Recipe Reveal: Kitty Litter Cake
Sometimes a recipe is irresistibly good because it looks soooo irresistibly bad. That in a nutshell is Kitty Litter Cake. An absolutely delicious dessert that looks just like a dirty cat litter box. Gross! Yuck! Yep, all that and more.
I came across this recipe in the 1990s and have served it on many an occasion. It receives shrieks of laughter as well as sneers of derision.
The first time I made Kitty Litter Cake was for my daughter Katie’s birthday. She was sitting at the head of the dining room table surrounded by all her little friends, giddy with excitement waiting for me to bring in her birthday cake. I waltzed in and plunked a cat litter pan down in the middle of the table. “Here Katie, Happy Birthday!” I said.
Katie’s face turned bright red. There were startled gasps of shock and horror from the guests, children as well as adults! One kid tarted fanning her nose to wave away “the smell.” Finally one brave little girl named Chelsea, grabbed one of the “droppings” from the side of the pan and plunged it into her mouth. She trusted me!! She got it!!
When everyone finally realized this was a cake, the howls of laughter started. High fives! (I then brought out a cupcake loaded with candles for Katie to blow out.) A good joke and good time!
On the other hand, there was the time my husband asked me to make this cake for his co-worker’s birthday.
He brought it to the office and placed it on the lunchroom table. His co-worker thought it was hysterical. Others, not so much. A woman told my husband, in no uncertain terms, that it made her sick just to look at it and it was inappropriate for the officeplace. Not wanting to cause her “emotional distress,” my husband covered it and took it away.
I don’t make this cake as much as I used to, but over Memorial Day weekend I couldn’t resist. My nephew was hosting a cookout at his new home and it seemed like the perfect time. I had to make the cake in very cramped quarters in my daughter’s tiny studio apartment, but it was super easy. It truly surprised my sister-in-law Chris who was celebrating her 50th birthday, as you can see on the slideshow.
The original recipe for Kitty Litter Cake calls for the base to be made from cake and pudding mixed together. I didn’t like that and realized it didn’t matter what the base was because you covered it in litter/crumbs. So I often make a Boston Cream Pie variation. I use a yellow cake for the base, (from a mix, yes I sometimes use a cake mix and I make no apologies, they have their place), filled with whipped cream and covered in chocolate ganache.
One tip: I use a very large cat litter box (which of course has NEVER been used for cats), and it’s too big for most occasions. Too much cake. A smaller litter box would be sufficient.
Have fun with this recipe. If you make it, send me pix!
Kitty Litter Cake
Note: This recipe is for a very large cat box. Adjust downward for smaller ones. Use whatever cake you like as it is completely covered in “litter”and doesn’t show.
Special equipment: A clean plastic cat litter pan, and clean plastic pooper scopper.
2 yellow cake mixes (plus eggs, water, oil as directed)
Chocolate Ganache Icing:
2 cups heavy cream
20 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips (use Ghirardelli or good quality chocolate)
Whipped Cream Filling:
3 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
One large package Vanilla Sandwich Cookies
a few drops of blue and green food coloring
About a dozen Tootsie Rolls, large and small (sometimes all you can find are “midget” tootsie rolls which are too tiny on their own. In a pinch you can use them by combining several together after warming them.)
- Prepare cake mixes and bake in 13x9x2 pans according to package directions. Cool, then cover in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to assemble. Freezing hardens the cake making it much easier to slice without breaking.
- Prepare Litter/Crumbs. Crush vanilla sandwich cookies in small batches in a food processor or by hand in ziplock bags with a rolling pan. You need enough crumbs to fully cover the top of the cake in the cat litter pan. Set aside 1/2 cup of crumbs. To 1/4 cup of crumbs add a few drops of green food coloring and mix. To the other 1/4 cup of crumbs add a few drops of blue food color and mix. Set both colored crumbs aside.
- When ready to assemble the cake, prepare the Chocolate Ganache Icing. Place chopped chocolate/chips in a large bowl. Heat 2 cups heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium high heat until it just boils. Pour cream over the chocolate and stir gently with a heatproof spatula until chocolate fully dissolves (About three minutes). Set aside at room temperature to cool slightly while assembling cake.
- Whip Cream: In large mixing bowl, add 3 cups heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla. Whip cream with mixer until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to assemble cake.
- Assemble the cake in the plastic litter pan: Cut one frozen cake in half lengthwise with a sharp knife or sharp knife plus dental floss. Place bottom layer on bottom left of cat litter pan. Cut second cake into pieces to fit the remainder of the pan. So entire bottom of pan is line in cake.
- Cover cake with Whipped Cream. Top with second layers of cake.
- Pour Chocolate Ganache over entire cake and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, take cake out of refrigerator.
- Sprinkle a layer of plain cookie crumbs over the top of the cake, covering the ganache completely. Then sprinkle the green and blue crumbs on top to look like chlorophyll.
- Make Tootsie Roll cat droppings. Heat several tootsie rolls in the microwave about 10 seconds or so until soft, almost melted. Shape them like various cat droppings, long, round, etc…
- Place tootsie rolls randomly on the cake, and hang a few over the sides of the pan. Dust lightly with a few more cookie crumbs. The final result should look like a dirty cat litter box.
- Serve with the pooper scooper for the finishing touch.