The Prettiest Christmas Cake This Side of the Mississippi
*Tons of pictures*
You're probably assuming from the title that I live in the southeast..... I actually live in Montana. The title is just what popped in my mind, but I'm standing by it.
I thoroughly enjoy decorating a good cake. I enjoy the creativity it involves. So when we were nearing Christmas I knew I wanted to make something both delicious and pretty.
I'm not a huge fan of cake by itself, so I decided on a raspberry filling. Because I don't love seeds, (or pulp.....or fruit that isn't completely pulverized....don't come at me with your chunky soggy fruit in the bottom yogurt.....) I decided to make a seedless raspberry filling. It's everything I dreamed it would be.
*Click on any of the photos below to enlarge*
• Prep •
The very first thing you should do is set the oven temp to whatever temp the cake your making says.
I made two cakes here so that I would have four layers. So once you've pre heated your oven, you need to spray your pans and sprinkle some flour around the entire insides. Shake out any flour that doesn't stick. Greasing and flouring your pans help your cake come out perfectly.
• The Cake •
For this cake I used 2 Betty Crocker white cake mixes. I was given a trick from a friend a few years ago that will literally make the softest cake no matter what recipe you use. Her tip, along with a few of my own, makes even the easiest box cakes, taste bakery delicious!
These alterations work with any type, flavor, or brand of cake. You're going to follow the recipe as far as the eggs go but substitute the oil for melted butter, and water for milk. Use exact measurements for both substitutions. If it calls for 1/4 cup of oil, add 1/4 cup of melted butter and so on.
The secret ingredient here is mayonnaise. You hate mayo? Join the club. I swear on the life of my car you won't be able to taste it. I've served this to many mayo haters and they cannot taste it, even my son who hates mayo cannot taste it. The mayo simply adds a richer flavor because of its ingredients. I don't have a specific measurement for this, just get a spoon and give the batter a big scoop.
An alarming phenomenon happens whenever I start to make a cake. Suddenly small people appear and the desire for them to mix things is so strong they can hardly handle it. Oblige them and they typically calm down a bit.
Help them mix this magical recipe together until its smooth, and then pour this into your prepped pan, and follow the baking instructions in your recipe.
While this bad boy is cooking, we can make our delicious chunk free filling.
•Easy Fruit Filling•
If raspberries aren't your jam (you see what I did there?) that's totally fine. This recipe translates well with most other berries.
I purchased two cartons of raspberries which ended up being about 3-4 cups of berries. Wash those little guys and shake off the excess water.
Put your berries in a saucepan with 1/4 cup water, 3/4 cup of sugar, and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Bring it to a nice low simmer and let it be for about 10 minutes.
To thicken our filling, mix 1/4 cup of cornstarch with 1/4 cup cold water and add to your bubbly berries. Bring it to a boil and keep stirring, it will thicken quickly. Remove from heat.
Put a fine strainer over a big bowl and pour your hot filling on into the strainer. You will end up with some liquid that comes through immediately.
This is where those arm workouts come into play. You're going to need to stir and stir and stir until all the delicious smooth filling is separated from the evil seeds. If you can, let this sit in the fridge overnight, that will really help it be the best consistency. If you don't have the time and you live somewhere cold, you can put this outside to chill in a hurry....im not kidding.
At this point, your cake should be done and I'm sure you've expertly flipped it onto a cooling rack like the pro that you are. It can join your sauce outside. Again, not kidding.
A note here. I wasn't thinking and cut this in half without cutting off my top curved layer. Cut off your top curve of the cake before slicing this in half. Flat layers will help your filling distribute evenly and your whole cake will look more uniformed. It will make life easier and prettier, and don't we want things easier and prettier?
Now let's cut that cake evenly down the middle. I happen to have this little handy cake slicing tool that's adjustable and literally clicks into place so you can cut perfect even layers every time. If you don't have this, you can eyeball it using a large knife. I'm terrible at this, hence the slicing tool.
•Assembly & Frosting•
So if you've been following me for a minute, you know that I use store bought frosting. I make no apologies for this. It's yummy and easy to use.
If you have a cake turntable, put him on there. If you don't, no worries, you can make a cake without one.
Ok, we are going to create a filling dam. Using a good amount of frosting, aaaaalllllll the way around the cake will keep that naughty filling right where it belongs.
Put your frosting in a piping bag and cut off about an inch and a half of the piping bag. Starting about a half inch in, pipe a nice thick circle of frosting all the way around the rim of your first layer.
Spoon your delicious filling inside the safety of your piping circle. The circle of trust. The circle of life. Then repeat for your other layers.
I opted to go for a very rough frosting here. I like the mix of things looking bright and uniformed (the trees) with things looking a little less put together. I basically just did a crumb coating and smoothed it out a bit.
We are going to make our trees out of waffle cones because why would we use anything else?
Using a sharp knife gently score your cones in half. Yes, this is tricky. Yes, they can crumble. Be patient. I also cut them in half at different lengths horizontally. Then I gently press them into the frosting so they won't fall off.
I used a multi star curved tip and filled a piping bag with Wilton kelly green dye and the worlds smallest amount of black dye. So simple, all we are going to do is make little stars that cover every little cone tree. At the tippy top I piped straight up.
If you have a hard time getting around them, simply remove them for a minute, pipe your stars, and put that little fella back.
I decided to add the little edible balls in white. They come in all kinds of colors so you could easily do red or gold as well!
For my final touch I put powdered sugar into a sifter and lightly dusted the top of my trees with "snow".
And that's it! SO fun right!? If you made this, I would love to see it! You can send me a message to email@example.com.
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