Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Mini-Cake Magic: Frosty the Snowman and a Christmas Tree

 

Gifted with Mini-Cake Pans

In July, Ashley, my daughter, gifted me with  a set of four mini-cake pans - a bear, a rabbit, a snowman, and a fir tree. She found the set at a yard sale for $1.00. What a great daughter! I already own two fir tree mini-cake pans, but not the other three. However, she was thinking about how much easier it would be for me to bake mini-Christmas tree cakes three at a time. She knows her mother loves to decorate cakes and how much time is involved in baking them.

Two Magical Mini-Cakes

Frosty the Snowman is wearing his magical top hat and the star-topped Christmas tree reminds me of carolers singing "O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree".  I can't wait to give these two cakes to my family on Christmas Day.

The mini-cake pans

Holiday Applesauce Cake 

I adapted an Applesauce Cake recipe from my vintage Betty Crocker cookbook. This recipe makes about 5 cups of batter, which fills each mini-cake pan with about 2 1/2 cups of batter. Due to personal preference, I did not put raisins or nuts in the cake.

Applesauce Cake Ingredients

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce - Measure with a dry measuring cup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 cup raisins, optional - stir in after all ingredients are well blended
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Directions

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease and flour cake pan(s)
  • Put all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. 
  • Stir until all ingredients are well blended.
  • Add the applesauce, water, canola oil, and eggs to the bowl.
  • Beat on low speed or by hand for about 2-3 minutes, or until ingredients are well blended.
  • Pour batter into the greased and floured pans. (About 2 1/2 cups each)
  • Bake for about 40 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. The cake is done if the toothpick is clean, or only a few crumbs cling to it. 
  • Cool in pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
  • Remove cakes from the pans. Place face down. The rounded tops will cause the cakes to break open if you place them rounded side down. 
  • Place cakes on a cooling rack and cool completely.
  • Place cakes back into pans. Using the pan as a guide, cut the rounded tops flat.
  • Cakes are ready for a crumb coat of icing.



Frosty the Snowman Cake

If you like to play with play dough or roll pie crust, you can cover and decorate a fondant cake.

Seriously, with homemade butter cream fondant, covering a mini-cake is easy.

Follow the "butter cream fondant" link below for the recipe, but make sure you read my changes to the original recipe.

One batch of  butter cream fondant for the Frosty the Snowman cake.


My Changes to the Fondant Recipe


  1. The original recipe calls for 1 cup of shortening which makes the fondant greasy. Use 1/2 cup of shortening for a better product.
  2. Use brown vanilla extract. Your fondant will be ivory instead of pure white

The recipe makes 3 pounds of fondant so I leave the fondant white until I need to color it. I also divide it into 1 pound and 1/2 pound balls that I flatten into rounds. I wrap each round of fondant with two layers of plastic wrap and store them in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator until I need them.

Coloring the Fondant

My preference for coloring is to use Wilton gel food coloring and knead the gel into the white fondant. This can get a little messy so you might want to wear food safe gloves. I don't, but I am careful to keep folding and kneading the gel to the center of my fondant ball until it is incorporated into the fondant.

How I Cut and Placed the Fondant 

  • You will need to have a crumb coat of frosting on your cake that isn't wet.
  • Roll out butter cream fondant to about 1/8 inch thick.
  • I used my clean cake pan as a pattern to help me cut the rolled fondant into pieces of the correct shape and length for the snowman body, face, hat, and scarf. 
  • Place the rolled fondant over the design on the cake pan. (Not the side you pour batter into) 
  • Trim the fondant a little larger than you need with a sharp knife.
  • Place trimmed fondant on snowman body and then face.
  • Gently smooth fondant with your hands and tuck ends beneath the cake.
  • Next, roll out green fondant to about 1/8 inch thick. 
  • Cut 1/2 inch strip for a scarf. I used a fondant roller to cut mine.
  • Place piece for scarf "ends" vertically.
  • Then lay scarf piece of fondant across it. Fold the top end down across the "scarf".
  • Follow the same procedure for the hat that you use for the body.
  • For the eyes and buttons, I used the open end of a cake tip and coupler ring.
  • A small, 3 inch holly leaf cookie cutter was used for the holly sprig. Cut two leaves. Use one full size, and cut bottom 1/3 off of the other leaf.
  • Holly berries are rolled fondant.
  • The mouth is a made from a rolled fondant "string" 



Christmas Tree Cake



  1. Begin with a completely cool, trimmed, and crumb coated cake. 
  2. Using a #195 drop flower/star tip, cover Christmas tree with stars of icing.
  3. Pecans make great "bark" for the tree trunks
  4. Coated candies are ornaments
  5. A baked and piped star ornament cookie tops the tree.