Ugly Sweater Christmas Cake

Happy Monday! We’re almost halfway through the month already. Can you believe it? How is your shopping going? My mother, bless her heart, only wants pictures of my house for Christmas. So that basically means that I have to clean all of those rooms that I just close the door to and then forget about. 😛 It’s the pits! Out of sight, out of mind, right?

This is cake 2 of (hopefully) 3 for this Christmas season (If you missed the last one you can find it here: Candy Cane of Love Cake). I thought long and hard about how I wanted to decorate this one, and one idea stood out quite a bit from the rest. May I present to you, the Ugly Sweater Christmas Cake.

featured gingerbread def 1

Before we get started I have a few things to say. First, I know the cake isn’t ugly. It’s actually quite cute, right? It’s pretty difficult to find an actual ugly Christmas sweater nowadays so I guess you can say I’m just keeping up with the times.

gingerbread close up l

One complaint I have is that it seems like the only place you can find decent seasonal candy anymore is the dollar store. Sorry, but changing the color of the wrappers isn’t enough. I feel like if we all make a big enough stink about this the candy companies will eventually hear our cries and fix things. Until then we’re stuck with “milk chocolate flavored” candy. lol. Oh no, no real chocolate here!

Lastly, the cake I use here is gingerbread flavored. Perfect for the holiday season! You can find the recipe here. Now let’s get started!

I’m going to go ahead and show you what to do to the bottom tier, but keep in mind you’ll also repeat it on the top tier. The bottom tier consists of two 6-inch cakes, stacked, and the top tier is one 4-inch layer cake that was cut in half horizontally to make two layers. First things first, you’ll need to cut the tops off of each cake. Use a serrated bread knife and a turntable to make sure you cut evenly all the way around.

leveling gingerbread

Like so.

leveled gingerbread

Now secure the cake to a cake board using a bit of buttercream and then add more buttercream to the top (this will be the filling).

filling gingerbread

Pop the second cake on top, press down a bit to let any air escape, then pop the whole thing in the fridge so that it will firm up and stop sliding all over the place. Do the same for the top tier.

filled gingerbread

While the cakes are firming up in the fridge you can go ahead and color the rest of the buttercream red. Like the Candy Cane of Love cake I used Wilton’s “Christmas Red” gel food color. It’s very bright and cheery. Keep in mind though, red is one of the most difficult colors to achieve. The icing is going to appear to be very pink to you and you’re going to want to keep adding more and more gel food coloring. Don’t! For one, you’ll be able to taste it (and it does not taste good…at all), and two, the color will deepen over time. You will actually see it deepening as you make your way down these pictures. I’m pretty sure that applying heat to the icing helps it along too, but I’ll explain more about that when we get there.

So with your icing all nice and pink, spread a very thin layer over your cakes. This is the crumb coat.

crumb coating gingerbread

Pop this baby in the fridge and the repeat with the top tier.

crumb coated gingerbread

After 10 minutes or so it’s safe to do your final coat. I do mine using the “take away” method: Slather on a ton of frosting and then take it away with my spatula/bench scraper. By the way, if you need a list of my essential cake decorating tools, click here

final coat gingerbread

So about that heat. What I like to do is take my bench scraper and run it around the cake a few times to get it as smooth as I can. Then I hold the scraper under some hot tap water to get it nice and hot. I shake off the excess water and then go around the cake very slowly, repeating this process over and over until the cake is as smooth as I want it to be.

smoothing gingerbread

It looks slightly redder already, no? Normally I would put the tiers back in the fridge to firm them up again, but in this case I knew I’d be putting candy all over it so I wanted to make sure it would stick.

smoothed gingerbread

I did refrigerate the top tier though, just so that I could easily pick it up with my hot hands and place it on the bottom tier without ruining it. No need for dowels or straws or anything; the cake topper we add later will secure the two cakes in place.

stacked cakes

Here is a picture of all of the candy I picked up from the dollar store. Mini candy canes, chocolate Santas and snowmen, chocolate foil balls, Sixlets, and festive sprinkles (the same container of sprinkles that I used for my yummy molasses cookies last week). 

christmas candy

Not quite knowing what I wanted to do, I looked at some Christmas sweaters online. What stood out to me the most is that traditional ugly Christmas sweaters often work in layers. So with that in mind I created a Sixlet border, then alternated my red and green snowmen/Santas, and added some candy canes between each Santa alternating the direction that they faced.

bottom row sorted

For the top tier I repeated the Sixlet border, added some foil ornament balls,  then added more candy canes, this time all facing in the same direction. You’ll also see that on the bottom tier I added some snowflake sprinkles between each Santa/snowman and some little tree sprinkles above their head. I know, I’m a bit extra.

top row sorted

Now for the cake topper. Seriously could not be easier. Take any generic ornament that you own and remove the plastic bit where you put the hook.

gingerbread cake topper 1

Now place a skewer right down the center of the cake so that it goes through both tiers, cutting it down if you need to.

gingerbread cake topper 2

And pop on the ornament. Ta-da! You’ve done it! It’s a Christmas miracle. And am I going crazy or is the cake like super fricken red now?! 

gingerbread cake topper 3

There you have it! Until next time <3

foodgawker gingerbread l

nice brick l


Ugly Christmas Sweater Cake Decorating Tutorial
Article Name
Ugly Christmas Sweater Cake Decorating Tutorial
How to recreate your favorite ugly Christmas Sweater on a cake using dollar store holiday candy.

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