This is a fun cake for the whole family—perfect not only for the holidays, but for year-round celebrations. It's an impressively moist three-layered white cake with a fine crumb texture.
Southern Living DECEMBER 1996
1. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well.
2. Combine 2/3 cup water and milk. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to sugar mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts.
3. Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Pour into 3 greased and floured 8-inch square baking pans.
4. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
5. Reserve 2 cups Powdered Sugar Frosting.
6. Spread 1/2 cup frosting into an 8-inch square on cake plate.
7. Spread remaining frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.
8. Unroll fruit rolls (do not remove paper backing), and brush with water. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar; let stand 15 minutes.
9. Cut four (12-inch-long) strips from fruit rolls. Remove paper backing, and arrange on top and sides of cake, pressing gently into frosting, to resemble a ribbon.
10. Spoon 1/2 cup reserved frosting onto center of cake, forming a 3-inch mound.
11. Cut remaining fruit rolls into 4-inch pieces; remove paper backing. Fold each piece in half, resembling the loop of a bow; press cut ends into frosting mound, creating a large bow on top of cake. Place 2 gingerbread men cookies on each side of cake.
12. Spoon 1 1/2 cups reserved frosting into a decorating bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe a border around bottom edge of cake.
Note: You can also make this cake with 2 (18.25-oz.) packages white cake mix and 4 (16-oz.) containers ready-to-spread frosting. Make the gingerbread men using your favorite recipe or a gingerbread mix, or buy the cookies from your local bakery.
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