Makes:12 to 16 servings cake plus about 40 cookies
Prep:1 hr 15 mins
Bake: cake: 40 minutes cookies: 5 minutes/batch
Bird's Nest Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2, 1-1/2-quart heatproof glass mixing bowls or round casserole dishes; set aside. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Divide batter between prepared bowls. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of each comes out clean. Cool in bowls on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from bowls. Cool completely.
Roll out cookie dough according to package directions. Cut dough with 2-1/2- to 3-inch egg-shaped cookie cutters. If desired, make diagonal cuts across some cookies so they look "hatched". Bake and cool according to package directions.
Place 1/2 cup milk in a large bowl; gradually stir in powdered sugar. If necessary, stir in additional milk until icing is a thick drizzling consistency. Remove 1/2 cup of the icing and divide between two small bowls. Tint all icing batches to desired color using food coloring. Remove 1/2 cup icing from the larger batch of icing to a small bowl; set aside. Add additional milk (1 to 2 tablespoons) to the remaining larger batch to make a thin drizzling consistency. Keep bowls covered with plastic wrap when not using.
Place all icings into pastry bags fitted with small round tips. Using the 1/2 cup thicker icing from the larger batch, pipe a border around the edges of a cookie. Pipe the thinner version of the same color in the center and spread to cover the cookie. Decorate with various sized dots of the other colors; repeat with remaining cookies. Allow cookies to dry completely.
Turn cakes rounded-sides up. Hollow out the center of each by cutting out a 4-inch wide, 2-1/2-inch deep piece to form the nest shape (reserve the center cake piece for trifles or an ice cream parfait). Turn nests upside down. Frost cake bottoms with some of the chocolate frosting. Press pretzel sticks into cakes to cover. Carefully turn cakes hollow-sides up. Frost with some of the remaining frosting. Press remaining pretzels into frosting to cover. Set nests aside.
Arrange cookie eggs and chick candies in and around the nest. Makes 12 to 16 servings cake plus about 40 cookies.