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Back-to-School Goodies

Add these treats to your school supply list.
chalk_112005 Chalkboard Cake

Your kids will love clapping these erasers.

This cake serves 16, but you can cut smaller or larger slices depending on how large your child's class is.

1 box (18.25 oz.) yellow cake mix
1 can (16 oz.) vanilla frosting
Yellow and leaf-green food-coloring paste
3 mini (2 1/2 inch long) plain breadsticks
1 can (12 oz.) whipped milk-chocolate frosting
3 Twix bars or other chocolate-coated caramel cookies
2 red and 1 green soft-candy fruit chews
1 Tbs. confectioners' sugar

1. Heat oven to 350?F. Grease and flour 15 1/2" x 10 1/2" jellyroll pan. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour batter into prepared pan, and smooth top. Bake in center of oven for about 25 minutes, until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack, and let cool 10 minutes. Invert, and let cake cool completely.

2. Spoon 1/4 cup vanilla frosting into a resealable plastic bag or a pastry bag fitted with a number 3 plain tip; set aside. Tint remaining frosting pale yellow (do this right in the can). Spoon 1/2 cup yellow frosting into a pastry bag fitted with number 8 plain tip. Insert a toothpick into one end of each breadstick. Heat remaining frosting in can in the microwave for 5 seconds at a time, stirring, until frosting is the consistency of slightly whipped cream. Dip each breadstick into can to coat. Shake off excess frosting, and place on sheet of wax paper until set, about 30 minutes.

3. Transfer cake to 15" x 10" piece of cardboard covered with foil (this helps support the center of the cake), and place over wire rack on sheet of wax paper. Tint remaining frosting in can green using food coloring, and microwave for several more seconds, if needed, to thin slightly. Pour frosting over top of cake to cover completely. Let stand 30 minutes.

4. Spoon chocolate frosting into a pastry bag fitted with large (10) basketweave tip. Place cake on cardboard onto a serving platter. Pipe chocolate frosting on cake's outer edge, and arrange Twix bars along bottom edge to make chalk tray. Snip small corner from resealable bag containing reserved white frosting. To make chalkboard's writing lines, pipe four solid lines across entire cake with white frosting, using photograph as a guide. Pipe dotted lines between the solid lines. With yellow frosting in pastry bag, pipe message "Happy 1st Day of School!" between the solid white lines.

5. Microwave fruit chews for 5 seconds to soften. Press red pieces together; flatten. Cut out 2 1/2" apple shape. Flatten the green piece of candy and cut into small leaves. Place apple on cake. Pipe a stem on top of apple using chocolate frosting, and arrange leaves on either side. Using the white frosting, pipe a small window frame on apple. Remove toothpicks from breadsticks, and place on chalk tray. Sprinkle the cake's bottom edge with confectioners' sugar to look like chalk dust. Makes 16 servings.

Editor's note: You can personalize this creative cake with any message you want, from "Welcome to Miss Todd's Class" to "Have a Great Year."