Winter Wonderland Cake
There's nothing like preparing a huge spread for the holidays. From the roast duck or turkey to the stuffing and mashed potatoes, holiday dinners are some of the best meals of the year. And don't forget about all of the delicious desserts we get to share each year with family and friends! Let's face it, a huge part of the holiday season is eating. Since the most wonderful time of the year is right around the corner, most peoples' baking time is dedicated to making cookies for Santa and his reindeer, but we think that there's plenty of room to broaden your horizons where seasonal desserts are concerned. That's where this stunning winter wonderland cake comes in! A gorgeous scene of a cozy house, adorable snowman, and snowflakes softly falling on the ground – it's a surefire way to enjoy the beauty of the winter season!
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cooking Time: 2 hours
Inactive Time: 7 hours
Difficulty Level: Moderate
For the white cake:
- 12 egg whites
- 2⅓ cups sugar
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup milk
- 4 cups flour
For the transparent jello:
- 4 cups water
- juice of 1–2 lemons
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tbsp unflavored gelatin powder + ⅔ cup water
For the buttercream frosting:
- 1¾ sticks butter, softened
- 3⅓ cups powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup cream cheese, room temperature
For the decoration:
- shredded coconut
- chocolate pearls
- orange fondant
1. For the white cake, preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Beat the egg whites, then gradually add in the sugar, beating continuously until a stiff meringue forms. Gradually add in the milk, vegetable oil, and flour, alternating between the 3 ingredients until everything is combined. Fill a heat-resistant mixing bowl that's about 6 inches in diameter with red lentils or baking beans and place the bowl towards the top of the springform pan. Pour the cake batter into the springform pan, making sure not to pour any of it into the mixing bowl. Transfer the springform pan to the oven and bake at 350°F for 85 minutes. Once the cake has finished baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool completely. Carefully take the bowl out of the center of the cake and remove the ring from the springform pan.
2. For the transparent jello, mix the unflavored gelatin powder with ⅔ cup water and let it soak for about 10 minutes. Heat the rest of the water, lemon juice, and sugar in a saucepan on the stove until it reaches 140℉, add in the cinnamon stick, star anise, and cloves, then pour in the unflavored gelatin powder. Stir everything together, then remove the spices. Pour the jello mixture through a fine cloth 2–3 times to strain it, making it as smooth and transparent as possible, then let the jello mixture cool down to about 80℉.
3. For the buttercream frosting, make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature, then beat the butter with a hand mixer until it becomes smooth and creamy. Gradually add in the powdered sugar, beating continuously. Add the cream cheese to the mixture and beat until combined. Cut off the lower section of the white cake, then cut make the shape of a hill, 1 square, 2 triangles, and 2 small circles for the house and snowman with the section you cut off.
4. Place 2 chocolate pearls and a small piece of orange fondant on the smaller circular piece of cake to make the snowman's face.
5. Place the cooled cake on a chilled stone slab or a similar cool surface, then pour the first layer of transparent jello into the hole in the cake and sprinkle coconut flakes on top. Let the jello set, then place the hill, snowman, and house made out of pieces of cake on top of the first layer of transparent jello.
6. Gradually pour more layers of transparent jello into the hole in the cake, adding more shredded coconut to make it look like it's snowing, until the hole is filled. When pouring in the final layer of transparent jello, don't add any shredded coconut. Transfer the winter wonderland cake to the refrigerator and let it chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
7. Once the final jello layer has set, spread buttercream frosting over the surface of the cake, transfer it to the refrigerator, and let it chill for another 30 minutes.
8. Use the parchment paper under the cake to position it upright and place it on a serving tray or flat plate to serve.
From festive flavors to snowy scenes, this winter wonderland cake will bring wonder into the eyes of everyone, both young and old, this holiday season!
Get the recipe for the Snow Globe Cake featured in the bonus video.