Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Flavor Holiday Hack: A Holiday Cake without the Stress

Make it easy by going naked with your cake and using a box.



Taking the stress out of the holidays by baking a homemade cake sounds counterintuitive, right? Not according to Michelle Heston, Regional Director of Public Relations for the Fairmont Hotels. As you can imagine, Michelle’s business life is, well, busy. To reduce the stress of her work life, Michelle bakes and decorates cakes, which she calls her “passion work” and is a perfect way to gift her friends and family. Her specialty is a Naked Cake. “A naked cake is a cake in which you can see through the frosting to the sides of the cake,” she explains. “You can truly taste the cake, with just a hint of frosting. [Naked cakes] are so elegant - with minimal frosting and maximum style…slightly indulgent, slightly naughty, and always delicious.”

And, for mere mortals, here is the good news: While Michelle often makes her cakes from scratch, she doesn’t shy away from using a boxed cake mix. She advises choosing a national boxed brand and not a grocery store brand. “There are all kinds of tricks for taking a boxed cakes from BLAH to WOW!” she insists. “Add a couple extra eggs, sub water for milk (or better yet, half milk, half liquor….  Kahlua, brandy), use melted butter instead of vegetable oil and add an extra teaspoon of vanilla (or almond) extract.”

 

Triple Chocolate Cake with Whiskey Spiked Frosting, Sugar-kissed Cranberries, and Pomegranate Arils

 

Makes one (6-inch) mini-cake (for a larger cake, double the recipe)

 

For the cake: 

1. Buy a national brand cake mix. Follow the directions on the cake mix, but make these substitutions for a more decadent cake:

Replace the oil with melted butter (salted or unsalted).
Add an extra egg to the amount specified in the box recipe. 
Replace the water in the recipe for whole milk or buttermilk.
Add 1 tablespoon of instant espresso to the batter.
Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

2. Divide the batter between 3 (6-inch) cake pans (buttered and lined with parchment). Bake according to the box recipe instructions.

 

For the frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 (2 pound) package powdered sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons whiskey
2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
1/8 teaspoon salt

 

Beat the butter at medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, alternating with the milk and whiskey, beating at low speed just until incorporated before the next addition. Mix in the vanilla bean paste and salt.

 

For the candied cranberries:

2 cups sugar, divided
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries

  

1. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cranberries and stir until well coated. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to wire rack; let dry for at least 1 hour.

2. Working in batches, roll the cranberries in the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar until well coated; let dry for at least 1 hour.

 

Assemble:

1. Place a dollop of frosting in the center of a cake stand or serving plate (to keep the cake from sliding) and place 1 cake layer on top of frosting. Spoon frosting directly on top of first layer; using an offset spatula, spread the frosting evenly over the top and just past the edges of the first layer. Place the second cake layer upside-down directly on top of the first layer; repeat frosting process. Place the third cake layer on top of the second layer. Spoon more frosting directly on top of third layer, and lightly frost the entire cake, starting with the top and moving down the sides, leaving the layers largely exposed.

2. Place the assembled cake in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to allow the icing to set. Before serving, decorate with the candied cranberries and pomegranate arils.

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Partner Content

Top 5 CBD Products for Flu & Cold Season

CBD can help with pain and anxiety, but did you know that it can also help you beat the cold or flu? [Sponsored]

Cannabis for Lovers: How to use Cannabis as an Aphrodisiac

February is for lovers, and lovers who add cannabis into their routine are in for a treat! [Sponsored]

Medical BioMagnetism Could be a New Way to Deal with Pathogens

A Greenbrae vibrational medicine practitioner says that we can help deal with our epidemic of pathogens using the PH-neutralizing power of magnets. [Sponsored]

Heath's Ceramic Director Collaborates with Artek

Tung Chiang is a talented artisan behind the beautiful ceramic creations that are central to the Heath brand [Sponsored]

Healing with Horses at Miwok Stables

A pro bono therapeutic riding program helps women in cancer recovery [Sponsored]
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags