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April Fool’s

When my kids were young, I loved to trick them with food on April Fool’s Day. The year Marissa was in fourth grade and Connor was in first grade was a stellar year! 

I started the day off with a non-food trick on my husband, Dave.  The day before, I took a new bar of soap and coated it on all sides with clear nail polish.  After it was dry, I replaced the soap in our shower with this new bar. I stood outside the bathroom and listened to him cursing as he continually dropped the bar of soap, trying to get a lather going.  He was so frustrated, that I actually began to feel sorry for him, and went in to replace the bar for him.

After I got the kids off to school, I got busy working on the tricks for them.  First, I made up a batch of strawberry Jell-O.  I poured it into their dinner glasses, inserted straws, and let it set up in the fridge.  Next, I whipped up a batch of “sham” burgers I’d found that year in Family Fun Magazine. Then, I went to work on the Litter Box Cake that I was to take into Marissa’s classroom for their April Fool’s Party, since I was the Room Mom, I wanted it to be extra special. It took a bit of coaxing to get the first kid to try that cake!

Once the kids were home and outside playing, I went to work on their “dessert”  –  a meatloaf cake, iced with mashed potatoes. As you can see from these photos, it was a very good year for April Fool’s pranks.


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, divided (one is for the glaze)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1  1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Green food coloring
1 can purchased vanilla icing, divided in half
Red food coloring
Yellow food coloring
6 large purchased soft chocolate cookies

To make the cookie “hamburger buns,” heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy. Add 1 egg and beat well. Stir in the vanilla extract. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a separate bowl. Then, add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and blend well.

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto a lightly greased baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Next, use the bottom of a floured glass to lightly press the dough into a circle. Then beat the remaining egg and use a pastry brush to “paint” it on top of each cookie. Sprinkle sesame seeds on the tops. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.

While the cookies are cooling on a rack, make the “lettuce.” Place the shredded coconut into a plastic bag. Add a few drops of green food coloring, close the bag, and shake until the coconut has turned a light green.

Color half of the icing with red food coloring and the other half with yellow food coloring.

To assemble the burgers, choose two cookie buns that are about the same size and shape. Spread red icing ketchup or yellow mustard icing on the bottom bun, add a chocolate cookie and sprinkle with coconut lettuce. Add a squirt of icing ketchup or mustard to hold the top bun in place. Arrange the hamburgers on dinner plates or on a platter.

Makes 6 “sham”burgers

Adapted from Family Fun Magazine

Kitty Litter Cake

2 (18.25 ounce) packages of white cake mix
2 (3.5 ounce) packages of instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (12 ounces) package vanilla sandwich cookies
Green food coloring
1 (12 ounce) package of Tootsie Rolls
1 newly purchased and washed plastic kitty litter box
1 newly purchased and washed kitty litter scooper

Prepare cake mixes and bake according to package directions. Let cool.

Prepare pudding according to package directions and chill until ready to assemble.

Crumble vanilla sandwich cookies in small batches in a food processor, scraping often. Set aside all but ¼ cup. To the reserved ¼ cup, add three drops of green food coloring and mix.

When cakes are cooled to room temperature, crumble them into a large bowl. Toss with 1/2 of the remaining cookie crumbs, and half of the chilled pudding. You may not need all of the pudding, you want the cake to be just moist, not soggy, add more as needed.  Spread the cake mixture evenly into the litter box.

Put the unwrapped Tootsie Rolls on a microwave-safe dish and heat until slightly softened. Shape the ends so that they are no longer blunt, and curve the Tootsie Rolls slightly. Bury the Tootsie Rolls randomly in the cake and sprinkle with the remaining cookie crumbs. Sprinkle a small amount of the green-colored cookie crumbs lightly over the top.

Place the scooper in the box.

If needed, scoop up a Tootsie Roll or two and then dare your kids to help themselves.

Serves a crowd

Meatloaf Cake

Make your favorite meatloaf recipe or use a double recipe of THIS ONE. Form and bake the meatloaf in two 8-inch round cake pans.  Whip up a batch of your favorite mashed potato recipe, or use a double recipe of THIS ONE. (Omitting the Parmesan and the green onions.)  When the meatloaf is done baking, allow to cool slightly. Also, allow the mashed potatoes to cool slightly.

Next, place one meatloaf round on a microwave-safe plate or platter. Frost with mashed potatoes.  Place the second meatloaf round on top and frost the entire “cake”.  This is best made at room temperature and then reheated in the microwave, otherwise, your potatoes will just melt and slide off the cake.  In that case, the joke is on you!

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1 Grandma H. { 04.01.11 at 2:24 PM }

WOW! What a lot of work you went to, but what fun.

2 Sharon { 04.01.11 at 11:57 PM }

What a fun mom. I bet your kids will always remember that day.

3 Ginger Tunheim { 04.02.11 at 4:58 PM }

Hi Linda,
I remember the kitty litter cake you brought to my room. It was so great to see their eyes when you started to dish it up. Now I have the recipe so I can play tricks on my grandchildren.

4 Linda Hopkins { 04.02.11 at 10:48 PM }

Hi Ginger, it was such fun, your sweet grandkids would love it! And, I’d love to get together for lunch sometime, soon!

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