Our family's Christmases 30 years ago, meant driving to Grandma's house in Pennsylvania, playing with her dogs - usually a dozen or so Shelties, including a litter of puppies, trying to find the pretty calico cat from wherever she was hiding, shooting guns with my dad and uncles and crunching through the cold snowy woods to find the perfect Christmas tree.
One winter, we visited a cousin up there, who I don't even know now, but at the time, I thought she was the coolest person I had ever met because she had her own horses. She took us out to her barn where she had put up a Christmas tree for her horses, decorated with crisp cold apples hung from red ribbons. Later we sat inside by their stone fireplace, drinking hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and sampling venison summer sausage from their latest hunting trip.
Those holiday memories inspired the Christmas cake I made for the annual Christmas party with our friends, so I made a little winter scene that reminded me of those old-fashioned Christmases in Pennsylvania, before my Grandma passed away and we drove up there for the last time for her funeral.
For the cake design, I used fondant to create the decorations. I molded the house out of a solid piece of fondant, draping white fondant over the top for its snowy roof, with little balls of smoke rising out of the chimney. I mixed white luster dust with a few drops of vodka and brushed it over the roof for a sparkly sheen.
For the trees on top of the cake, I cut circles of fondant, then cut each circle in half; I joined the seams of each half-circle with a little water to seal them into cone shapes, then stacked three or four cones to make the trees. For the flat trees on the side of the cake, I made these very easily with overlapping quarter-circles. Green luster dust and vodka gave the trees a pearly sheen, and I added extra sparkle by brushing a little clear piping gel along the edges of the trees and sprinkling them with sparkling sugar so the sugar would stick to the gel.
For the presents, all I needed was white fondant, water and a red edible marker. After molding the presents and attaching thin pieces of fondant ribbons with water, I added red polka dots and stripes to the ribbons with the edible marker.
The cake itself was simple, just vanilla cake with a snowy frosting flavored with almond extract. I adore anything flavored with almond extract.
After the cake was finished, I imagined I was five years old again, my toes freezing cold as I crunched through the snowy woods behind Grandma's house...
One Year Ago: Peppermint Christmas Cake
Two Years Ago: Savory Tomato Tart with Feta and Basil