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Cowpoke Corral Birthday Cake

This is our traditional treat for everyone's birthday. It's not a birthday unless this cake is served. The addition of old-fashioned sour milk makes it moist and tender.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Bake: 25 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons 2% milk
  • Brown paste food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 4 drops green food coloring
  • 1-1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 16 pretzels
  • 2 cups bite-sized shredded wheat
  • Toy horses


  • Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine milk and vinegar. Let stand for 10-15 minutes or until it begins to curdle.
  • In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in chocolate and vanilla. Combine the cake flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk mixture, beating well after each addition. Beat egg whites with clean beaters until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter.
  • Transfer to two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • In a large bowl, cream shortening until light and fluffy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Spread 1-1/4 cups frosting between layers and over top of cake. Tint 1-1/4 cups frosting brown. Cut a small hole in the corner of pastry or plastic bag; insert #48 basket weave tip. Fill the bag with brown frosting. Pipe vertical lines on sides of cake.
  • In a large resealable plastic bag, combine water and food coloring; add coconut. Seal bag and shake to tint coconut. Sprinkle tinted coconut and cracker crumbs over top of cake. For fence, lightly press pretzels around top of cake. Stack Shredded Wheat as desired for hay bales, attaching each with frosting. Arrange horses as desired.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 671 calories, 25g fat (10g saturated fat), 55mg cholesterol, 432mg sodium, 107g carbohydrate (73g sugars, 3g fiber), 7g protein.

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