This design works perfectly with any cake recipe that has a buttercream or cream cheese frosting. To create more of a nighttime Christmas scene, you can also use dark chocolate ganache. You can design this cake as a single-, double- or triple-tiered sprawling town – depending on how many people you need to feed! As usual, all the decorations can be vegan.
Kim-Joy's Gingerbread Cookies
Kim-Joy's Royal Icing
Kim-Joy's Ginger, Pecan & Salted Caramel Cake
Kim-Joy's Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipes excerpted with permission from Baking with Kim-Joy, published by Quadrille September 2019, RRP $24.99 hardcover. —Food52
- Prep time 3 hours
- Cook time 1 hour
- Serves 20-24
- Christmas Houses
Gingerbread Cookies (see headnote)
quantity of Royal Icing (see headnote)
- Christmas Trees
Option 1: a fir tree mould, cornflour [cornstarch] and dark green sugarpaste
Option 2: Royal Icing (see headnote), dark green food dye, some cocktail sticks (toothpicks), edible festive sprinkles, such as stars and snowflakes (this needs time overnight to set)
Option 3: dark green compound chocolate, some cocktail sticks (toothpicks), edible festive sprinkles, such as stars and snowflakes
Ginger, Pecan & Salted Caramel Cake (see headnote), baked and cooled
a filling (see Cream Cheese Frosting recipe in headnote)
Salted Caramel (see headnote)
gold and silver edible paint (optional)
red sugar paste
icing (confectioners') sugar, for dusting
- If using cream cheese frosting as your filling, just cover the top and sides of the cake and smooth, then chill in the fridge or freezer.
- If you are using buttercream, then this design is made for a rough-textured edge at the top of the cake. To do this, smooth over the second coat of buttercream, but don’t blend in the top edge which naturally forms above the cake. You can leave the colour of this second layer white, or you can colour it blue, or you can do a watercolour effect of blue and white, like a cloudy sky. Leave the cake to chill in the fridge or freezer until firm, then using a brush, paint the rim of the uneven top edge with edible gold paint. No time? You can also just leave the cake semi-naked (just crumb-coat) for a more rustic feel.
- Make the Christmas houses. Choose a cookie recipe (in headnote) and either use shaped cutters or go freehand to cut out your houses.
- Make the royal icing (in headnote) and pipe details onto the houses to give them character and feel lived in.
- To make Christmas trees: Option 1. Dust your fir tree mould with cornflour, then firmly press the green sugar-paste into all the grooves and smooth the back. Turn the mould upside down and slowly and carefully peel away the mould. Try lightly painting these with edible gold and silver paint for added variation in colour.
- Option 2. Alternatively, make the royal icing trees. Make a thick but pipeable Royal Icing and add dark green food dye. Transfer to a small piping bag and snip a medium tip. Arrange cocktail sticks [toothpicks], slightly spaced out, on baking paper. Starting a third of the way up a cocktail stick, pipe a zigzag, gradually working your way up to the tip of the cocktail stick and getting narrower as you go along, then finishing at a point. Leave to form a skin (about 1 hour), then repeat piping a zigzag on top. Pipe 3 or 4 trees without the cocktail stick (these are for the bottom tier). Add sprinkles to the body of some of the trees, then top some with star or snowflake-shaped sprinkles. Leave to dry hard overnight before painting with silver or gold edible paint, if liked, and peeling the trees off the paper.
- If you don’t have time to wait overnight, you can make the trees using dark green compound chocolate. Melt the compound chocolate in 15–30-second bursts in the microwave, stirring well after each burst. When melted, transfer to a piping bag and snip a medium tip. The process is exactly the same as in step 4b, except these will set much quicker and can be used straightaway.
- Roll tiny red balls of sugar paste between your palms to make ‘berries’.
- Arrange the houses and trees around the edges of the cake. Also arrange different-shaped buildings and trees on the top of the cake. Add the red ‘berries’. Transfer some leftover white buttercream to a piping bag, and use to pipe dots on the side of the cake to resemble snow falling. Use icing sugar to create the path on top of the cake. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar.
- Note: You can add little touches to this cake to make it your own! Try making tiny snowmen out of white fondant or some Christmas elves, or even Santa sneaking around!