Sprinkle Christmas Tree Cake

Sprinkle Christmas Tree Cake

When I first saw a 'sprinkle stencil' cake...

I wanted to try one of my own! @Sheri.wilson put one together on Instagram, and I was mesmerized! ABSOLUTELY check out her Instagram page for AMAZING videos, ideas, and inspiration! But recipes and notes for how I put mine together are below! 

FAQs

"How do you get the sprinkles into the shape of a tree?" 
  • The easy way - a parchment paper stencil! I used some clip art (link in recipe below). But if you're more artistic than I am (likely 😉 ) you can definitely free-hand the design onto the parchment paper! Cut out the tree, place the stencil against the cake, and press the sprinkles into the exposed frosting on the side of the cake. Done! 

  • (I recommend giving the video a quick watch; it's less than a minute long!) 
"Do I have to make the cake / frosting from scratch?" 
  • Absolutely not if you don't want to! You can substitute 2 of your favorite cake mixes plus the ingredients the mix calls for; keep the baking pans the same! The cake layers will just be a little less rich. 
    Store bought frosting is usually a little thinner than my recipe; add a 1/4 cup of extra powdered sugar at a time until you reach a consistency that spreads and stays in place on the cake well. 

"Can I make the cake / frosting ahead of time?"
  • Definitely! Wrap the cake layers well and refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze up to 4 months. Transfer the frosting to a zip-lock bag and squeeze out the extra air, and again - refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze up to 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator. 
    On a related note – cover any remaining cake well after serving to keep it from drying out - it will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the fridge for 3-5 days. 

(Disclosure: As an Amazon associate I may earn from qualifying purchases, and my posts often contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you!) 

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Sprinkle Christmas Tree Cake

A simple-yet-stunning Christmas cake design - a parchment paper stencil makes decorating this Sprinkle Christmas Tree Cake a cinch!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time37 minutes
Decorating time35 minutes
Total Time1 hour 42 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas Sprinkle Cake, Christmas Sprinkle Tree Cake, Christmas Tree Cake
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 745kcal
Author: Sarah H

Ingredients

Candy Cane Cake Layers

  • 3 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks, room temperature)
  • 1 cup egg whites (About 7-8 eggs depending on size, or you can use egg whites from a carton to avoid wasting the yolks!)
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup crushed peppermint candy or candy canes (divided)

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

Drip + Decorations

  • 4 ounces green candy melts (I used the Wilton brand green)
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons heavy whipping cream (my favorite brand comes from Costco and is incredibly thick; you may need a bit less depending on the thickness of the cream!)
  • Sprinkle mix of your choice! (I used Sweetapolita’s ‘Christmas Crackers,’ but this Sprinkle Blend from ManVCakes is pretty similar!)
  • 1 teaspoon Crisco / vegetable shortening (optional; to add sprinkles to the cake drip)

Instructions

Cake layers

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with baker's floured cooking spray, or grease and line with parchment rounds.
  • Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle (or large bowl with a hand mixer) until fully combined. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
  • Pour in egg whites and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk on a low speed. Add in peppermint extract and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  • Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part). This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height. Sprinkle 2-3 Tablespoons of crushed peppermint candy over each pan (I used about 1/2 cup total) and marble it in with a knife or offset spatula.
  • Bake for 34-37 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans. Cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
  • Once the layers have fully cooled, they can be leveled and any caramelized bits can be trimmed from the sides / top of the cake using a serrated knife if desired. Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble apart. (This is a great time to make your frosting!)

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add peppermint extract and salt if needed and beat until well combined.
  • Remove about ¾ cup frosting from the bowl and mix in red gel food color; you’ll use this to pipe the border around the top of the cake. Add green food color to about another ¼ - ⅓ cup of frosting; you just need a bit to pipe the outline of your tree!

Assembly

  • Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting, and sprinkle 2-3 Tablespoons of remaining crushed peppermint candy over the frosting. Place next cake layer on top; repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.
  • Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer. I usually do this with my large offset spatula.
  • Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Place cake into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting and chill the cake before adding the sprinkle tree!

Tree Stencil

  • Now the fun part – the stencil! I used a printed Christmas tree clip art image, but you can also free-hand the design directly onto your parchment paper if you're more artistic than I am (which is likely). ;)
  • Draw or transfer the tree onto your sheet of parchment paper, and cut it out with the scissors. Place the sheet of parchment paper against the side of the cake. (Use a tiny spray of water against the side of the cake if the parchment paper won't stick to the cake).
  • (Adding the sprinkles will be a bit messy - setting the cake in a baking tray or pan can help contain the mess!) Take a small handful of sprinkles and press them into the frosting left uncovered by the stencil. I found I had to make several passes to get the frosting as covered as I wanted, and I hand-placed a few of the larger sprinkles to get them evenly spaced. Once you’re happy with the look of the tree, carefully peel away the parchment paper stencil.
  • Transfer your green frosting to your small piping bag, and add an outline around the tree edge to give it more definition.

Green Cake Drip

  • Place heavy cream and candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on 50% power in 30-second intervals until smooth, stirring in between.
  • Allow to cool to a moderate temperature – it should feel slightly warm and still be fairly liquid – transfer it to a squeeze bottle or piping bag. (A spoon will work; I’ve just found spoons to be a little bit more difficult to work with.)
  • Slowly drizzle candy melt drip around the upper edge of your cake, pausing every inch or so to let more fall in a drip down the side of the cake. I had to stick with very small drips close to the tree! Add the rest of the mix to the top of the cake and smooth with a small offset spatula.

Decorating

  • When the drips have set slightly, get a bit of shortening on your finger and add sprinkles to your drip. As long as the drip’s not set too firmly, the sprinkles will stick to your finger just well enough to transfer to the drip!
  • Now to finish decorating! Transfer the rest of the red frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a star tip, and pipe a circular border of frosting around the top of the cake. Add some more sprinkles over the frosting border and around the cake base, pressing them gently into the frosting around the base.
  • Stand back and congratulate yourself – and then cut in and enjoy!

Video

Notes

(Please note nutrition information is an estimate, and may not be exactly accurate.) 

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice (1/16th cake) | Calories: 745kcal | Carbohydrates: 102g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 38g

Did you make this Sprinkle Christmas Tree Cake?

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