Tips for Making Your Cake Look Festive

Winterlich dekorierte Torte mit Lebkuchenhäusern

Today I am going to share a lot of tips and tricks for your cake to look all festive and perfect for winter. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I really don’t like fondant. I find it very sad that a baker spends so much time working on fondant and in the end about 99% of the people eating the cake will leave the fondant aside since it is so utterly sweet. This is so very sad! In my opinion there are so many other options out there. Instead of fondant, how about decorating with buttercream, cute little gingerbread houses, cookies or something else you may eat afterwards and which tastes better than fondant. If you would like your cake to look all festive for Christmas or for a winter-themed occasion, this is the perfect place for you. The good thing is that I will only talk about the decoration, which cake you are going to use, is entirely up to you. But of course, I will also provide a lot of cake recipes in case you are looking for inspiration.

Winterlich dekorierte Torte mit Lebkuchenhäusern

#1 Use some more white frosting outside for the cake to look like some snow fell

If your cake uses a whipping cream or mascarpone filling, you may also use some of that for the outside. This will make it look like a layer of snow. The feature photo shows a sticky toffee cake with dates and it has Swiss meringue buttercream used for the outside. Many buttercreams don’t require anything further, you can simply use them to frost the outside of the cake. If your recipe calls for a naked cake (meaning no frosting is reserved for the outside), you will for sure need 30% more than stated.

If you need some recipes with white buttercream, how about:

#2 Use cocoa powder or melted chocolate if you wish to color your frosting brown

If you would like to imitate a forest ground instead, I recommend adding about 15 grams of unsweetened cocoa powder to your frosting or about 30 grams of melted and cooled chocolate. As a general rule of thumb, you will need about double the amount of frosting on the outside of a cake than you would for one layer. If you have a cake with four layers, this is around 40% more. If the cake is not so “chocolatey”, I would recommend only coloring the outside frosting and to leave the rest as is.

Again below are some cake recipes for a dark frosting outside. How about:

#3 Prepare Italian buttercream or Swiss meringue buttercream and use this as frosting

If you don’t want to make more filling or want to be sure to have a white frosting, you can make Italian buttercream or Swiss meringue buttercream separately. This will guarantee a nice finish of the cake and you may decorate it as desired. When I made this strawberry stracciatella cake, I use Swiss meringue for the outside; for this strawberry elderflower cake I use Italian buttercream. As an extra tip: use the back of a tablespoon to create some swirls, it will even more look like winter wonderland. Regardless if you decide for a smooth finish or not, I am sure that you will have fun playing with the buttercream.

#4 Make a chocolate drip with white chocolate or use icing sugar mixed with lemon juice. This will look like melted snow

Any cake that is decorated with a chocolate drip is perfect if you wish to imitate snow. Just replace the dark chocolate with white chocolate and you got the drips representing melted snow. If making a chocolate drip is not your thing, you can create the same kind of idea with a simple glaze. Mix icing sugar with lemon juice and let the drips run down your cake. Below bundt cake uses this technique.


#5 Use Christmas cookie cutters instead

Your recipe requires some cut-out cookies or other shapes for decorating? Easy, go for stars, snowflakes and the like for your cake to immediately look more like winter. If you are lazy, simply go for store-bought cookies shaped like stars. You may also try making German cinnamon stars. The recipe below is a chocolate mousse cherry cake.


#6 Bake some cute tiny gingerbread houses

This will require a lot of work, but if yo want to make your cake extra festive, how about baking some cute little gingerbread houses (see featured picture). You can also make houses and decorate the outside of the cake with it for it to look festive (see picture below).

Lebkuchenhäuse als Tortendeko

#7 Cranberries and rosemary

Yes, nowadays fresh cranberries will also be found in Germany, yay. Just buy some and brush them with egg whites and roll them in regular sugar afterwards. You can also do the same with rosemary. Rosemary can also be used to imitate trees (see also feature picture). Same procedure: brush with egg whites and the roll in sugar, they will look like fresh snow fell on them. Be sure to turn them upside down when using them as trees. You can also use melted white chocolate for the trees to look like snowed under. By the way, when I made below pictured tree trunk cake, I didn’t find any fresh cranberries and simply rolled some red marzipan into balls and then put them in egg whites and sugar. You just need to know how to help youself… 😉

Baumkuchen mit Karamell aus Südamerika namens dulce de leche

#8 Mushrooms made from meringue

If you are going for a dark frosting, white mushrooms made from meringue are perfect to create a winter atmosphere. And of course I have a recipe on the blog as well. The recipe for the yule log can be found here.

#9 Sprinkle with icing sugar shortly before serving

Don’t forget to sprinkle your cake with icing sugar shortly before serving. This needs to be done last minute as icing sugar tends to melt quickly. This will give your cake a natural snow look.

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