To get started, determine your flavor combination. Pick a cake flavor, a fruit flavor, and a filling flavor ie chocolate with raspberry or yellow cake with peaches and cream. I have made the mistake before of going a little crazy, so keep it simple.
The cakes are best when they are "aged". I believe they need at least 48 hours in the refrigerator before serving and have noted that they get better the longer they sit; they don't last very long though as they are eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack whilst in the house.
Dolley's Famous Cake
Total time: 2 hours
Start at least 48 hours before serving
3 egg whites (if other than white cake, use two whole eggs)
1.5 c COLD water
1/3 c oil
6 oz container of yogurt (use the flavor of fruit you have chosen)
1 box of Cake Mix (white, yellow, chocolate, spice, ect.)
1 small box of Instant Pudding (Vanilla, Chocolate, White Chocolate, ect)
2 c milk (REAL milk - Don't use soy - it won't set)
1.5 or 2 cups of fruit (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, coconut)
2 c heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Optional sugar sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 350. Grease three 9 inch cake pans. If you don't have any - go buy some decent cake pans, they last forever and you will appreciate them for years to come. I have the heavy dark coated ones and they are fabulous. If all you have are 8 inch pans increase the cook time to 18 minutes.
Put a large mixing bowl and the beaters in the freezer. You will use these to whip the icing later.
In a large mixing bowl, whip the eggs until they are good and frothy. If you are making a white cake you want the whites aerated but not stiff. Slowly add the cold water, then the oil, then the yogurt. Keep that mixer cranked up to turbo. The mixture should almost double in size. Turn off the mixer and add the cake mix, mix on low for just a few moments, only until it is incorporated. The batter should be lumpy. Quickly pour the mix into the three greased pans. Give them a shake and a shimmy to flatted them out and then holding the sides of the pan give them several good pounds on the counter to release the air bubbles. If they come out cattiwampus, it is even harder to put this leaning tower cake together... so don't skip the shimmy, shake, and pound step. Bake for 15 minutes in 9 inch pans or 18 minutes in 8 inch pans. You want to make sure they are set but not overcooked, do the toothpick test if you aren't sure but keep in mind these are very thin and they will keep cooking a little once you pull them out of the oven.
Let the finished cakes cool in their pans for about an hour. You will need to use a rubber spatula to make sure the cakes are loosened. If you get a crack, don't panic, the filling and the whipped cream will act as "glue", this cake can stand up to a couple of cracks. The cakes themselves will be very moist and soft so be careful with them. Once cakes are cooled, place first layer on cake plate or carrier - whatever you plan to store, transport, and serve it in.
Next, in a medium sized bowl whisk together the pudding mix and the milk. Set in the refrigerator.
When the cakes are cooled, start the icing. Note, this icing is white. If you want a colored icing you can add a little food coloring that you fold in after the icing is prepared. If you want chocolate you can add cocoa to the ingredients before you mix but you may need to adjust the sugar or replace it with chocolate syrup. Be careful not to over sweeten this icing. The cake, the pudding, and the fruit are sweet, you do not want this icing to be very sweet.
In the frozen mixing bowl, mix all of the icing ingredients; forever. Well, maybe not forever but wear comfortable shoes, it takes a while. If you have heavy whipping cream it won't take as long. You want firm, stiff whipped cream. Don't over whip because whipping cream will start turning to butter and you don't want that!
Ice the cake, sides first in an upward motion, filling in the layers and trying to keep it from leaning to badly or being lopsided. Don't fret if it looks like a giant leaning blob - no one will care when they taste it. Some of mine have been beautiful, others a melting and leaning tower of Pisa.
If you are using sprinkles or optional toppings hold off on those until right before you serve. They don't "age" well.
Refrigerate - These cakes are the best after they have sat for a couple of days. Of course you can eat them immediately, but there is something wonderful about them as they age.