Friday 6 December 2013

Christmas Tree Cake

During Bazaar-o-Rama, I bought the Cut-Up Cake Party Book which shows you how to make different shaped cakes like spaceships and turkeys. There was one for a Christmas tree and I thought, “Looks easy enough.”

I should’ve known better. I often sit in front of puzzles and cry. So even though this cake looks like a tree, the tinted coconut and icing is covering up a lot of Franken-weirdness underneath.

Now, I’m about to say two things that terrify me:

1) Make your cake from scratch. The reason being is that I used a cake mix and the cake was too light. It was hard cutting the pieces. So you need a dense cake.

2) Make the icing from scratch. One container of Duncan Hines frosting will NOT give you the coverage you need to hide your screw-ups. I made the Seven Minute Frosting the book suggested. It rocked. Even if it took, like, seven minutes.

While I’d like to take credit for the decorating, I can’t. My niece did that. She's obviously way more talented than her uncle.

My fellow cakers, if you decide to make this, remain calm. Reserve one day for figuring out how to bake a cake from scratch, one day for making the frosting and one day for decorating. Christmas may be over by the time you finish, but that's the risk you take.

Here’s what you need:

1 baked 9-inch square cake
5 ½ cups Seven Minute Frosting, tinted green (recipe follows)
1 ½ cups flaked coconut
½ cup chocolate coated coconut
Green food colouring

So do this with the cake:

Then do this:

Tint the coconut by adding a ½ teaspoon of milk and few drops of colouring and toss it with a fork.

For the trunk, melt one square of Baker’s chocolate. Add the coconut and mix well. Spread on a baking sheet and separate coconut with a fork. Chill until set.

Seven Minute Frosting
3 egg whites, unbeaten
2 ¼ cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Combine egg whites, sugar, salt, water and corn syrup in top of two-quart double boiler. Beat about 1 minute, or until thoroughly mixed. Then place over boiling water and beat constantly with rotary beater (or at high speed of electric mixer) seven minutes, or until frosting will stand in stiff peaks. (Stir frosting up from bottom and sides of pan occasionally with rubber scraper, spatula or spoon.)

Remove from boiling water. For a very smooth and satiny frosting, pour at once into a large bowl for final beating. Then add vanilla and beat for one minute or until thick enough to spread.

Put the frosting on the cake, the coconut and the decorations. Then mop the sweat from your brow.

Source: Baker's Cut-Up Cake Party Book

(Look how everyone is having a good time. Obviously, none of them have made a cut-up cake.)


  1. I've never had any luck decorating cakes either. You put in all that work and it ends up looking like some kind of hot mess that doesn't look anything like the picture.

    1. Amen to that, Polly. I think those photos are photoshopped. I mean, some of those cakes look like a size 2 when they're really an 8.

  2. My mom still has that book! She made my first birthday cake based on it (a bunny) and several others through the years. Much more versatile than the shaped cake pans that only do one thing.

    1. There's a lot you can do with a slab of cake. I'll likely try my hand at something else in the book. My mom used to make a clown head. Needless to say, it was pretty easy.

  3. I've never been much of a decorator of cakes--which is why I leave them in the pan! If I take them out and spend all that time and effort cutting and frosting it, I will for sure drop it on the floor or it will get smoshed in transit.

    1. That's why I never leave the house with a cake. It's too dangerous. Just stay home and eat it. By yourself. In track pants.

  4. The candles are a nice touch.

    1. It's those small details, isn't it? I think it's the perfect cake for someone with a birthday on Dec. 25.