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……….
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 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- In a measuring cup, whisk together the egg whites, ¼ cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Roll out gum paste to about ⅛” thickness.
- Cut out snowflakes of different sizes. Cut floral wire into varying lengths.
- Very carefully insert floral wire into the snowflakes, making sure to insert far enough to provide support to the snowflake.
- 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.)
- Let snowflakes rest to dry out. Best if done at least the day or night before using.
- Place the bottom cake layer bottom/flat side down on a cake stand (or any dish that you will be serving it on).
- Place about 1 cup of frosting on the top and spread it evenly with an offset spatula.
- Gently place the 2nd cake layer top/rounded side down on top.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place the cake back in the refrigerator and chill for about 30 minutes.
- 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.
- Enjoy your beautiful White Christmas Cake!
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.