1- Heat oven to 350°. Grease bottom only of rectangular pan, 13 x 9 x 2 inches, with shortening lightly flour. Make cake mix as directed on package, using water, oil and eggs. Pour into pan.
2- Bake 33 to 38 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
3- Cover large flat tray or piece of cardboard with aluminum foil. Cut cake into 3 pieces as shown in diagram. Make Caramel Frosting remove 1 1/2 cups. Cover remaining frosting and reserve. Place piece 1 on tray frost top with Caramel Frosting. Frost top of piece 2 top with piece 3. Stand pieces 2 and 3 upright on piece 1 as shown in diagram to form cottage. Trim corners and base so pieces fit smoothly. (Roof point will be slightly off center.) Freeze cake about 1 hour or until firm.
4- Remove cake from freezer. Frost exterior of house with reserved Caramel Frosting. Smooth frosting on front, sides and back of house with slightly dampened large spatula. Use the edge of a small spatula to press lines on front of cottage to look like bricks or logs.
5- Place about 1/3 cup vanilla frosting at a time in decorating bag with writing tip. Break one candy stick in half. Pipe a strip of frosting down the length of each candy stick half. Press one half to each vertical front edge of house. Attach remaining candy stick along top roof line. Let stand about 30 minutes or until set.
6- Pipe small amount of vanilla frosting on back of chocolate wafer cookies. Place on front of house to make door. Cut each gumdrop in half. Pipe small amount of vanilla frosting on back of each piece and arrange in a circle above door to make wreath. Pipe on frosting for outlines of window panes and door frame. Cut each stick of gum in half to make shutters attach to window. Attach red cinnamon candies for door handles and berries on wreath.
7- Cut strawberry wafer cookies to make chimney pieces. The inside piece should be 1 1/2 inches long, the outside piece 2 1/2 inches long. For the front and back sides, cut 2 pieces each 2 1/2 inches long, then cut end of each piece at an angle to fit slant of roof. Pipe vanilla frosting on inside vertical edges of 2 slanted chimney pieces. Press side pieces of chimney into frosting to form box. Hold a few minutes until set let dry. Pipe frosting on bottom edges of chimney place on roof. Fill chimney with cotton candy to make smoke.
8- Pipe any remaining vanilla frosting along roof lines and around base of chimney a with writing tip to create snowdrifts. Decorate edges of roof lines with multicolored round candies. Attach round holiday candies at base of house. Let stand about 30 minutes or until set. Store loosely covered at room temperature.
High Altitude (3500 to 6500 feet): Make cake mix following high-altitude directions on package for 13 x 9-inch rectangle.
1 Serving: Calories 740 (Calories from Fat 270) Fat 30g (Saturated 19g) Cholesterol 55mg Sodium 310mg Carbohydrate 113g (Dietary Fiber 0g) Protein 3g. % Daily Value: Vitamin A 2% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 12% Iron 8%.
Betty's Tip: For a true "gingerbread" color cottage, make and decorate with the Caramel Frosting. If you prefer a darker color, use 2 tubs Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy milk chocolate or chocolate ready-to-spread frosting instead.
Cutting and Assembling Gingerbread Cake Cottage
* Cut cake crosswise in half cut one half on the diagonal into two triangles.
* Place piece 1 on tray frost top. Frost top of piece 2 top with piece 3. Stand pieces 2 and 3 upright on piece 1 to form cottage.
From "Betty Crocker's Ultimate Cake Mix Cookbook." Text Copyright 2004 General Mills, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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