Friday, January 22, 2010

Christmas Cake (4 of 4)

The final cake we made was The Heirloom Noel Cake. This cake was REALLY fucking difficult. We stacked the cakes atop one another and by the time we started frosting it became apparent that the cake listed distinctly to one side (my fault). But somehow this didn't really matter because this cake was crazy looking. It was like a Dr. Suess cake. It took as long to assemble The Heirloom Cake as it did the other two combined. This cake was weird, but it is also the only cake I'd make again. It looked completely fake. It was nutty and really when you get down to it, it's just chocolate cake with vanilla frosting.

1 (18.25-ounce) box spice cake mix
2 (19.5-ounce) boxes chocolate cake mix OR Store-bought un-iced cakes: 2 (10-inch) chocolate cakes, 2 (8-inch) spices cakes, 2 (6-inch) chocolate cakes, and 1 jumbo chocolate cupcake (top cut off)

4 (16-ounce) containers creamy white frosting
1 (1-fluid ounce) bottle green food color

1 cup white chocolate chips
4 drops green food coloring
1 sugar cone
1 (6.4-ounce) can white decorating icing (recommended: Betty Crocker-Easy Flow)
1 package red licorice whips, 6 cut into 6-inch lengths, 6 cut into 8-inch lengths, and 6 cut into 10-inch lengths
1 (6.4-ounce) can yellow decorating icing (recommended: Betty Crocker-Easy Flow)
1 (6.4-ounce) can red decorating icing (recommended: Betty Crocker-Easy Flow)
16 birthday candles

Mix and bake 2 (8-inch) cake layers according to spice cake package directions. Cool completely.

Mix the 2 boxes of chocolate cake together according to package instructions. Bake 2 (6-inch) and 2 (10-inch) cake layers and 1 (7-ounce) ramekin. Cool completely.

Cone Tree:
In a medium bowl combine white chocolate and 4 drops of green food coloring. Place bowl in microwave and heat at 50 percent power in 20-second intervals until white chocolate is melted and smooth. Dip the sugar cone into the chocolate and spin it around so that it is evenly coated. Remove from bowl and let excess chocolate drip off. Place on a plate lined with waxed paper and let dry.

In a large bowl stir together frosting and about 10 to 12 drops of green food coloring. The icing should be a pale green color. If too light in color, add a few more drops of food coloring. Transfer the icing to plastic releasable bags or a pastry bag. Cut 1/2-inch off the corner of the plastic bags and set aside.

Cut off the top of each layer so that it is flat and even. To assemble cake, place 4-inch by 12-inch strips of parchment paper around the edge of the cake plate or stand. Place 1 (10-inch) cake layer on cake stand on top of the parchment paper. Spread a layer of frosting and top with remaining 10-inch layer. Frost cake with icing.

Place 1 (8-inch) layer on cardboard cake round. Spread an even layer of frosting and top with remaining 8-inch layer. Frost cake with icing and place on top and in the center of the frosted 10-inch cake.

Place 1 (6-inch) layer on a cardboard cake round. Spread with a layer of frosting and top with remain 6-inch layer. Frost cake with icing and place on top and in the center of the frosted 8-inch cake.

Place the small cake that was baked in the 7-ounce ramekin (or the jumbo cupcake) on top of the 6-inch layer and frost with the icing. Place cone tree on top.

To decorate the cake, first carefully remove the parchment paper from underneath the bottom layer. Using the can of white decorating icing fitted with the star tip make small rosettes around the top and bottom edge of each cake tier and the bottom of the cone tree. Place a small rosette at the top of the cone tree.

Drape the licorice whips like "garland" around the bottom 3 cake tiers using the 6-inch lengths for the top layer, the 8-inch lengths for the middle layer and the 10-inch length for the bottom layer. Using the yellow icing can fitted with a star tip, pipe rosettes where the garland strands meet. Place 1 small rosette on top of the cone tree. Using the red icing fitted with the round tip randomly place small red dots around the cake. Place candles in the yellow icing rosettes between licorice garlands.

This was my favorite Sandra Lee cake. As Terri aptly pointed out, this cake looks like it’s straight out of a Dr. Seuss book – playful, charming, lopsided form. You really don’t have to be precise on this cake. About halfway through the recipe, Terri decided to just look at the picture and go from there. It was a good choice. Just stack, ice the hell out of it, and decorate. Suggestions:

* Using vanilla buttercream frosting instead of store-bought frosting
* I loved Twizzlers as a kid, but these things taste nasty. Instead, I would use real garland, or, if you’re good at cake decorating, just making red curves with a round decorating tip.

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