Do Pull-Apart Cakes *Actually* Work? Our Culinary Producer Finds Out!

watermelon pull apart cake
Photo credit: Rachael Ray Show

"Does This Work!?" delves into the great big world of trendy, viral recipes that may or may not work with our senior culinary producer Jeanette Donnarumma. Don't miss a minute of her delicious hits and messy misses by subscribing here.

It's no a secret here at the show that I know my way around the watermelon patch ...

But let's start at the beginning, shall we?

I believe this story starts about six years ago, when I was on the internet looking for a centerpiece for a Shark Week party that I was throwing. I saw this fantastic sculpture made out of a watermelon and  quickly decided I was going to make it -- and I was going to make it better.

I made the shark watermelon sculpture, posted its photo to Facebook and the rest is history! In fact, it turned out to be my very first appearance on the show, and since then, I’ve been on seven or eight more times making creative creatures out of watermelon.

(The possibilities are truly endless!)

At this point, I might or might not be affectionately known as the watermelon queen around the office -- or potentially the watermelon diva from time to time.

Cut to episode 2 of Does This Work!?, where I try my hand at making a watermelon pull-apart cake!

The pull-apart cake trend doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, and while a baker I am not (I leave the sweets up to my special guest judge and officemate, Grant Melton. PSA: Try his cookies. They are the BEST!), I thought I’d give this colorful and creative recipe a shot.

So, the recipe starts with 19 of your favorite cupcakes. My go-to is funfetti, but the cupcake aisle is your oyster! Next, I had to arrange them into the shape of a watermelon slice, which ended up requiring a bit more math than I originally signed up for. Let's just say arranging them to look like a slice was a little easier said than done.

jeanette donnarumma
Rachael Ray Show

I then said goodbye to my non-food-colored hands forever and dove head first into the world of coloring buttercream (shout out to the amazing Gale Gand for her foolproof Quick Vanilla Buttercream recipe). Since electric green wasn’t exactly the color I was looking for, I didn't settle -- I gave it another go!

Once everything was the right color, it was time to frost the pull-apart cake. I thought I had the math down for this round, but it turns out I didn’t. (I'm seriously reconsidering the title of the show to "Jeanette Does Math!?") but I did come out of it with a new nickname: Jeanette Scoophands. (You'll understand when you watch the video above!)

I’ve iced approximately three cakes in my whole life, so I was a little worried about how this was going to turn out, and as I moved forward -- offset spatula in hand -- it turned out it wasn’t that bad at all. I even think my friend Buddy Valastro would be proud!

After topping the cake with a few (very controversial) black jelly beans acting as watermelon seeds, I was pretty proud of my cake -- despite my friend and social media producer, Matthew Allen calling the jelly beans "disgusting."

To each their own!

Now, the “raining down of judgement” portion of this episode is a very real glimpse into your average afternoon in our office: candy, banter, sassiness and laughs. I was truly honored to have my officemate, real-life bestie and the baddest baker in all the "Rachael Ray" world come try my first pull-apart cake!

Grant’s first reaction? "The sides look interesting."

So, friends, buckle up for this messy and frosting-filled trip down Cute Cake Lane, and I hope you packed your toothbrush! Make sure to check out the video above to see what else we had to say about it and what we might do differently the next time we make it.

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