When you're decking the halls and putting out a spread, don't forget the cake. As both a decoration and a tasty dessert, these Christmas cake designs do double duty for all your festive holiday gatherings.
As of 2023, Christmas trees are expected to be displayed in 94 percent of U.S. households, which makes them the perfect focal point for your cake. Fondant is the main ingredient for a Christmas tree cake.
To create this evergreen Christmas cake design, first bake and frost a sheet or round cake in your favorite Christmas colors. Then, create the tree.
- Form a cone shape out of crispy rice treats around a wooden food-safe dowel and cover it with a thin layer of green fondant.
- Cut out branches in various sizes using green fondant or gum paste with a petal cutter set. Attach the cutouts to the cake with royal icing adhesive, working carefully from the bottom to the top.
- Allow the tree to set and then carefully insert it into a decorated cake using the dowel to anchor it.
You can add additional tree decorations, like ornaments, stars, and gifts, once the tree is in place to add some extra Christmas pizzazz.
Fir Cone Cake
If you want something a little different from traditional Christmas cakes, a fir cone is jolly option. In fact, fir trees are some of the most popular types of Christmas trees that people display in their homes.
For this design:
- Bake a heavy cake in the number of layers desired.
- Add your preferred filling between layers (frosting, fruit, cream, ganache), and cut it into a cone shape.
- Cover with ganache.
- Working from the bottom to the top, place candy disks in rows that slightly overlap one another.
Keep additional ganache and a food-safe paintbrush handy so you can add more ganache as an adhesive when you need it.
A round cake provides a terrific template for a wreath. Holiday wreaths have a long tradition, dating back to ancient times, so they are a fitting design to use on a Christmas cake. To make the wreath, follow these steps:
- Fill a decorating bag with light green buttercream and fit with a large star tip.
- Carefully make a row around the outside edge of the top of the cake. Work your way in with each row, ensuring your stars are the same size. Four or five rows wide should be sufficient.
- While the buttercream sets, roll green and red fondant.
- Cut out holly leaves and berries and set aside.
- Cut strips from the red fondant to form the bow and then another long strip to wrap the bottom of the cake.
- Attach the bow, holly, and leaves with dabs of additional buttercream icing.
- Attach the ribbon border at the bottom with a thin layer of buttercream icing.
Ugly Christmas Sweater Cake
Christmas Yule Log
The Christmas yule log, or bûche de Noël, is a classic French holiday dessert. A rolled sponge cake is typically filled with cream cheese, whipped cream, or other types of filling. While chocolate is popular, you can choose flavors like pumpkin with cream cheese or vanilla cake with a raspberry filling. Or try this bûche de Noël recipe from Delish.
Decorate the log by drizzling ganache over the entire cake. As you wait for it to set, cut and shape leaves from chocolate modeling clay, fondant, or royal icing. Berries can be candied, or you can use sugared berries. You can also create them with fondant. Add decorations with a dab of royal icing adhesive to affix them.
A gift theme is a jolly Christmas cake design for a decorator of any skill level, and with Americans spending over $936 billion dollars on holiday sales last year, it's a fitting choice.
Roll out red and green fondant once you've covered your cake in fondant or buttercream.
- Use round cookie cutters to cut out polka dots for the cake and the ribbon center.
- Cut a thin line of green fondant to twist and use as the border at the bottom of the cake.
- Cut strips of red fondant for the ribbon. Press the ends together and allow the fondant to dry overnight for the bow before you add it to the cake.
- Attach everything to the cake with royal icing adhesive.
Simple Christmas Stars
You can make a simple star cake cake using star fondant cutters.
The snowman garners plenty of attention as a holiday icon. The chilly winter man (or woman) is a natural fit for a Christmas cake that even somewhat resembles the traditional shape!
Even if you've never worked with fondant, a snowman cake is easy to create. Once your cakes are stacked and covered in white fondant, make your snowman accessories.
- Scarf: Roll red fondant and cut thin strips, making fringe at the ends.
- Face and buttons: Roll black fondant and cut out small circles for the buttons, mouth, and eyes.
- Nose: Roll orange fondant into the shape of a carrot.
- Hat: Form the hat shape with the black fondant. Cut small flowers out of the red fondant and set aside in a small flower former. Using a small star tip and buttercream frosting, add a yellow or orange center to the flowers once they have set. Roll green fondant and cut it into small, thin strips.
Use pretzel rods for the snowman's arms and create a border out of buttercream at the bottom of the cakes.
Peppermint Drum Cake
"Twelve drummers drumming" is part of the final verse in the popular carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas." A drum with peppermint accents is perfect for pairing with a candy cane-flavored cake. Create the simple design by doing the following:
- Frost with cream cheese frosting or thick buttercream icing.
- Cut and roll fondant to create the drum stitching at the top and bottom of the cake. Press into the cake top and sides before the icing sets.
- Break candy canes or sticks into pieces and place them in v-shapes around the sides of the cake.
- Add candied cherries to the top.
- If desired, add some candy-striped spoons or peppermint rods to represent the drumsticks.
For those who truly want to stick to the peppermint theme of the cake, you can nix the cherries and replace them with Bob's Sweet Stripes. Add these soft peppermint candies just before you plan to eat.
Trimming the tree is a festive tradition for many families. No tree is complete without a few cherished ornaments, making this another inspired idea for your cake design.
- Use a round-ball baking pan to make the basic shape.
- Cover in fondant or buttercream in the color of your choice.
- Create a stripe with buttercream frosting through the middle with a medium to large-sized round decorator tip and a pastry bag with vertical stripes — you can make horizontal stripes as borders to keep your endpoints even.
Add additional decorations as desired, like cornelli lace. Shape the ornament hook out of dark gray or black fondant and add to the cake once it has been decorated.
Christmas Cakes Can Add Whimsy to Your Holiday Meals & Parties
If you're pressed for time, you don't need to create an elaborate Christmas cake design. Instead, opt to use a Christmas cake stencil with colored sanding sugar or powdered sugar for a pretty cake that's easy to decorate. You can also never go wrong with a fruit topping. Remember that no matter what design you pick, the cake is sure to be the focal point of your holiday dessert table.