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Fish-Shaped Cakes

Total Time

Prep: 1 hour Bake: 30 min. + cooling


12 servings

Updated: Oct. 23, 2022
When Margaret detailed how she garnishes her deliciously different cake with slices of citrus from the trees around her Southwestern home, our crafty cooks were hooked.—Margaret Pache, Mesa, Arizona


  • 1 package lemon cake mix (regular size)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, divided
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant lemon pudding mix
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • Red, yellow, green and blue liquid food coloring
  • 2 black jelly beans
  • 9 slices fresh lemon
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut


  1. Prepare cake batter according package directions, replacing 1/2 cup water with milk. Add 1 teaspoon lemon zest and extract. Pour batter into two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans.
  2. Bake at 350° for 28-30 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.
  3. Prepare pudding according to package directions; add remaining lemon zest. Cut cakes into large and small fish. Cut each fish in half horizontally; spread pudding on bottom layers and replace tops.
  4. Place fish on a large platter or covered board (about 16x22-in.) Combine the whipped topping and confectioners' sugar; set 1 tablespoon aside. Use remaining frosting to frost top and sides of each fish.
  5. On each large fish, place three separate drops of red food coloring on the top third, three drops of yellow on the middle third and three drops of green on the bottom third. Starting from the top edge of fish, use the tip of a spoon to form scales and blend colors into frosting.
  6. For eyes, form a 1-in. oval on each large fish with reserved frosting. Place a jelly bean in the center of oval.
  7. For small fish, blend one color of food coloring into frosting to make solid-colored fish.
  8. Cut four lemon slices in half; place two halves in the center of each large fish for fins. Push rounded edges of one slice into the back of small fish for tails. Cut remaining slices into quarters; place one or two on the bottom of each large fish for fins and two slices on each side of small fish for fins.
  9. Place coconut in a plastic bag, sprinkle 3-4 drops blue food coloring into bag and shake until color is evenly distributed. Sprinkle coconut around fish to resemble water. Store in the refrigerator.

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