1. The ingredients. Because the dinner was set for the Monday after Easter, I got all the Peeps for 50% off! It's important to get multiple colors, and I found that putting them in the freezer for 30 minutes or so makes chopping them a lot easier. Also, it's important to get white cake mix, not yellow, so the colors stand out.
2. Chop the Peeps. Yes, this felt creepy. I confess, a couple of times I purposely turned the Peeps over so their tiny, beady little eyes weren't staring back at me. I guess years of being vegetarian will do that to a person.
3. Once I'd chopped them up and repented of my crime against Peeps-manity, I put the plate in the freezer so the marshmallowy goodness didn't stick together as badly.
4. I made the white cake mix as directed, and spread 1/3 on the bottom of a greased, floured 9x13" pan. Then, I spread 1/2 of the Peeps on top.
5. I added another layer of batter, the other 1/2 of the Peeps, and the final 1/3 of the batter on top, making sure it was nice and smooth.
6. I baked it as directed on the cake mix box, then let it cool. The funny part is, our community group was canceled that night due to rain, so I actually cut the cake in half, wrapped it in Saran wrap and aluminum foil, and put it in the freezer.
7. When I found out we were going to serve dessert for another group the following Sunday, I got the cake out, spread a layer of strawberry jam between the two layers, covered it in yellow frosting and coconut, and voila!!! Peepza Rustica! And, to boot, my first layer cake ever!!!
It was scrumptious, by the way. The Peeps gave it a nice texture, the extra sugar was divine, and the icing was incredibly thick. I am pleased.