A "bleeding" armadillo-shaped cake is popular as a groom's cake for weddings. This cake is also a humorous delight for birthdays and anniversary celebrations. Made popular after its appearance as the groom's cake in the movie "Steel Magnolias," the bleeding armadillo cake is time-consuming and laborious to make, but arguably well worth the effort. The trick to making a great bleeding armadillo cake is to get the cake's interior as red as possible, so that it looks like it's bleeding, and to decorate the cake so that it looks as similar to a real armadillo as possible. While creating this fun and artistic cake, you should refer to a picture of a real armadillo.
Bake your cakes at least one day before you plan to decorate. Bake one cake in a large, football-shaped form pan and one in a 9-inch x 13-inch pan. Follow the store-bought mix instructions to bake the two cakes, adding red food coloring to your batter prior to baking. Mix in red food coloring until the batter is slightly darker than your desired final color.
Allow the cakes to cool. Cut the cakes level with the top of the pans, and then remove them from the pans. Cover the cakes with plastic wrap, and store them in the refrigerator.
Shape your fondant pieces at least one day in advance as well. Shape the ivory-colored fondant to make a piece for the head and ears. Sculpt the ears toward the back part of the head, making the head approximately four inches long and three inches tall. Insert a dowel rod in the "neck" of the head so you can use it to attach the head to the body.
Shape a tail that is about seven inches long using the fondant. Make the tail slightly curved to give it a natural look. Insert another dowel rod into the base of the tail. Also, shape the armadillo's four-toed feet, making the two front feet two inches long and the two back feet slightly bigger, about three inches long.
Make the trademark "banding" on your armadillo to make it look realistic. Use a blunt tool like the handle of a spoon or a butter knife to indent rings and "scales" for the armadillo's distinctive armor. Look at a picture of a real armadillo while doing this.
Place the 9-inch x 13-inch cake on a covered cake board. Ice the top of the cake with the buttercream icing. Cut approximately one and one-half inches off each end of the football-shaped cake, and center it on top of the 9-inch x 13-inch cake.
Cut the 9-inch x 13-inch cake around the football cake so that it is trimmed to the shape as the football cake. Spread a thin layer of buttercream icing over the entire cake, and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
Cut a rolled-out layer of fondant into a 24-inch circle. Drape the fondant over the armadillo body, and smooth it out. Make the rings or "scales" on the body using the same blunt tool that you used for the head, feet and tail.
Attach the head, tail and feet to the body by inserting the dowels. Color the armadillo with an airbrush or petal dust, creating a "mottled" appearance, using shades of brown and green, as well as gray and black. Squeeze a dot of black piping gel for each eye.
You can also make the cake with a traditional red velvet recipe, which is a chocolate cake made with buttermilk, vinegar and red food coloring.