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Christmas Tree Cake

A delicate vanilla cake with creamy, peppermint frosting is topped with festive pine trees and a dusting of snow.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, Christmas, festive, holiday, mint, peppermint, vanilla
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Decorating Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 14 slices
Author: Rachel Alexandra

Ingredients 

Vanilla Cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp Celtic sea salt
  • 4 oz white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 8 oz Organic Valley salted butter (softened)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup aquafaba
  • 240 g plain Greek yogurt (unsweetened)

Frosting

  • 12 oz Organic Valley salted butter (softened)
  • 1035 g powdered sugar (plus extra for dusting)
  • 5 Tbsp Organic Valley half and half
  • 3 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Green food coloring

Christmas Trees

  • 3 waffle cones

Instructions

Vanilla Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans and place a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of each pan.
  • In a medium bowl, sift the flour, starch, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • Place the white chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl and pour the piping hot water over the top.
  • Whisk until all the white chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract and set aside.
  • Place the softened butter in the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat for about 30 seconds to make it extra creamy.
  • On medium-high speed, gradually add the sugar. Beat for 4-6 minutes until light and fluffy. Periodically, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Gradually beat in the aquafaba, 3 tablespoons at a time.
  • Decrease speed to low and add the chocolate mixture. Mix until just incorporated.
  • Add ⅓ of the flour mixture. When it is mostly mixed in, add half of the Greek yogurt. Continue alternating with the flour and yogurt until it is all mixed into the batter.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl throughout the process. When all the ingredients are well-combined, but not over-mixed, evenly distribute the cakes between the prepared pans.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake and when it comes out clean, they are done. Try not to open the oven more than you have to.
  • When the cakes are removed from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the pans. I always recommend freezing cakes before frosting them. Wait until they are completely cool before wrapping each layer in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and sealing them in a freezer bag.

Frosting

  • Add the butter, sugar, half and half, and vanilla extract to a large stand mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment.
  • Turn the mixer on low speed as the sugar gets worked into the butter. (If it starts too fast, sugar will be flying everywhere!)
  • Gradually increase the speed as the sugar gets incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically.
  • Beat until light and fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add more syrup or half and half. If it is too thin, add more sugar.
  • After frosting the cake, set aside the remaining frosting and add green food coloring until it reaches your desired shade. This will be used to make the Christmas trees.

Decorating the Cake

  • Remove the frozen layers from the freezer and unwrap. If they are uneven, use a sharp, serrated knife to level them. Place the bottom layer on a 10-inch cake board and set on a turn-table.
  • Separate some of the frosting into a separate bowl for the crumb coat. Taking from this "dirty" bowl, place a dollop of frosting on the cake and smooth it around using a 6-inch offset spatula.
  • Place the next layer on top and repeat the previous two steps with the remaining cake.
  • Using the offset spatula and only taking from the dirty bowl, frost a thin layer of buttercream all around the cake. Get it as smooth as possible. If the frosting gets too cold from the frozen cake, dip your offset spatula in a bowl of hot water, wipe dry, and continue frosting. Hot tools can be incredibly helpful with a stiff buttercream.
  • When the crumb coat is finished, place the cake in the refrigerator to set up for about 10 minutes.
  • When the crumb coat is set, continue frosting the cake. Fit a piping bag with Wilton Cake Icer Decorating Tip 789. Using the flat edge, pipe ribbons of frosting all around the cake, starting at the bottom and working your way up.
  • Hold an icing smoother at a 45° angle to the cake. Lightly hold in place on the frosting as you rotate the turn-table to smooth the frosting. Again, it may be helpful to heat up the smoother depending on how stiff the frosting is. Continue smoothing the cake until you are satisfied. If needed, fill in gaps or air pockets with the offset spatula.
  • Place a dollop of frosting on the top of the cake and smooth with the offset spatula.
  • To achieve a perfectly smooth cake, dampen a Viva paper towel (this is the only brand that works) and gently place it on the cake. Use a fondant smoother to "iron" out the frosting.
  • Take the remaining frosting and add green food coloring until it is as dark as you would like.
  • Put the green frosting in a piping bag fitted with Wilton Tip 18.
  • Take a waffle cone and pipe stars of frosting all over it, staring from the bottom and working up. Place the cone on top of the cake. Repeat with the other two cones.
  • When all the trees are set, put some powdered sugar in a fine mesh strainer and sift a dusting of powdered sugar over the cake.
  • Transfer to a cake stand before serving. The cake should be stored in the refrigerator, but brought to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!
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