Merry Christmas Everyone! And more importantly, happy birthday Jesus!
I made this easy color-blocked ruffle Christmas tree cake, inspired by I am Baker's Christmas tree cake.
I used two cakes, a red cake and a green cake to create this vertical layered square effect. It's really pretty easy and creates a nice surprise when you cut into the cake.
I used a box cake mix, substituting milk for the water (1 cup) and butter for oil (1/4 cup).
Grease two 8" rounds and separate the batter.
Dye one pan red and one pan green, or whatever colors you want to use.
My red came out a bit pinkish, but who cares. I really need to invest in some AmeriColor food coloring. I hear they produce really vivid bright colors but I've never tried them.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-5 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly from the center of the cake.
Once they've completely cooled, flip the cakes out onto a large counter top or workspace.
Now for the layers. To create nice square block-like colors inside of the cake, you'll need to cut the cake into three rings. Experiment with different sides lids, bowls, or plates to find a good size. This white plate didn't leave enough cake around the edges. The more cake you have the less of a chance you have of the cake falling apart.
Trace around the lid using a knife, making sure you cut all of the way through the cake.
Try to center the lid so that it is the same for both cakes. The two cakes need to be as identical as possible in the size of the rings.
Cut a second smaller circle using a glass or a small lid.
Next, flip the cake over into your hand and remove the two inner rings from both cakes.
Rebuild the cakes, switching out the center ring for the opposite color.
It's okay if one of the layers crack because the first layer of frosting (the crumb coat) will hold everything together.
Gently place the other cake onto the frosted tier and coat the whole cake in a very thin layer of frosting.
This prevents any cake crumbs from getting into the nice finished coat of frosting.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the tip that you typically use for making ruffles (it's larger on one end and used for creating borders), so I used this metal tip on the right. It had a scalloped edge and a flat edge and was flat enough to still make pretty nice ruffles.
I started with the trees, piping the first like 3/4 of the way up the cake, going back and forth in a zig-zag motion with the piping tip as I moved up the cake.
Next create two smaller stacks beside the first. I know that it loots a bit short and fat, but we'll fix that in a second.
Go back to the top of your stacks and pipe a small ruffle on an angle, finishing at the top of the tree, creating a better triangle shape .
The trees were still a bit frumpy, but at least they were recognizable.
Turn the cake and continue making trees. I made four trees, turning the cake 90 degrees each time. You could add in more trees if you wanted, however, keep in mind it can be harder to space them evenly if you try to do 6 trees. Since the frosting is just a crumb coat at this point, you could divide the top of the cake into the portions as a guidelines for where to place the center of the tree.
Be careful that you don't try to make too tall of a tree, because I had one fall that was a bit too tall. You want pretty stiff frosting to keep everything in place. When things go wrong, just scrape the frosting off with a knife and start again. No one will ever know the difference.
I also chose to decorate the tree with some red sprinkles and a snowflake "star" at the top of the tree.
Once you have all of the trees, start making the surrounding white ruffles. Use a zig-zag motion to pipe the ruffles all the way up the cake, trying to keep the rows straight.
Pipe white rows around the trees, stretching the ruffles over the top and sides of the tree. It can be tricky, but mistakes become much less noticeable as the cake comes together so don't worry.
I made a fatal error and ran out of frosting halfway through my white ruffles. Because I was running out of time and was being rushed (doesn't that always happen?), I didn't make stiff enough frosting and after a few minutes my once beautiful ruffles began to slide off of the cake!! It was awful. Once again, carefully take a knife and remove what you can of the ruined ruffles and repipe them with thicker frosting. I also made this the back of the cake so it was less noticeable.
Since celebrating Jesus's birthday is the reason for the season, I made this a happy birthday Jesus cake. I started off great with the happy...
And got worse with the birthday.
I ended up not having room for the Jesus at the bottom so I added it to the top with a comma. Not nearly as professional, but good enough for a family Christmas.
Plus the trees were pretty cute.
Some ruffles were better than others, but the cake overall looked nice.
And the checkerboard effect inside the cake was exciting. I think it'd be really interesting to do two different flavors like this so that you have blocks of two different cakes in the same slice.
At the end of the night, the cake was pretty destroyed.
I'll take that as a good sign. Merry Christmas everyone!!