Easy Buttercream Santa Cake

Believe it or not, this is the first Santa Cake I’ve ever made! I originally made this cake to celebrate St. Nicholas Days earlier in December, but am just getting around to sharing it now! This cake is made with almond cake layers, and almond buttercream. I’m not sure it it’s from the almond cookies we enjoy around the holidays, but I always associate almond flavoring with the holidays. The recipe and tutorial can be found below:

Almond Cake Batter:

  • 3 1/4 cup (416 grams) all purpose flour
  • 3 cups (600 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp (13 grams) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 grams) salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or 2 sticks (226 grams), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. (9 grams) almond extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (244 grams) – about 7 large egg whites; I use egg whites from the carton to avoid wasting egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 grams) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup (28 grams) vegetable oil

Almond Buttercream Frosting: 

  • 6 sticks or 3 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. almond

Additional Supplies:

  • black, white, and yellow colored fondant (1 inch ball of each)
  • red, green, and black gel food coloring
  • Wilton 1M tip
  • white sanding sugar
  • piping bags

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7″ round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in almond extract and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

Divide evenly between two bowls. Use gel food coloring to color one red, and one green. Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans, to make 2 layers of each color. Bake for 37-38 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling (or place in the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process). Once full cooled, trim any caramelization from the sides of the layers using a serrated knife.

While the layers bake and cool, prepare the buttercream frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the heavy cream half way through. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). To watch a full tutorial on how I make my frosting, you can click here. Place 1/2 cup of frosting in a separate bowl, and add ivory gel food coloring to create a flesh like color. Set aside. Place 2/3 cup of frosting into a seperate bowl, and color black with gel food coloring. Place into a piping bag fitted with a wide, flat tip. Place 1 cup of uncolored  buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip. Color the remaing forsting red with a generous squirt of red gel good, plus the smallest drop of black (it helps deepen the shade). If you’re having trouble getting a deep red shade, try making the frosting a day in advance. The color will deepen overnight.

Prepare the fondant features next. Use the yellow fondant to create a rectangular belt buckle, making it slightly larger than the width you plan to pipe for the belt. Use the black and white fondant to create two eyes. Cut out a small semi-circle of black fondant to be Santa’s mouth. Also cut out two thicker semi-circles to place at the bottom of the cake, to be Santa’s feet.

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Stack and frost layers using the red buttercream. Cover the cake in a thin crumb coat, and chill in the freezer or fridge for about 5 minutes.Add a second, thicker layer of red buttercream frosting. Smooth using a bench scraper. You can see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sides here.

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Next, pipe a line around the side of the cake using the black buttercream to be Santa’s belt. Carefully place the belt buckle on top of the black frosting. Next, add the black semi circles to the base, to resemble Santa’s feet. Pipe two diagonal lines from the top of the cake towards the belt buckle, for his arms.

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Next, frost the top of the cake with a large circle of the skin colored frosting. Place the remaining red buttercream into a piping bag with a 1.5 cm opening. Pipe a line 3/4 up the cake, and fill in the space to create Santa’s hat. Pipe an elongate triangle on top of this, to look like the top of Santa’s hat, hanging down towards his face. Pipe small, white buttercream swirls along the base of the had to look like the hat’s fur.

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Next, add on the eyes and mouth. Use the white buttercream to pipe on a mustache, and then pipe swirls around the sides of the face and chin to complete Santa’s beard. Place the remaining skin tone frosting into a piping bag and trim a 1 inch opening. Pipe a large round circle above the mustache to be the nose, and pipe two round hands onto the base of each arm.

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If desired, you can also add some white sanding sugar onto the base of Santa’s hat. This cake is a perfect way to celebrate the Holidays! I even had my fiance help a little with the decoration 😛 This cake feeds 15-20 people.

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Striped Christmas Cake

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, we can finally begin baking for Christmas!!!! While I do love baking for Halloween, Christmas is definitely my favorite time of the year to bake! I decided to kick off this season of holiday baking with a very festive striped Christmas cake. The inside of this cake is just as fun (if not more fun) than the outside of the cake!

I am by no means a piping expert, but everyone has to start somewhere, and the only way to get better at something is to practice 🙂 The recipe and tutorial are included below:

1 batch my favorite vanilla layer cake (4, 7″ cake rounds) – divided into three parts, one colored red, one colored green, and one part left uncolored

1.5 batches my classic American buttercream

Additional Supplies:

  • Christmas sprinkles
  • red and green gel food coloring
  • Wilton 1M tip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and prepare cake batter. Line and grease 4 7 inch pans. Spoon batter into the center of each cake pan, layering each color on top of the previous batter. If your layers get off center, simply tilt the pans to recenter the pattern.

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Bake 4, 7 inch layers for about 38 minutes. Once removed from the oven, carefully run a small offset spatula around the perimeter of the pan, to separate the layers. Let these cool for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove them from the pans and place in the freezer for about 45 minutes (accelerates the cooling process). Once cool to the touch, trim the browned edges from the sides of the cake using a serrated knife. If desired, you can also trim the tops of the cake! The layers bake relatively flat, but some people find it easier to stack and frost layers when they’re perfectly level.

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While the layers bake and cool, prepare the buttercream frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the heavy cream half way through. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). To watch a full tutorial on how I make my frosting, you can click here.

Stack and frost layers. Cover the cake in a thin crumb coat, and chill in the freezer or fridge for about 5 minutes.

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Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, add a second, thicker layer of frosting. Smooth using a bench scraper. You can see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sides here. Color the remaining frosting green and red, and place into piping bags with various tips. These tips are (from left to right) a Wilton 12, a Wilton 5, an Ateco 4, an Ateco 48.

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Use a bench scraper to make slight vertical indents along the sides of the cake. Use these lines as a guide and pipe stripes up the side of the cake. Begin by adding stripes around the entire cake with one frosting tip, then fill in with the other tips and frosting color.

MVI_1560_Moment (2) Carefully level the tops of the stripes using a sharp knife. Place remaining frosting into a piping bag with a Wilton 1M tip, and pipe swirls around the top of the cake. Add sprinkles (these are from Neon Yolk Shop) around the base of the cake and inside the buttercream swirls.

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Like I promised earlier, the inside of the cake is just as fun as the outside!

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