Our Most Showstopping Cakes Ever

Try one of these creations to make your holidays special.


 

The December issue of Southern Living is renowned for the fabulous "big white cake," as our staff knows it, that always adorns its cover. Whether it's a lavish extravaganza, such as Red Velvet-Peppermint Cake, or a one-pan wonder, such as Cream Cheese-Coconut-Pecan Pound Cake, these recipes represent the very best of the season. In fact, many of you make it a tradition to bake these luscious confections each year to share with family and friends, allowing us to be part of your important meals and gatherings. Here, we offer nine of our most extraordinary cakes as our gift to you. So pick one out, preheat the oven, and bake yet another holiday memory.

  

Boxwood Garland
2 dozen small fresh boxwood sprigs
3 dozen sour cherry candies
Glazed Tangerine Segments
Sugared Fruit Ribbons

  1. Just before serving, arrange boxwood sprigs, cherry candies, Glazed Tangerine Segments, and Sugared Fruit Ribbons in a pattern to form a garland around the outer edges of your cake.
  2. Note: Boxwood makes a nice garnish but is poisonous if ingested, so be sure to warn guests. Sour cherry candies are available by the pound at supercenters. They are also available at some grocery stores. Any round red candies may be substituted.
  3. Glazed Tangerine Segments: Separate a peeled tangerine into individual segments, and brush lightly with corn syrup to create the appearance of glazed fruit.
  4. Sugared Fruit Ribbons: Create ribbons from strawberry-flavored chewy fruit rolls by the foot. (They come in a 4.5-oz. package. One roll will provide enough ribbon for the garland.) Unroll fruit roll, and remove paper backing. Using scissors, cut roll in half lengthwise to form 2 narrow ribbons. Brush both sides of each ribbon lightly with water, and sprinkle evenly with granulated sugar. Let stand 15 minutes on wire rack or until dry. Cut into desired lengths, and arrange as desired in the garland.


 

Puttin' on the Glitz
Any flavor of pound cake that pairs well with coconut can be decorated like our Cream Cheese-Coconut-Pecan Pound Cake using these easy instructions.

  • Place completely cooled pound cake on serving plate or cake stand; spoon Powdered Sugar Glaze evenly over cake.
  • Toss together ¾ cup each of coconut chips and sweetened flaked coconut, and sprinkle evenly over cake. Sprinkle coconut mixture evenly with 2 Tbsp. white edible glitter.
  • Arrange Sugared Rosemary, Sugared Cranberries, and pecan halves around bottom edge of cake.
  • Note: Coconut chips can be found in the produce section of many supermarkets or ordered online ($4.99 for 8 oz.) from www.kalustyans.com.


 

  

Powdered Sugar Glaze: Stir together 2 cups powdered sugar, 3 Tbsp. milk, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract until smooth, adding another 1 Tbsp. milk, if necessary, for desired consistency. Makes about 1 cup.

Sugared Rosemary: Microwave ½ cup corn syrup at HIGH for 10 seconds or until warm. Brush 10 to 12 rosemary sprigs lightly with corn syrup; sprinkle evenly with granulated sugar. Arrange in a single layer on wax paper. Use immediately, or let stand at room temperature, uncovered, for up to 24 hours.

Sugared Cranberries: Bring ½ cup sugar, ½ cup water, and 1 cup fresh cranberries to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring often, over medium-high heat. (Do not overcook; cranberries should swell and just begin to pop.) Remove from heat, and drain. Toss cranberries with ¼ cup granulated sugar, and arrange in a single layer on wax paper. Use immediately, or let stand at room temperature, uncovered, for up to 24 hours.

Cook's Notes
Use the small disposable foil pans, available at the supermarket, for Praline-Pecan Cakes; the shiny surface (which reflects heat away from the pan) and the shorter bake time ensure the praline coating doesn't overbrown. Be sure to generously butter the pans before sprinkling with chopped Praline Pecans. We used about ¼ cup softened butter to grease 9 (5- x 3-inch) foil pans.

Unveiling Our Next Cake
Don't miss this year's tempting offering featured on the cover of our upcoming December issue. Like the gems featured here, it's sure to impress.

"Our Most Showstopping Cakes Ever" is from the Home for the Holidays 2007 issue of Southern Living