3 Easy Ways to Dress Up Holiday Cakes

Learn the secrets to decorating a table-worthy holiday cake with Test Kitchen Director Rebecca Gordon.


[MUSIC] Hi, I'm Rebecca Gordon from the Southern Living test kitchen. And I'm gonna show you how to garnish your holiday cakes. So you can get the magazine look at home. This is the tiramisu layer cake. And one thing we like to do at the magazine when we are preparing these for photography. Sometimes you can push the cake to the back of the cake stand, so that when you get ready to garnish, you'll have a little room on the front of the cake. So, I'm gonna start, by adding some of my red vibrant holiday colored fruits, to the front. They add a lot of fabulous, saturated color, and I've got some strawberries. And some raspberries along with some currants. And you can just place those right around the base of the cake. And it doesn't have to be perfect. I mean, don't stress out about this in the least. One of the things that I like to do when decorating with fruits is you wanna use the heavier fruits on the bottom as a base. So I've started with the whole strawberries on the bottom. And then just layer it up with the currants and the raspberries as well. I also like to add a pop of Christmas color with this fresh mint that's vibrant and green. I'm gonna add this last piece of mint, and your cake is definitely holiday table worthy. This is the chocolate gingerbread toffee cake. And I'll be icing the cookies that will go on as the garnish for the cake. And you'll just simply wanna use straight up royal icing. It's nothing fancy here. And a pastry bag. I like to use the disposable ones. And so I'm gonna just simply start by piping around the perimeter of the gingerbread cookie. And, you don't need to really press into the bag when you're piping the cookie, you can just let it fall straight from the tip. And that'll give you a nice outline of the snowflake. Once the royal icing has dried, we'll be ready to decorate the cake. Now one thing that we did for this shoot in particular is that we broke the cookies in half to use as the garnish on the cake. Press that, into the cake top. And you can use some cranberries to help prop those cookies up. And that'll also help it stay pretty as well. I have all sorts of, cookies that I've decorated for the top, and you'll just wanna continue to press those into the top of the cake really well. I like to add some that, are just. Simply outlined alone without too much on em. And I like to layer those with some that are a little bit more detailed. So that you get a nice little layered effect. We'll add a few little small ones in there. And then just to give us that extra Christmas festive touch, we'll add some fresh cranberries around the base of the cake stand. As well as the top. And even a little fresh mint. This is the layer peppermint cheesecake. And an easy way to garnish is to add chocolate curls. Along with store bought peppermints and silver nonpareils. And so the first thing I wanna show you how to do is make the chocolate curls. So, I'm gonna just microwave this little bar of chocolate for about ten to 15 seconds, we don't want to get it too warm. And you'll just wanna take a vegetable peeler, something that you probably already have in your drawer at home. And you're just gonna shave the vegetable peeler over the slightly warm chocolate. I'm actually using the chocolate bar but you could use a white chocolate bar as well. Okay another thing that you can do is while the chocolate is still pliable you can kinda form it into small curls. The next thing we are gonna do, is just simply start garnishing the cake. And I'll start by using some of the the chocolate that didn't curl too well that can be kinda the base for your cake. And then you can use the prettier curls for the top of the cake. So we just wanna build up the center first. And it's a layering process. So next we'll add a few of our peppermints in, we wanna add some good color in with these. And then once we get a good foundation of the peppermint then we'll add some more white chocolate. Now to keep your curls extra pretty, one thing I like to do is use a wooden pick and you can just grab that in the center of the curl and then you can place that wherever you like on the cake. We've taken these white cakes over the top with just a few simple ingredients. For more holiday inspiration, pick up a copy of Southern Living, and visit us at southernliving.com. Happy holidays.
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