This is a cake I made for several summer birthday gatherings. The baking part is easy, but I won't lie: cutting and icing the claws and the sides of the crab is kind of time-consuming! But usually the reaction is worth it, and the thing actually tastes really good too!
Not Quite a Crabcake
1 package (18.25 ounces) butter recipe yellow cake mix
1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1.5 Tbsp vanilla (or vanilla paste)
Vanilla pudding, prepared, colored with yellow food dye
Anything, dyed orange
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9x13in pan.
2. Combine cake mix, pudding mix, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. After scraping sides of the bowl, increase mixer speed to medium and blend 1 1/2 to 2 minutes more-- the batter will look thick but well combined.
3. Bake about 30 min, or until toothpick comes out almost clean.
4. Cut crab shape out of center of pan. With remaining pieces, shape front and rear claws (careful, if you mess up you'll need to make another small cake to get enough for claws!)
5. Hollow out small part of the center of cake (like carving a jack-o-latern), fill with pudding -- this is the crab's "mustard"! (Hint: not telling people it's there can be mildly amusing)
6. Re-assemble top onto cake, put claws together and frost, using frosting-coated pretzel rods for other legs.
7. Refrigerate until ready to eat -- enjoy!