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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour one 7- to 8-inch ovenproof glass bowl; set aside. Prepare batter for Yellow Cake as directed. Pour 4 cups of the batter into the prepared bowl, spreading evenly.* Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in bowl on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from bowl; cool completely on wire rack.
2. Prepare Creamy White Frosting. Tint 2 cups of the Creamy White Frosting using purple paste food coloring. Place cake, rounded side up, on a serving platter. Frost cake with purple frosting. Cut rolled fruit leather strips into eight 12-inch pieces (you will have extra fruit leather). Tuck ends of fruit leather pieces under bottom edge of cake for tentacles; twist and curl strips as desired. Cut 1 large marshmallow in half horizontally; press marshmallow halves onto cake for eyes. Cut 1 small gumdrop in half horizontally; use a small amount of frosting to attach gumdrop halves to centers of marshmallow eyes. Decorate body of octopus with candy-coated fruit-flavor pieces.
1. In a large mixing bowl beat shortening, vanilla, and almond extract with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Add 2 tablespoons of the milk. Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar. Gradually add milk until frosting reaches a spreading consistency. Makes about 3 cups.
1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour two 9x1-1/2-inch or 8x1-1/2-inch round cake pans or grease one 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set pan(s) aside. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium speed until well combined. Scrape sides of bowl; beat for 2 minutes more. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Spread batter in the prepared pan(s).
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes for 9-inch pans, 30 to 35 minutes for 8-inch pans, 25 to 30 minutes for 13x9x2-inch pan, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center(s) comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cake layers from pans; cool thoroughly on wire racks. Or place the 13x9x2-inch cake in pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly. Frost with desired frosting.