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Blog Archive - November 30, 2011

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November 30, 2011 - Christmas Tree Cake
Click here for short instructions

Here's your other back-to-back Christmas blog. So as your family or friends are going out to choose the Christmas tree and decorating the tree, you can add to the merriment with this cake:

Christmas Tree Cake

To make this cake, you'll need a Cake-Shaping Strip (look here about how to make one), heavy-duty aluminum foil, a sheet pan, prepared cake batter (see the Raspberry-Almond Cake recipe below or use about 2 boxes of cake mix), 3 (16-ounce) containers of white frosting, 1/2 (16-ounce) container of chocolate frosting, about 150 pretzel sticks, about 30 cranberries, about 1 cup of powdered sugar, and green food dye.

First, make a Cake-Shaping Strip as described here using eleven sushi-mat segments. Line a sheet pan with 2 sheets of aluminum foil. Shape the strip into a shape of a tree. Make sure to exaggerate the shapes of tree limbs.

Wrap the bottom foil sheets around the strip, tearing it where needed to wrap it. Slide extra small strips of foil under the strip and wrap those around where needed (if your original foil sheet didn't cover a portion of the cake). And push small loosely packed balls of foil along the bottom outer perimeter wherever you think that the batter might leak due (e.g., where you tore the foil). Essentially, just add foil however you need to fully wrap around the bottom of the strip.

Christmas Tree Cake

Now prepare your cake batter. You can make the batter using about two boxes of cake mix, or you can use the recipe below. I thought that the raspberries would add some fun Christmas color to the cake.

Raspberry Almond Cake
Ingredients:
2 boxes of yellow cake mix
6 eggs
2/3 cup oil
2 cups water
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 (12-ounce) bag frozen raspberries, thawed and drained
1 cup sliced almonds

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a pan with cooking spray.

2. Beat the first 5 ingredients togehter. Fold in the raspberries and almonds.

3. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

4. Bake for about 40 minutes or until done.

*****

After the cake is baked and cooled, carefully separate the strip from the cake. Insert a flat end of a table knife between the cake and strip to help the separation if that helps.

Christmas Tree Cake

Add green food dye to 2-3 (16-ounce) white store-bought frosting. I used a combination of hunter green and a regular green dye. Frost the sides of the tree part of your cake with the green icing (but not the trunk). Next, break all of the pretzel sticks in half, and stick them all over the top of the cake, such that the smooth end points up. These are the tree limbs.

Add a little extra powdered sugar to the remaining green frosting such that it's somewhat stiff. Put the frosting in a piping bag. Choose your tip carefully. I used a No. 352 Leaf Decorating Tip and repeatedly piped little "leaves" all over the surface of the cake. But this is a lot of piping. (I had help, as my sister was in town.) Instead, you could use a less-stiff frosting (by adding less powdered sugar), use a bigger tip, and add texture by repeatedly placing a flat edge of a knife onto the top of the layer an pulling up.

Here's a photo showing a half-frosted cake.

Christmas Tree Cake

After you're done with the green frosting, move on to the trunk. First, frost the entire trunk with chocolate frosting. Then cover the top of the trunk with vertically aligned pretzel sticks. Finally, apply a little frosting over the pretzel sticks, such that you can somewhat see the pretzel sticks underneath the frosting. (See below.)

And to decorate the tree ... add some cranberry (or pomegranate-seed) ornaments and powdered-sugar snow.

This is the delicious inside of the cake:

Raspberry Almond Cake

And this is the show-stopping outside of the cake:

Christmas Tree Cake
Christmas Tree Cake

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