For this Cross Country Running Cake use any 2 boxes of cake mix you wish-I suggest making 2- 9×13 cakes for this recipe so it will double your servings.
1 Graham Cracker
1 large package of Sweetened Coconut Flakes
Green food coloring (or blue and green)
Light brown sugar
Fondant (pre-made works easiest)
Blue decorating gel
Black decorating gel
For this cake, you can make an Almond Joy themed cake with adding a little Almond Extract in the cake mix, chocolate cake mix, and the coconut. You can do a Pina Colada themed one by using lemon cake mix, adding about 1/3c pineapple juice and 2/3c milk instead of the full 1c milk the recipe calls for and if you can find pineapple pudding mix then even better.
Bake the 9×13 cake just until the toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake in pan. Flip the cake onto a serving platter. Take 2 containers of butter cream icing and put it in a mixing bowl. Set aside about 1/3c buttercream. Mix green food coloring or blue/yellow and using a hand mixer, mix until blended.
For the lake, using a small spoon, scoop out the “lake”- don’t go too deep. Take the rounded edge of the spoon and use some of the plain butter cream (not tinted) and spread into the lake to smooth and cover the cake. For the park bench, using 1 section of a graham cracker and 2 spice drops cut the tops of the spice drops off and add a dab of plain butter cream on top, press the cracker on top and there’s your bench.
For the finish sign, I used some fondant (already colored) and laid it on a cookie sheet and rolled it out with a can of soup (couldn’t find my rolling pin). Cut it with a knife about 1” past where you’ll write FINISH so you have enough to wrap around each pretzel stick. I used a Sharpie to write with and told the guests not to eat the sign! Roll the ends around the pretzel rods and lay flat until the fondant dries and hardens. *Be sure to press the fondant onto the pretzel pretty well. When you are ready to stand it on the cake, take a dab of icing that you have leftover and use it as glue for another pretzel stick.
Grass- get one large package of pre-sweetened coconut and put it in a large Ziploc bag or Tupperware container. Add drops of green food coloring (or blue and yellow) and shake until desired shade of green is achieved.
Now, ice the whole cake (except the lake) with the green icing. Be generous around the midsection and just up against the lake. I used an icing spatula. Once the entire cake is iced, use the spatula to make smooth lines- pull it across the cake in even strokes. Be especially careful around the edges of the lake. Next, squirt the blue gel into the lake and use the back of a spoon to spread it around- bring it up to the green icing edges.
Trail- spoon out brown sugar to create your trail, press sugar down with the back of a spoon along the way. Put on your gloves and take the colored coconut and place it around the side edges and press all the way around the cake. Then, place it on the edges of the top and around the corners until you achieve your design.
Trees- stick the pretzel rod into the bottom of the green spice drop.
Place the finish line at the end of the trail and use the black gel to write whatever you want. Place the bench by the water and you’re done.