Creating this chocolate snowman cake is fun for the whole family. My daughters enjoyed watching the snowman's personality emerge as we decorated him with candy and fruit leather.
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two ovenproof glass bowls, one slightly larger than the other. (Note: For our cake, we used one bowl with a 1-liter capacity and 6-inch diameter and the other with a 1 1/2-liter capacity and 7-inch diameter.)
To make the cake, mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Sift the ingredients onto waxed paper and return to the bowl.
In a separate bowl, blend the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.
Alternately, add the flour mixture and the milk to the batter in thirds, combining well after each addition. Fill the bowls about two thirds full. Bake the smaller cake for about 50 minutes and the larger cake for about 65 minutes.
When done, the surface will spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. Cool in the bowls for 10 minutes. Then invert onto a large, rectangular platter (about 17 by 12 inches) so the cakes resemble a snowman. Cool completely.
Ice the cakes with the vanilla frosting, then sprinkle with shredded coconut, if desired. Add licorice drop eyes, insert an orange gumdrop nose and fashion a broad smile with shoestring licorice.
For the scarf, cut two 2-inch-wide strips of fruit leather, notch the ends and wrap around the neck of the snowman. For the buttons, use starlight mints topped with gumdrops. Finish off the snowman with two chocolate licorice arms. Serves 10 to 12.
Kids' Steps: Measuring and adding the ingredients for the cake batter, and frosting and decorating the cute snowman.