mixing well. If I'd used vanilla pudding, maybe it would have been more important to use the food coloring.
4. Tootsie rolls
The larger kind, if you can help it, not the tiny Halloween-sized kind. But if you only have those, we can make do. These will be shaped later!
5. Litter box and scoop
It goes without saying that this should be BRAND NEW. And even then, washed well. I bought cake pans in the same store as the litter box tray and scoop so I could size them.
Transformation into kitty litter cake
Ok, so you've got your cakes all done, cookies crumbled and pudding ready. Time to assemble.
Delicately flip the cooled cake into the kitty litter pan and glorp on the pudding. It can fill the cracks and spaces around the cake if necessary.Sprinkle the top with crushed cookies and gently use your fingers to blend into the pudding mix until you like what you see.
Turd creation as an art form
And now for the tootsie rolls! Every recipe says to microwave them but that didn't work so well for us. What DID work was twisting 2-4 tootsie rolls into one conglomerate mass while simultaneously spiraling and mashing them. They soften up from the warmth of your hands and the resulting ridges look quite life-like. Pinch off the edges and place artfully into pan, curving a few here and there.
The finished product: A kitty litter cake is born!
If you don't let the kitty litter cake cool enough, it will cause the tootsie rolls to run.Also, when displaying, don't sandwich the tray in between two dinner dishes. It isn't always clear that this is a dessert. Someone at last night's party thought it was some kind of exotic dish with overcooked lentils and bulgur and ended up eating the whole glorpy mess mashed together with lasagna and tortellini. Not exactly appetizing. (sarcastic note to self: like it ever was in the first place?)
I also made a jello brain mold. Note -- if you ever make one of these, add two packages of knox gelatin to harden it sufficiently, otherwise it will look like splattered brains rather than just a plain cerebrum. Oh and spray oil on the inside of the mold beforehand, it makes getting the brains out much easier (it also helps to soak it in hot water for a few seconds until the sides pull away more easily).
Happy Halloween! Coming tomorrow: pix from our Halloween party!