I’m Dreaming of A White Christmas Cake with Sweet Peony

Every week I keep thinking things will be getting back to normal, and every week the madness continues…I’m beginning to think it’s me.   It just seems that I have so much to do every day, and never quite get it all done…..sigh.  But there are always bright spots in my day, my girls were feverishly working on their Gingerbread House for the Flik Independent School Dining annual Gingerbread House competition (which they won last year).   They put the finishing touches on it late last night, with one day to spare, and today I took pictures from every conceivable angel to submit for the judges consideration, tomorrow…….sigh, did I say tomorrow!!  Guess I still have some work to do, but wait until you see what they made!  I would give you a hint but I don’t want to spoil the surprise, just stop by Sunday night or Monday to see their Gingerbread House!

But let’s get to the real reason why your all here today, it’s Guest Post Friday!  The weeks are still flying by, and this week went flying by with a Rednosed Reindeer in the lead!!  To help celebrate the season, I have a very special guest today, my friend Nicole from Sweet Peony!    Nicole is a relative newbie to our community, having just started blogging a few months ago.  I was lucky enough to find her blog early on and have loved all of the sweet creations she has shared with us,  and before this post my personal favorite was her Bourbon Pecan Pie Brownies!   Just saying all those words in the same sentence makes my heart beat faster, having them all in the same recipe title, starts me drooling!

So sit back, relax, put your feet up, and wrap your keyboard in plastic, there’s going to be some serious drooling going on, As I give you Nicole, and……….

 Sweet Peony

Wow, it’s such an honor to be guest posting on A Culinary Journey and to be here among so many of Chef Dennis’ friends!

My name is Nicole from Sweet Peony and I have an obsession with all things sweet.  I started my blog not too long ago and Chef Dennis has been one of the bloggers that has made me feel so welcome in this food community.  I’ve been a huge admirer of his blog, so imagine my excitement when he asked me to guest post!  Yup, totally threw myself a dance party.

Now, let’s get on to the sugary sweetness.

With the holidays in full swing, I knew I had to make something seasonal for y’all.  I spent much of my life in the South, and now live in Los Angeles, so I have never woken up to a White Christmas (even when we lived in upstate New York for two years, we spent Christmas down South).  What a sad life, I know.

I mean, seriously, what’s Christmas without snow?  I blame this attitude entirely on Home Alone and pretty much every other Christmas movie ever made.  Can you imagine It’s a Wonderful Life without snow?  That’s what I thought.

Anyway, I figured that since I won’t be having a White Christmas this year, I needed to make my own winter wonderland.  That’s how I came up with the idea for this cake.

The cake I chose to make is a fluffy vanilla cake.  It’s a delicate white cake with the perfect crumb, and it is oh-so-fluffy.  The frosting is a whipped vanilla frosting that is super light and airy, just like snow.  It is the best vanilla cake I’ve ever had.  Did you hear me?  The best!

In hopes of making the cake look like a true winter wonderland, I topped the entire cake in white sanding sugar for a glistening snow effect.  Then, I made some shimmery gum paste snowflakes that I placed on floral wire to give the illusion of falling snow.  I have to say, I love the results!  My husband did, too (only he’s complaining about starting to gain those Christmas pounds early).

Whether you’re looking for a beautiful holiday dessert or just dreaming of a White Christmas, try making this cake to share with your family and friends.  And feel free to make it your own!  Add a cute little snowman, a flocked evergreen, or some red and green frosting around the base.  After all, it’s your Christmas!

Thank you all for reading!  And thank you again to Chef Dennis for letting me share this cake with you!  Happy Holidays, everyone!


5.0 from 7 reviews
White Christmas Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Makes two 8 inch round cakes
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
Ingredients
For the Vanilla Cake:
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup whole milk, divided, at room temperature
  • 2½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups cake flour, sifted then spooned & leveled
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon PLUS 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cubed
For the Whipped Vanilla Frosting:
  • 1½ cups (3 sticks) PLUS 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but cool
  • 3½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • white sanding sugar, for decoration
For the Gum Paste Snowflakes:
  • ready-to-use gum paste
  • snowflake cookie cutters
  • thin silver or white floral wire
  • 2 small brushes
  • clear alcohol or extract
  • silver or pearlescent luster dust
Instructions
For the Vanilla Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two round 8-inch cake pans. Place round pieces of parchment paper in the bottom of each cake pan and grease the parchment paper. Flour the bottom and sides of the cake pans by tapping a spoonful of flour around to coat. Discard any remaining flour.
  2. In a measuring cup, whisk together the egg whites, ¼ cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds.
  4. Add in the butter and the remaining ½ cup of milk. Mix on low speed just until moistened. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 1½ minutes.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition.
  6. Divide the batter evenly into the cake pans using an offset spatula to level the batter. You can weigh the cake pans on a kitchen scale to ensure even layers.
  7. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Be very careful not to over bake! Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides of the cakes with a small knife or spatula and invert cakes onto greased wire racks. Gently re-flip the cakes so that the top of the cakes are facing up. Let cakes cool completely.
  8. Wrap the cakes tightly until they are ready to be frosted. The cakes can be stored at room temperature for 2 days and in the refrigerator for 5 days.
For the Whipped Vanilla Frosting:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the butter on medium speed until pale and creamy, about 8 minutes.
  2. With the mixer on low, add in the remaining ingredients and mix for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and whip until frosting is very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
For the Gum Paste Snowflakes (see my note at the top):
  1. Roll out gum paste to about ⅛” thickness.
  2. Cut out snowflakes of different sizes. Cut floral wire into varying lengths.
  3. Very carefully insert floral wire into the snowflakes, making sure to insert far enough to provide support to the snowflake.
  4. Lightly dip one brush into either clear alcohol or extract (it will evaporate out as it dries). Brush onto the snowflake. With the other brush, brush on the luster dust until completely covered and shimmery. (I did this whole step one snowflake at a time.)
  5. Let snowflakes rest to dry out. Best if done at least the day or night before using.
To Assemble the Cake:
  1. Place the bottom cake layer bottom/flat side down on a cake stand (or any dish that you will be serving it on).
  2. Place about 1 cup of frosting on the top and spread it evenly with an offset spatula.
  3. Gently place the 2nd cake layer top/rounded side down on top.
  4. Place a small amount of frosting on top of the cake and create a crumb coat by spreading the frosting thinly over the top and sides with a small offset spatula. Place in the refrigerator and chill for about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Place remaining frosting on top of the cake and spread it evenly over the top and sides. You can make the frosting textured to look like freshly fallen snow, as I did, or make it smooth.
  6. Pour sanding sugar all over the top of the cake. Carefully tilt the cake slightly to pour sanding sugar on the sides. Rotate the cake and repeat until all sides are coated in sanding sugar.
  7. Place the cake back in the refrigerator and chill for about 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Carefully insert snowflakes into the cake. Make sure to vary the heights so that it really looks like falling snow.
  9. Enjoy your beautiful White Christmas Cake!
Notes
*Nicole’s Note: I suggest making the gum paste snowflakes at least one day in advance so that they are completely dry.*

 

Now that cake had me singing White Christmas, all through out the posting process, and I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a beautiful snowy white cake before…… I think I need to revise my guest post criteria….yeah,  you have to send me what ever your posting to taste it first, yeah that’s the ticket!     Sigh, if it was only that simple.    But there’s no doubt about it, I will be making this cake!  I haven’t had much luck with white cakes, but thanks to Nicole, I think  my luck is about to change!!   Now before you forget, I want you to head on over to see Nicole and all the delicious treats she makes at Sweet Peony!  You’re going to love her blog, and I know you’re going to be adding one recipe after another into your must make list, and while your there you can become one of Nicole’s newest followers! Just don’t forget to tell her Chef Dennis sent you!

That’s going to wrap up this addition of Guest Post Friday, thanks so much for stopping by!  I do hope everyone is either done shopping or has made a sizable dent in their shopping list, because as grandaddy use to say…..Daylight’s a burning!   In other words you only have a week left!!    All I can say is thank goodness for Amazon and Prime!

Have a wonderful weekend my friends and please take a few minutes to remember why we celebrate this glorious holiday.

Happy Holidays!

Comments

  1. Stunning cake & great post!

  2. Such a beautiful cake from Nicole. So lovely to have you share this recipe and perfect for the holidays. I hope you both have a wonderful weekend and happy holidays:)

  3. What an amazing cake! Picture perfect for those of us without snow this Christmas!

  4. That’s deliciousness , Nicole ! 😀 Gorgeous photos , too ! Great guest post , Chef Dennis 😉

  5. Wow! This cake is gorgeous. Wonderful job!

  6. Chef Dennis – It’s been a while since I’ve been to your blog, and I LOVE the new look! Fabulous. I see I have a lot of catching up to do. And this cake is simply gorgeous. Wow.

  7. I love your photographs very much. … That close up shots are making me to grab food from the screen

  8. Hi Chef Dennis & Sweet Peony! What a beautiful, timely post! The cake is absolutely stunning and it looks just like Christmas! Beautifully done and congratulations!

  9. That is such a beautiful cake. I’ve never had a white cake actually turn out white. Like Chef Dennis, I think my luck is about to change. I’ve never had a white Christmas either. Its both the blessing and the curse of living in Southern CA.

  10. Great to see Nicole guest posting for you Chef. She does have a wonderful blog and I have already saved several of her delicious recipes. White cake is a tough one when it comes to achieving the right texture, color and taste. This cake is an amazing pristine white and the snowflakes are a lovely touch. One advantage to being in LA , you can have this winter wonderland of a cake while the snow bound people are shoveling snow!
    Chef-I am looking forward to seeing the gingerbread house. I can remember as a kid watching my mom make one, while all the time she had this stern look of “you better not touch”.
    Enjoy this wonderful holiday season!

  11. Gorgeous cake , stunning pictures 🙂

  12. WOW. Stunning cake and photos, Nicole!!! Just beautiful.

    And I can’t wait to see your gingerbread creation, Chef Dennis!!! Have a great weekend~

  13. Gorgeous! I need to start requiring samples of such deliciousness! 🙂

  14. What an awesome idea to decorate with the snowflakes like that. They are so perfectly lovely. I am never EVER that creative or even inclined to decorate my baked goods, but you are tempting me to try. This is truly a white Christmas cake!

  15. Goooooorgeous cake Nicole! A slice of this will definitely lessen the blow of not having a white Christmas 🙂

  16. What a gorgeous cake & beautiful post for Christmas! Thanks for sharing, Sweet Peony! Happy Holidays, Chef Dennis! It’s been a great year…wish you the best for 2012!

  17. What a beautiful, beautiful cake!

  18. Hello Chef & Nicole! Such a treat to see your work here Nicole…I’ve viewed some spectacular posts on your blog and Facebook, but this cake is gorgeous, beautifully photographed and decidedly festive. Brava! Chef, please post pics of the Gingerbread House.

  19. Absolutely Beautiful. Wonderful guest post Chef Dennis and thanks for sharing this lovely cake with us Nicole. Happy Holidays to you both.

  20. What a stunning cake! I especially love the delicate snow flakes. I’m definitely suffering from baker’s envy here! YUM!

  21. This cake is absolutely beautiful, a picturesque winter wonderland in edible form. I bet it’s delicious too!

  22. Stunning cake. I love the floating snowflakes.

  23. Wow, that is one pretty cake! 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever had peony flavored anything, other than tea. Very nice!

  24. Nicole-This cake is just stunning, and I love shimmering snow on top of the cake. Here in Illinois this year, we might not have a white Christmas, but at least I can make your cake and have a White Christmas!

    Chef-Can’t wait to see the gingerbread creation!

  25. Hi everyone! Thank you so, so much for all of your sweet comments! I’m so happy that you enjoy the cake! 🙂 Thanks again, Chef Dennis!

  26. Wow this is one gorgeous cake! I love the snowflake decorations, the frosting truely does look like snow. I bet it tastes absolutely amazing!

  27. This cake is gorgeous! I too am hoping for a white Christmas.

  28. This is just so pretty – I fell in love with it when I saw the first photograph!

  29. This cake is simply gorgeous! I love the gum paste snowflakes!!

  30. Hope you are well and enjoying the lead up to the holidays Chef Dennis. I am so in awe of this white cake. It’s just so pretty. Congrats on top 9 you two. Heading over to Nicole’s now to say hello.

  31. Beautiful guest post! While I hate the snow, I agree, it is strange to have Christmas without it. The cake looks wonderful!

  32. Beautiful cake!!! I love it.

  33. Wow, I knew I had to make this the moment I saw the photo. There’s something about all white desserts that just makes me crazy, it’s beautiful!

  34. This cake look so beautiful and tasty…I enjoyed this guest post..Congrats to both of you on Fbuzz top 9!!!

  35. This looks dreamy! Congrats on Top 9 – I’m happy to be listed with you! Merry Christmas!

  36. That’s a beautiful and delicious looking cake!

  37. What an absolutely beautiful cake! It looks dreamy and so festively befitting 🙂 Thanks Chef for introducing Nicole. Congrats on the Top 9 today!

  38. WOW! That is gorgeous!!

  39. That looks fantastic and is so festive.

  40. Its like a winter wonderland! Beautiful cake!

  41. We had a cake at my father-in-law’s b-day party last weekend with whipped frosting. It was so good and I was wondering how to make whipped frosting. Now I know. Thanks!

  42. I love a white cake that is actually white, this one is perfect!

  43. Gorgeous! Truly like a winter wonderland… I love Sweet Peony’s sweet recipes. She’s great! Thanks for featuring Nicole, Chef Dennis!

  44. Wow absolutely beautiful and so Christmas! Gorgeous!

  45. Such a stunning cake I just found via Pinterest 🙂

  46. Hi, I tried making this cake and I have a couple of questions. What consistency should the batter have? At first it was very liquidy, but the cake turned out great! On my last batch, I accidentally added all of the milk with the egg whites, and therefore had to start adding a little bit of the egg mixture while mixing the butter. That batter turned out thicker, much like a cake mix. I haven’t tried it yet to see how it turned out. So what should the consistency be?

    Also, on the frosting, mine turned out looking a little more liquid like and less whipped looking from the picture. Any ideas on what I did wrong?

    • hi Rachel

      I am interested to see how the second version of the cake turned out, my only thoughts are that when you changed the order of adding ingredients that it emulsified the batter making it look thicker. I honestly don’t think it would affect taste, just possibly the texture. As for the frosting if the butter was too warm it may have made it look less whipped, while it does need to be softened it still needs to be as cold as possible. The change in temp would effect it. Did you let the butter whip long enough as well as the finished frosting at a high enough speed?

      Dennis

  47. Thanks for your reply. Finished the second one, and it did taste the same, it was just slightly denser. On the frosting, I probably had let the butter set out on the counter a little long to the point where it was not cold. Going to try that again and let it whip longer both times. My husband has been sampling the cake and LOVES it! It is a very moist, light cake! I’m actually making this for a baby shower (w/o the snow), so I’m sure they are going to love it. Thanks again!

  48. Peggy Cousar says:

    Hi. By any chance, have you weighed your flour? I like to have precise measurements if at all possible. Do you sift a bunch of cake flour first and then spoon that into a measuring cup and level it off to get the right amount? Thanks!

    • hi Peggy

      no the flour wasn’t weighed, sorry. It was sifted first, then spooned into the measuring cup and leveled off. This was a guest post on my blog, but I did make it for myself and followed the instructions and it came out really well.

      Dennis

  49. I made this yesterday to take to a friends party and it turned out great although I just used a plain buttercream frosting with a few crushed up fruit tingles in it turned out fab, I didn’t sift any flour either and still turned out great nice light and airy was yum! Thanks for a great recipe.

  50. Thanks for sharing the recipe. The cake looks great. I am going to try it out

  51. The cake looks amazing! I would like to ask, where u have written PLUS near d ingredients, does that mean that if needed you add those ingredients or you add them later on ? Thanks ! 🙂

    • hi Lara

      the ingredient amount should be as written, i.e 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon. That means both of the amounts should be used when called for, nothing should be held back for later or as needed. This was a guest post by a friend of mine and that’s just how she wrote the ingredients out.

      Good luck with the cake, I’ve gotten rave reviews from people that have made it.

      Cheers
      Dennis

  52. Mi piace molto il tuo blog!

  53. I made this cake last year when I first came upon it. It is quite possibly the most magical tasting cake I have ever made. It made our mouths sing “Hallelujah”. It has been my go to white cake ever since and when I am asked for the recipe, I really don’t want to share it. LOL…. but I do because how can I hold on to this tongue happy deliciousness.

  54. I am so excited to make this for Christmas dinner this year – absolutely beautiful! The snowflakes call for “clear alcohol or extract.” I should probably know what this means, but I’m not really sure what to use. Can you explain this ingredient?

  55. THANK YOU! I made the cake for Christmas! it looks MAGICAL! you gave easy to follow instructions and I can not wait till my grandchildren see it!

  56. Hi Chef Dennis!
    Thanks to Sweet Peony for sharing this wonderful recipe with us. I will bake this cake tomorrow for a birthday and the birth day girl asked me if I could make a christmas themed cake but when I asked her if she had anything in mind she told me that she prefers almond flavored cakes. So the question is: Can I substitute the vanilla extract for pure almond extract in the batter? I will keep the frosting vanilla flavored. I was wondering if this could be done without compromising the flavor of the cake and the icing.
    Thanks,
    Mariela

  57. Linda billingsley says:

    I just made this white cake and I took it out of the pans to cool, the center has fallen in both layers. What went wrong? Thank you linda

    • hi Linda

      it could be for a number of reasons

      1. your oven temp may have been off, which could mean it needed to cook longer
      2. over beating the mix
      3. baking powder was old or used too much
      4. if you let it sit too long before baking

      Hope this helps some

      Dennis

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