A few weeks ago, I was asked to create a winter themed cake for a baby shower. I immediately had visions of snowmen and snowflakes dancing in my head.
The cake was for a dear friend who loves beautiful things, so I wanted to come up with a winter themed cake that was unique, sophisticated, and as far from cutesy as I could get.
I had some boxes of chocolate cake mix in my pantry that I was wanting to use, but I really wanted the flavor of the cake to fit the winter theme as well….so I set out to turn my plain chocolate cake mix into a chocolate gingerbread cake. It worked! The cake was moist, and had just the right amount of spice to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I paired it with a simple buttercream frosting that let the cake speak for itself and then topped it off with some homemade edible decorations.
I started by taking the chocolate box cake mix and added the dry ingredients (ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and ground nutmeg).
I stirred them together and then added 1/3 cup of melted butter, 1/2 cup of warm milk, and the eggs and egg yolk.
After beating the wet ingredients into the mixture, I added 1/3 cup of molasses.
Then I made sure everything was beat until smooth and well combined, about 2 minutes.
I poured the mixture into 8″ round pans. (Note: to make the 3 layer cake pictured) I doubled the cake recipe and ended up pouring the combined mixture into three 8″ pans.) If you sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top of your cake mixture, it helps the cake to bake more evenly.
I baked the cakes for 34-38 minutes at 350 degrees.
My favorite buttercream recipe is one I found here.
It is really important to cut the roundish top off of your cakes so that they stack up nicely. To see an example of how I do that, you can go to my A+ cake post! I generously frost each layer and then use a butter knife to smooth out the sides to create the naked cake look.
I had seen a few examples of pine cones made with almonds and loved the idea! Most of the recipes called for almond paste, which is $10, so I decided to make my own dough that the almonds could stick in. I made it with a mixture of coconut flour, flour, water, and brown sugar. I just mixed some of the ingredients together to get the consistency of cookie dough…it didn’t taste amazing, but it was edible. 😉
I wrapped the “dough” around a pretzel stick and then delicately started sticking in almond slices starting from the top and working my way to the bottom.
Here are the pine cones! Aren’t they cool? I actually made them the day before and then stored them in an airtight plastic container in the fridge until I needed them.
Next, I made a simple syrup using 1 part sugar, and 1 part water. I boiled the mixture, let it cool and then coated cranberries, blueberries, rosemary, and drizzled some over my pine cones.
I set them on some wire racks to let the extra syrup run off, and then I dipped/ coated everything in granulated sugar which gave them an icy effect. Coincidentally, the shower happened to be on a weekend that we had an ice storm here in Kansas City.
I carefully arranged all of the toppings on the cake, and this is what I got!
At the very end, I sprinkled just a little bit of powdered sugar on top to give it a little snowy effect!
Below is the recipe for the cake, but remember to double the recipe if you want to make a three layer cake like the one above!
Chocolate Gingerbread Cake
An easy gingerbread cake made using a chocoalte box cake mix.
- 1 box of chocolate cake mix
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 3 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup molasses
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Add dry spices to the chocolate cake mix and stir together.
- Add warm milk and melted butter to the dry ingredients and beat together.
- Add eggs and egg yolks, beat for a few more seconds.
- Add in molasses and then beat mixture for 2 minutes.
- Pour into two 8″ round cake pans and bake for 34-38 minutes.
The cake was a hit and everyone loved it! Coming up soon, I will post some details from the winter themed baby shower so you can see this little cake in action!
What do you think? Would you make this winter themed cake for a shower?