2015 Holiday Guide: Winning cake recipes

Tall Tower Chocolate Cake (Robin Stone)
John F. Russell

Salted Caramel Upside Down Cake (Rebecca Drake)


For the sauce and topping

2 cups very thinly sliced apples (3-4 apples)

½ cup salted butter

? cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cake:

½ cup salted butter

1 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

¼ cup milk

½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Sea salt for topping


Generously grease a round 9-inch cake pan. Slice the apples with a mandoline to get them super thin, like paper. Or if that’s not possible, as close to paper as possible.

Sauce: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla. Keep over medium heat and cook for about 3 minutes until smooth and thickened slightly. Pour the caramel into the greased cake pan and top with the apple slices.

Cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Beat the remaining butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add the eggs and milk and beat until incorporated. Stir in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Pour the cake on top of the caramel and apple layer in the cake pan.

Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Invert onto a plate and tap the top until the cake comes out onto the plate. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Choco-Cherry Shortcake (Brisa Karow)

Sweet Choco-Biscuits Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 sticks butter

1/4 cup melted butter


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cocoa. Cut the sticks of butter into the dry ingredient mixture. Stir in the cream and melted butter. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 2 inch rounds. Place on a greased baking sheet and brush with milk. Bake for 12 minutes.

Cookies and Cream Filling;

1 package cream cheese

6 Oreo cookies


Beat cream cheese until soft in a electrical mixer. Finely blend Oreos and add to the cream cheese.

Cherry Sauce:

1/2 a can Country Cherry pie filling


Pour into a pot and heat up over medium heat.

Whipped Topping;

1/3 cup Heavy Whipping Cream


Whip in a electric mixer with a whisk paddle until stiff peaks form.


Take two biscuits and add Cookies and Cream filling in between them. Pour heated Cherry Sauce over the biscuits. Use a spatula to put the Whipped Topping in a decorating pen. Create a design with the whipping cream. Blend an extra few Oreos and sprinkle crumbs on top of the whipping cream topping.

Tall Tower Chocolate Cake (Robin Stone)

Ingredients for cake:

5 oz fine-quality unsweetened chocolate, chopped (Ghiradelli 86%)

2-1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2-3/4 cups sifted cake flour (not self rising; sift before measuring) (almost 3 cups for high altitude)

2 teaspoons baking soda (a little extra for high altitude)

1 teaspoon baking powder (a little extra for high altitude)

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups sour cream

Ingredients for frosting:

1 cup sugar

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process) (Hershey)

4 oz fine-quality unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (Lindt 90%)

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

6 sticks (1-1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions for cake:

Use 2 (8 x 2 inch) round cake pans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in middle. Butter cake pans, then line bottom of each with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment. Flour pans, knocking out excess.

Melt chocolate with butter, then cool.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Beat eggs, sugars, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and thick, 3 to 5 minutes. At low speed, mix in melted chocolate until incorporated, then add flour mixture in 3 batches alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until each additional is just incorporated. Spread butter evenly in pans and rap pans several times on counter to eliminate air bubbles.

Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans and a wooden pick inserted in center of each comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.

Cool in pans on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edges of pans. Invert onto racks and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Directions for frosting and assembling cake:

Whisk together sugar, flour, coca powder, and a pinch of salt in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add milk and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture boils and is smooth and thick, 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature, covering surface with parchment paper to prevent a skin from forming.

Beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy, then add cooled chocolate mixture a little at a time, beating until frosting is fluffy and spreadable.

Cut each cake horizontally into 2 layers with a long serrated knife. Put 1 layer on a cake stand or large plate and spread top with 1-1/4 cups frosting. Repeat with 2 more layers, then add remaining layer and spread top and side of cake with remaining frosting.


  • Cake layers can be made 2 days ahead (but not split horizontally) and kept, wrapped tightly, at room temperature.
  • Frosting can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature (about 1 hour) and beat until fluffy before using.
  • Cake can be frosted 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Christmas Cheer Rum Cake (Barbara Taylor)

Cake Ingredients:

1 Yellow Cake Mix

1 Pkg. Vanilla Instant Pudding

1/2 Cup Water

1/3 Cup Oil

4 Eggs

Pam Oil Spray

2 Palms-full of Pecans

Rum Sauce:

1 Cup sugar

1/2 Cup butter

1/2 Cup water

1/2 Cup Rum


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix yellow cake mix, instant pudding, water, oil, and 4 eggs on low speed until just blended, then at medium speed for 2 minutes more. Prepare bundt pan with Pam Oil spray. Put 1/2 of pecans in the crown of the pan, pour in cake batter. Put other half of pecans on top of poured batter. Bake for 40 minutes (or so).

Prepare Rum Sauce:

Mix sugar, butter, and water in small saucepan, bring to a boil, then add Rum, remove pan from stove. When cake is done, gently pour mixture over edges of cake after it has cooled a little, while it still remains in the bundt pan. Allow cake to sit and soak for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove cake from pan. Serve in thin slices for all to enjoy!

Tosca Torte (Britta Westberg)


2 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour, plus 1 Tbsp

3/4 tsp baking powder

2 Tbsp cream (may use half and half)

1/2 cup butter


1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup sliced almonds

3 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp flour

1 Tbsp cream


Preheat oven to 340. Beat eggs and sugar until light and foamy. Sift flour and baking powder, add to egg mixture. Melt butter and cool slightly. Add cream and melted butter to batter, folding until incorporated. Butter and flour an 8 inch cake pan and pour in batter. Bake until halfway done, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for frosting in a small pan. Stir to combine and heat over low heat until surface begins to bubble. Pour this mixture over the half baked cake and continue baking cake another 20 minutes or until top is nicely browned.

Pumpkin Tiramisu (Jill Waldman)


1 – 15 ounce can of pureed pumpkin

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon plus additional for garnish

3/4 teaspoon of ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt

pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

3/4 cups of granulated sugar – divided + 2 TBS

1-1/2 cups of marscapone cheese

2 TBS of dark rum

3 cups of heavy cream – divided

1-1/2 cups of freshly brewed coffee

1/2 cup of Kahlua Liquor

3 packages of lady fingers, 24 count each

1/4 cup of shaved bittersweet chocolate


Brew the coffee, stir in 2 TBS of sugar and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, marscapone and rum. Stir to combine. Add 1-1/2 cups of the heavy cream. Stir again to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture until it is thick and soft peaks form. Take care to start on a slow speed to avoid splattering the mixture.

In a large bowl stir together the coffee and Kahlua. In a rectangular glass dish or glass trifle bowl, place a singular layer of lady fingers that have been dipped in the coffee mixture for 1-2 seconds. Do not soak the lady fingers or they will fall apart. Top the lady fingers with the pumpkin mixture and spread evenly over the lady fingers. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Repeat with a second layer of lady fingers and pumpkin. Top with a 3rd layer of lady fingers, cover tightly and refrigerate for a couple of hours or up to 24 hours.

Just before serving, whip the remaining 1-1/2 cups of heavy cream with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until soft peaks form. Spread over the top layer of lady fingers and garnish with chocolate shavings and additional cinnamon.

Pistachio Bundt Cake (Megan Jonathans)


1 box (15-ounce) yellow cake mix

1 (3.4-ounce) package instant pistachio pudding

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup

1 tablespoon finely chopped pistachio nuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small bowl, combine both sugars, cinnamon and 1/2 cup chopped pistachios, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, oil and almond extract. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Pour 1/3 of the batter into a prepared nine-cup bundt pan. Sprinkle with the sugar-nut mixture, and top with the remaining batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until done. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before removing cake from pan. Let cool entirely and then frost with icing and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon chopped pistachios.

Icing: combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon softened butter, 2 tablespoons milk, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Beat until smooth and pour over cooled cake. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

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