Hella Easy Christmas Tree Cake
Hello! I’m back with a cracker of a Christmas tree cake to kick off the crimbo season. I know what you’re thinking, it’s only November but an early start means more cake and that is always a good thing in my book. To really get us in the mood, inside this one is an absolute treat of a gingerbread recipe from the glorious Angela at Only Crumbs Remain. It’s spicy and soft and everything you want to come home to when works too long and the weathers too crappy. You’re gonna love it! To top it, I’ve gone with a little mix between buttercream and cream cheese frosting with a tiny tang of orange. It is heavenly!
I baked this little beauty in 3 shallow cookie trays (because that’s what I had to hand) but if you have a deeper one (so jel) feel free to swap it out and save yourself the washing up. On the cake board front, I covered mine in marshmallow frosting cos my DIY cake board was a dis-aaaaaaster darling. But once I had the marshmallow down and looking all snowy I was like damn(!) I’m kinda glad the board was an epic fail.
You might notice that since we’re carving the cake there’ll be some leftover pieces. Now of course you can eat it on the spot but if you want to transform it into something just as special as the tree pop it in a ziplock bag and throw it in freezer cos next week I’ll be turning it into super cute gingerbread men cake pops. Think Christmas meets pastels meets chocolate. I can’t wait!
Ingredients – Serves 10-12
1 ½ batch of gingerbread cake (I used this one)
100g cream cheese
600-700g of icing sugar
50g pink fondant
Sprinkles – silver balls, snowflakes and stars (or whatever kind you have to hand)
1 pack of pink smarties (or any other pink sweets)
Food colouring – green
Silver shimmer spray (optional)
½ batch marshmallow frosting (optional)
To the make the star sketch out a template on a piece of paper and cut it out. Roll flat a piece of white fondant to 2-3mm thick. Place the template on top and cut around. Or if you have a star cookie cutter that would be perfect too. Mix 1tsp of icing sugar with a few drops of water until its thick but spreadable. Spread the star with a thin layer of icing and then cover with sprinkles. Gently pat around the edges to push in any overhanging sprinkles. If you have some edible silver shimmer spray, spray some all over the star but don’t worry if you don’t.
Roll a small piece of pink fondant into a rope using a fondant smoother. It should be long enough to wrap all around the star. Dampen the outside edge of the star with a little sterile water and attach the pink fondant all around. Use the blunt edge of knife to gently push it into the creases. Move the star to a small piece of parchment paper and leave to dry.
Line three 11x8 inch oven trays with parchment paper and pre-heat the oven to 160°C. Mix up a 1 ½ batch of ginger bread cake and split the batter evenly between the three pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Leave to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack, parchment paper side down. Normally you should remove the parchment paper when cooling, but ginger cake is hella sticky and these guys are so thin we don’t wanna take any chances.
While the cakes are cooling, print out the Xmas tree template here (or feel free to draw your own). Cut it out with scissors and remember not to cut off the trunk (like I did, what an eejit!). When the cakes are completely cool, remove the parchment paper and stack all 3 on top of each other on a cake board. No need to fill the layers with frosting because the ginger cake is really sticky, so they should grab onto each other without any help. Place the Christmas tree template on top and carve around it with a sharp knife, keeping a gentle hand because it’s very soft. Move the cake to the fridge to chill.
In a large bowl, mix together 125g of butter, 100g of cream cheese, 600g of icing sugar and 1tsp of orange extract. It should be easy to spread but hold its shape when the beaters are removed. I find that different brands of cream cheese need more or less icing sugar so if it’s not quite stiff enough, add a little more until it gets there. Lightly colour with gel food colouring until you have pale mint. I used a few drops of drops of Wilton leaf green and a tiny smidge of royal blue.
Remove the cake from the fridge and cover with a thin layer of frosting. Make sure to wipe the palette knife before reload to avoid getting crumbs in the bowl. Don’t worry about neatness at this stage, ginger cake is really soft so we’re just looking to get it on now and then we’ll tidy up later. Return the cake to fridge for 30 minutes. Once it’s chilled, cover with another layer of frosting, a little thicker this time. Smooth down with a palette knife. Now for the fun part, grab a teaspoon and green gel food colouring. Dip the handle of the spoon in the food colouring and wipe off the excess on the edge of the bottle. Start at the bottom of the cake and use the handle of the spoon to sweep upwards in short, sharp motions. Continue until the tree is fully covered and the move to the side.
The best part of every Christmas tree, the decorations! And these ones are even easier than the real deal. Roll a small piece of pink fondant into a long rope like before. Place the rope across the tree in a loop pattern, slightly curved. Repeat for the second chain. Dot a handful of smarties around the fondant tinsel for some cute little lights. Sprinkle some edible silver balls all around the tinsel and then some snowflake sprinkles all over. Lastly place the star on top, no ladders required on this one. If the star isn’t dry in time, put the oven to 100°C for a few minutes and then switch it off. Place the star and parchment paper on a baking tray and pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes with the oven switched off. Repeat until the star is dry.
If like me, you’re loving the snow-covered cake board, mix up a ½ batch of marshmallow frosting and spread all over. For a final flourish, dot some silver balls all around.
And we’re done! Didn’t I tell you it was easy?