Vanilla cake decorated to look like a red envelope to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year Dessert To Celebrate The Year of The Dog

Ring in the year of the dog with this lucky Chinese New Year dessert topped with honeydew, grapes and mandarin oranges. I decorated a vanilla cake to look like a “hong bao,” also known as a red envelope or red pocket.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 26 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 26 minutes
Servings 12
Author Chewable Structures



  • 432 g Vanilla Cake Mix (Betty Crocker’s Super Moist French Vanilla)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • vegetable oil spray


  • 340 g Whipped Cream Frosting (Betty Crocker)
  • ½ tsp to 1 tsp Wilton red (no taste) paste
  • 2 tbsp chocolate frosting (optional)


  • 1 Slice of Honeydew (1/2" thick)
  • 6 slices mandarin oranges
  • 3 green grapes



  1. Watch my video tutorial here:

  2. Heat oven to 350°F. Line a 13”x9” pan with parchment paper. Spray the bottom and sides with vegetable oil.
  3. In a large bowl, add cake mix, water, vegetable oil and eggs. Mix together with an electric hand mixer or a whisk. Pour mixture into the pan.
  4. Bake for 26 minutes or until done. (To check if it’s done, poke the middle of the cake with a toothpick and when removed, the toothpick should be clean.) Let the cake fully cool.
  5. Cut the cake into three 7”x4” rectangles and transfer to individual cake boards.
  6. In a large bowl, use an electric hand mixer to mix together the whipped cream frosting and ½ tsp of the Wilton (no taste) red icing paste. (Note: Since the red icing paste still has a slight bitter taste, add additional red icing in ¼ tsp increments. The icing looks dark pink at first, but after a few hours it will deepen to a light red shade.)

  7. Using a small offset spatula, add a thin layer of icing to the cake. To decorate the edges, place half a cup of the icing in a piping bag with a Wilton #30 tip. Refrigerate cake for at least 1 hour.
  8. Cut out the dog-shaped honeydew slice using the dog cookie cutter. Slice the mandarin orange and grapes. Watch the video above for a better visual.
  9. Just before serving, add the fruit to the cakes. (Note: do not add the fruit unless you're ready to serve it, otherwise the honeydew will turn red!)
  10. This is optional: You can add facial features to the honeydew dog (eyes, mouth, ears) by placing chocolate frosting in a piping bag and Wilton #2 tip.

    Vanilla cake decorated to look like a red envelope to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Notes: 1. If you make the cake and add the frosting the night before, make sure to refrigerate in an airtight container (otherwise, the edges of the frosting will form a darker red crust).