Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Tree Mini Cakes

Oh Christmas Tree!

Oh Christmas Tree!

I have a serious weakness for mini and individual confection cuteness.  I saw a mini cake on the Family Fun website that spurred the idea for these. Come along with me and I will show  you how to make 'em!

I used frozen pound cake in this case because I was too lazy too pressed for time to bake. You can certainly use your own recipe and cut these from sheet cakes. Just be sure to use a very sturdy cake or they will not hold up under the weight of the icing.

I used my Ateco nesting blossom cutters for these trees, but you could also use squares and stagger the shapes, or even hexagons might be cute. (Ignore the marshmallows in this photo. I ended up not using them but forget to retake this photo. Oopsie.)

Level the cake and create a layer the height you want each tier of your tree to be. My layers were right at one inch high each. Use your three sizes of cutters and cut out the shapes. 

This next thing I am going to tell you is very important, so lean closer to the monitor so you can hear me. Closer. Still a little closer. I do not want you to miss this, because  the success of your entire project may depend upon this!

Are you close? Ok, good. Notice how I am cutting the cake with the crust side up. Please be sure NOT to do this.  Cut it with the crust side  down. And then push the cake up through the top of the cutter to get it out. You will see why in just a little bit.

Pull the rest of the cake away and then remove the cake from the cutters. It is much easier to work with firm cold cake.

Now you have the three tiers of your tree and the extra cake can be used to make cake balls, or do what I do and just throw them in a Ziplock for the hubby and kids to snack on.

Now take the layers of cake, and stack them up, but alternate the alignment of  the petals  as shown above. Run a skewer through all three layers for stability. This is the only cake you may ever make where one tiny skewer is the only dowel you will need for the whole cake!

Sit the cake on top of one of the cookie cutters, and place this  on a cookie sheet lined with plastic wrap.

Cut the skewer off right below the top surface of the cake.

Now time to make the icing to pour. In this case I used glace icing because it gives  more coverage than poured fondant, is not as translucent, dries with more of a gloss, and  I was too lazy is easier to make and use.

Glace icing:

one pound powdered sugar
6 TBS milk
6 TBS light corn syrup
flavorings as desired (I use 1tsp each of vanilla and almond)

Whisk all of the above together vigorously by hand with gel or paste food coloring until totally smooth. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and let it settle a while until the air bubbles rise to the surface. Then you can take the plastic off and pop the bubbles on the surface with the back of a spoon or spatula. Do not re-stir. (Keep icing covered in plastic when not in use.)

Now you are ready to pour:

You need to pour a large amount over the cake. Way more than what will end up staying on the cake. This will insure that every little nook and cranny of the cake will be covered. I took this picture right after I poured the icing and put the bowl down. It should run down the cake very fast, about the consistency a chocolate fountain would be.

Within just a minute or two , most of it will run off the cake. You can see how it is getting thinner on the sides now.

When the dripping slows down to just a few drops (this will be just a few minutes),  pick up the cookie cutter with cake still on top and move it to another surface to dry fully. You need to do this right away so you can scrape up all the excess poured icing, put it back in your bowl and use it again. The glace has to be scraped up quickly before it starts to crystallize and firm up.

You may want to let this layer of icing firm for about an hour, and  then give the whole cake another pour. I did two coats on mine, because it made the finished cake look a lot smoother and more polished than just one coat.

Ok, remember that I told you about cutting the cake crust side down ? The reason for this is because you want the flow of the icing to be going in the same direction as the grain of the cut of the cookie cutter. You want the icing to flow down the cut sides of the layers in the same direction that the cookie cutter cut them.

And this is why:

Can you say ugly?  This cake was poured with the layers stacked in the opposite direction of how they were cut. So the weight of the icing flowing down pulled down the cut sides of the cake (against the grain), and made the cake sides separate and stick out, not stay flush and tight. So I got this really ugly surface on the cake. Blech.


Pretty ugly:


So, now you have to let the icing  dry for 18-24 hours until the surface is nice and firm in order to be able to decorate it.

To decorate: strings from the clay gun for the garland, little rolled balls of fondant for the ornaments, and a fondant star for the top. I used sanding sugar in the  white icing snow and threw some white disco dust over everything, because disco dust makes everything look better! Note: not all disco dusts are considered edible, so choose wisely.

Ta dah!!  I also made some little fondant packages and a cute  teeny weeny snowman.

Say it with me:  awwwwww

And a picture just for size reference.

So, do remember this hideous nightmare disaster of ugliness the likes the Earth has never seen before?

I hated the thought of throwing it away, so I tried to disguise its mutant  repulsiveness by painting some white buttercream snow on the branches of the cake, and adding some colored balls and disco dust:

What do you think? I think it's not too bad now! And the plus side is that this one takes way less time to decorate than the first one.


  Back to that  purchased frozen fresh baked cake you made:

You will have a layer of cake left over from leveling that will not be tall enough to use for tiers of the tree. You can use other  holiday shaped cookie cutters.

They are the perfect height for little petit fours. Just pour icing over them them and let dry. Easy.

Then treat yourself to them on nice china with a hot cup of your favorite holiday flavored coffee. You worked hard; you deserve it.

Oh Christmas Tree!

Sing along with me everyone:

Oh Christmas Tree! Oh Christmas Tree!
They leaves are so unchanging.
Not only green with icing here.
But also sweet and cuteness near.
Oh Christmas Tree! Oh Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so......(Fill in the blank)

Happy Holidays!



Anonymous said...

Very nice and FUNNY stuff Sharon. Good job.

Sherry-New Orleans Lady said...

You always make it fun Shazaam...thank you!!!

Melissa Ravencraft said...

love, love, love...thank you!

nancy said...

love it!

Anonymous said...

you are so funny and the cake is beutiful. but you should not said was a sara lee pound cake, some people that make "only" scratch cake maybe get ofended ;)ha ha ha

Denise Rogers said...

Thank You Sharon! Im definitely trying this one. Gonna let the kiddies have at it! BTW... If cake ever becomes boring, you have comedy to fall back on ;)LOL

Sugary Goodness (Kim) said...

What an awesome idea! Love the petit fours!!

DebbyGMomof3 said...

And I DID in fact, say "Awwww" when I saw the eensy weensy snowman.

BTW, I am one of those "scratch only" bakers, and I am not in the least offended by the Sara Lee. The scratchiest of us get lazy...I mean, pressed for time, occasionally. :)

Flicks Family Adventures said...

Thank you for this....you put a great big smile on my face for sure....I can't wait to try to make them....so darn cute....
love it love it....Merry Christmas....

Grandma Susie said...

Watching this put a big 'ol smile on my face! So cute and I think I'll do them as placecards for Christmas dinner! Thanks Sharon---always a joy watching you--

Anonymous said...

Soo ugly.

Beth Pajak said...

Thank you sooo much Sharon for taking the time from this busy holiday season to post. It is absolutely adorable!

ShoppinSharin said...

Thank you Sharon!!!!

ButterYum said...

Great post. I'm eager to try this "better than fondant" alternative.


ButterYum said...

PS - I'm a scratch baker, but it's hard to beat a Sara lee pond cake!

Kathy Malinowski said...

That was wonderful. I am going to share with my students. Love your thought process.

Anonymous said...

Sharon I love the little Christmas Tree, so cute. You always make things fun. Merry Christmas and God bless.

CCC said...

U r fabu. Big S.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff, Sharon. You're such a hoot. Thanks for such a quick and easy treat to share with friends and/or family when everyone is so slammed for time.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff, Sharon. You're such a hoot. Thanks for such a quick and easy treat to share with friends and/or family when everyone is so slammed for time.

Anonymous said...

definetly looks like something my grandchildren would love to try...they look amazing...thank you

Blogger said...

If you want your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to come crawling back to you on their knees (no matter why you broke up) you got to watch this video
right away...

(VIDEO) Get your ex back with TEXT messages?