This holiday season, surprise your family with an extra gift!
Are you one of those people who try to sneak peeks inside your presents? Do you shake the boxes; feel the weight of them, trying to guess what's inside? I love surprises, so I wait until Christmas morning to learn what's hiding inside those pretty wrapped packages. I'm not usually patient, but I don't want to ruin that moment when I pull back the paper to reveal my gift in front of the person who gave it to me. I want them to be there to enjoy it with me – I know how fun it is to watch the look on a gift recipient's face.
It’s equally exciting watching the reaction when I cut into a cake that reveals a surprise hiding inside! After I made this cake and showed it to some friends, they didn't imagine it was anything other than a cake shaped like Christmas present. But when I cut into it to reveal a beautiful swirled red and green ornament, they were more than a little surprised.
It was really like watching someone open a present, only it was cake!
If you would like to make your own, start by making one Betty Crocker White Cake Mix
Scoop out 3/4 cup of batter and color it using gold or yellow icing coloring. Equally divide the remaining batter and color one half red, the other green.
Bake the gold cake in a 6-inch square pan for 10 minutes.
To make the ornaments, pour some red batter in one half of a 4-inch spring form pan and green in the other half. Use a skewer or toothpick to swirl the colors slightly. Repeat making three small round cakes. Pop them in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Don't over bake these. If they're close, pull them out.
Once the cakes are baked and cooled for about 10 minutes you can cut them.
Cut the gold cake into 3/4-inch wide by 2-inch long strips. You just need three pieces. Next, cut the domes off each of the red and green cakes, making them 2 inches thick. You'll have a lot of cake scraps to either snack on or make cake pops with.
Spray three 6-inch square baking pans with baking spray. Set one round cake in the bottom of each pan. Make another Betty Crocker White Cake Mix. Spread just a tiny bit of batter along one edge of a gold cake strip and press that up against the top of one of the round cakes, creating the top of the ornament. Repeat, then equally divide the batter among the three pans. Bake the cakes until they're golden brown on top and when you press down around the edge with your finger, the cake bounces back. This will take around 30 minutes.
Once the cakes are cool, pop them in the freezer for a few hours to make carving easier.
Once the cakes are firm, carve off all the browned cake. Start by carving the edges, then the top and bottom. You want to see the ornament on both sides of the cake. Once again, you'll have a lot of cake scraps.
Stack the cakes together, making sure to line up the ornaments. You don't want one to be upside down!
Press the cakes together. You can use a thin layer of frosting, just don't cover the ornaments. I didn't and my cakes held together nicely. Pop the cake stack back in the freezer for about an hour.
The stacked cakes will measure approximately 5 x 5 x 3 inches. It's a small cake, but it will be impressive, and if you make some cake pops to go along with it, you'll have plenty to serve!
Stand the cake upright, and frost. Smooth out the frosting to create the look of a box.
Roll some red and green fondant into ropes. Brush some vodka or clear vanilla extract on one edge of one of the ropes. Stick the two ropes together using the vodka as glue. Twist the two ropes together then roll it out into a long strip. Cut the strip into two, 1 1/2 inch by 15 inch pieces.
Meanwhile, mix a pinch of Tylose powder with some red and green fondant. The Tylose powder will help the fondant dry so it will hold its shape in a bow.
Use the same technique listed above and cut out two 2-inch by 4-inch strips. Fold one strip over, into a loop, attaching the ends together with a bit of vodka. Roll up a small amount of paper towels and insert it into the loop. Pinch the ends and allow the loop to dry until it holds its shape. Repeat. Once dry, remove the paper towels. Cut the folded ends and stick the two loops together, forming a bow. Cut another small piece of fondant and wrap it around the center of the bow.
Also cut two 5 inch by 1 inch strips for ribbons.
Drape one fondant strip over the center of the cake, going from side to side. Cut off any excess at the bottom edges of the cake. Add another strip going from front to back.
Brush some vodka in the intersection of those two strips and attach the two short ribbon pieces, allowing them to drape over the front of the cake like flowing ribbon. Attach the bow on top.
Now you have a pretty package with a special surprise waiting inside!
To serve, cut across the cake revealing the Christmas ornament hiding inside.
Inspiration for this gift of a cake came from I Am Baker and her amazing Surprise Inside Cakes™.
Beth happily spends her days creating fun food and handmade chocolate and enjoys sharing step-by-step tutorials with her readers on her blog Hungry Happenings. Be sure to check out her profile to see all the other festive foods she's made for Tablespoon.com.