Flake that Cake: A Quick Holiday Trick!

Flake that Cake: A Quick Holiday Trick!

I love snowglobes. I still intend to make my own during this year the holidays  sometime soon. So when I was planning a special baked treat for a gift, what I really wanted was a cake that would somehow function like a snowglobe; I thought of this when I saw a flat round cake inside a large glass-domed cake stand. Alas, I had neither the time to experiment nor the baking expertise to pull this off, so I did the next best thing I could think of: I decorated my Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle Cake with a sugary snowflake. Here’s how I did it, using a piece of printer paper, scissors, flour sifter, confectioner’s sugar (about 1/8 cup), and of course, my cake:

1. Make a paper snowflake. (Of course, if you have a paper doily handy, you could use that instead.) For this purpose, I wanted my snowflake to be sturdy, so I just used a piece of regular printer paper, which I trimmed on the long side to give me a 8.5″ square. (I made my cake in a 8″ round pan, so this should be a good fit.) I folded the square into as many triangles as I could:

Folded paper for snowflake
Square of paper folded into triangles, ready to be cut into a snowflake.

I will say I am not particularly artistic about cutting bits out to make snowflakes, but since I was going to be sifting sugar through this one, I didn’t think fine detail was necessary (otherwise I probably would have used a doily myself).

Tip: I found lots of snowflake-cutting tutorials on Pinterest; here’s a link to one with lots of ideas: http://inspirationforhome.blogspot.com/2010/11/christmas-craft-how-to-make-paper.html

Here’s what mine looked like after cutting, which wasn’t easy through all those layers:

Folded paper after cutting
Folded paper after cutting: Well, let’s see what it looks like when I unfold it! Right now it looks more like a tree than a snowflake.

Tip: After you (gently) unfold your snowflake, use a medium-hot iron (without steam) to flatten out the creases.

'Flake on Cake
‘Flake on Cake (sounds like Dr. Seuss, no?): my paper masterpiece atop my chocolate masterpiece.

2. A little fall of confectioner’s sugar: I try to avoid the gadgeting of the kitchen as much as possible, but in this case, I have to recommend using a sifter to let your confectioner’s sugar drift lightly over the snowflake.

Tip: Before sifting, put the sifter on a small plate, then add the sugar; some will always fall through as soon as you add it to the sifter, so the plate will catch this excess before you sift the sugar onto your cake. (You can see my small plate behind the cake plate in this photo.)

Sifting sugar onto cake
Sifting sugar onto the cake. Aim for a light but complete dusting.

You really don’t want anything more than a light dusting of sugar; in my case, since I was trying to get a decent photo of the sifting, I ended up with a bit too much. It’s not a huge problem if there’s a little more than you want; it will usually just mean that the edges of your design won’t be quite as sharp. (But heck, you’re going to eat it anyway, right?)

3. Remove your paper snowflake: This is probably the trickiest part; your snowflake will be laden with the sugar that didn’t fall through the holes, and if you’re not careful, this excess could fall back onto the top of your cake as you move the snowflake.

Tip: Have a dustbin handy into which you can shake your excess sugar. With confectioner’s sugar, if it goes into the sink, gets wet, and doesn’t get cleaned up right away, you’ll have some scrubbing to do. (Don’t ask me how I know that.)

4. Admire your artistic tour de force! Open a bottle of something festive, and toast your own creativity!

The grand finale

The grand finale: I chose to leave the “snow” around the edges of the cake, but you could also wipe off any excess with a damp cloth. You can see in this photo that I cut my cake into small wedges prior to adding my “snow”; it was going to the lucky giftees immediately after decorating, and it’s more fun if it’s ready to serve!

Since my sugar-sifting went a little overboard in the attempt to get a photo of the process, it’s not perfect, but still, it looks a lot more festive now than the simple chocolate cake I started with! (Wish I’d thought to take a “before” picture”.) As for the snowglobe cake idea… just give me time.

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4 thoughts on “Flake that Cake: A Quick Holiday Trick!

  1. That’s such an ingenious, but simple, tip, thanks! I can see myself getting a LOT of papercuts doing this from now on.

    havishamscloset.wordpress.com

  2. Thanks so much, Anna! I was just wondering if I could try the same idea, only with cookies— maybe colored sugar sprinkled onto a sugar cookie? And I sincerely hope you were kidding about the paper cuts. ; )

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