Ingredients Jump to Instructions ↓

  1. 2 boxes (16 oz each) poundcake mix (preferably Betty Crocker) 2 cans (12 oz each) whipped fluffy white frosting Red, blue, green and brown paste (icing) or gel food colors You also need: 3 qt-size ziptop bags, four 5-in. lengths of thin wired ribbon or colored string, candy sequins (dots), purchased "Happy Birthday" or other special occasion letters

Instructions Jump to Ingredients ↑

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 13 x 9 x 2-in. baking pan. Prepare both boxes of cake mix together as box directs. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake 50 minutes, or until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes before inverting on rack, turning top side up and cooling completely.

  2. Cut cake (see diagram, right) into a balloon shape. For “basket”: Cut 1⁄2-in.-thick slices from cake scraps and frost together to form a 4-in.-wide, 2 1⁄4-in.-high, 1 3⁄4-in.-deep rectangle.

  3. Put 1 cup frosting into each of 3 bowls. Tint light pink, light blue and light green. Cover with plastic wrap when not using. Spoon 2 Tbsp each into ziptop bags; seal. Tint 1⁄2 cup frosting light brown.

  4. Place cake on serving tray, leaving space for the “basket.” Using a toothpick, score lines on cake to divide balloon in thirds as a guide for frosting. Spread green frosting on top and sides of right side of ballon; pink frosting on the other side. Spoon blue frosting in center of cake and carefully spread to green and pink frosting. Add candy sequins.

  5. Set basket about 3 in. under balloon. Coat with brown frosting; create basket-weave design with tines of a fork.

  6. Cut tip off 1 corner of bags. Pipe outlines on balloon and swags on basket.

  7. Balloonists: Cut heads and upper bodies from photographs; glue onto cardboard; cut out.

  8. Set balloonists in basket. Press 1‑end of each ribbon into icing on base of balloon, the other end into each corner of basket. Place letters on cake. Dip fingers in white frosting to draw clouds. Planning Tip: If you don’t have a serving surface at least 18 x 12 in., cover a baking sheet, plastic-foam board or sturdy piece of cardboard with foil or plastic wrap. Can be made through Step 7 up to 3 days ahead. Refrigerate cake. Assemble shortly before serving.*Paste and gel food colors, candy sequins and special occasion letters can be found in cake-decorating, party-supply and crafts shops.


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