A Winter Wonderland

Double-layer Chocolate Cake with a Cheesecake Center, Vanilla Buttercream, and Buttercream Trees with a sprinkle of Powdered Sugar Snow

The snow we’ve had this year… whew! I was inspired by what I’ve been looking at for months now. The mountains are simply amazing and the evergreens have been covered in snow. The challenge for me has been the short days of sunshine… but the snow has made it better.

Baking has been going well – even at elevation. Developing confidence has taken some time, and the results are assuring me that progress is real. I feel as though I’m struggling with getting the photographs just right. And, I hope to have the set-up dialed in soon.

I’ve had the vision for this cake design but hadn’t decided what the inside would be until just last night. I was happy to have all the ingredients for the cheesecake on hand (no crust required). It’s best to bake the Cheesecake beforehand so it can sit in the fridge over night.

Ingredients: 3 eggs, 3 bricks cream cheese, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, vanilla

With the cheesecake in the fridge, I started the Chocolate Cake early the following morning. Since there was a cheesecake for the center, I decided to bake two small 6″ rounds for a petite cake with the remaining batter. As of now, I’m thinking a peanut butter filling.

Give yourself permission to take a few minutes to cut parchment paper rounds for the bottom of each pan – this makes a huge difference in just knowing the sponge will release completely.

As soon as I bring the pans from the oven, I set a timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, I run a butter knife around the inside edge of the pan & flip cake+pan over onto a cooling rack
When lifting the parchment paper, watch for a bit of steam escaping from the cake sponge.
Love me some even layers.
While the center layer is cheesecake, the crumb coat and frosting was Vanilla Buttercream.
I had to trim away just a wee bit of edge in order for the layer to sit flat between the chocolate. This Homer Laughlin Fiesta Dinnerware Buffet Plate in Daffodil is used daily in my kitchen.
Are you kidding me?! The center stuck to the pan?! Gaaahhh.
I used a spatula to scrape the remainder up and press into the cavity. Nothing about this is pretty, but it’s real life. I guess I neglected spraying this center area of the spring form pan. Maybe I need to use a parchment round on this too!

Time to get serious about the construction of the cake and see if I could bring to life what I imagined in my mind.

These layers look pretty even. I love it.
After the crumb coat was on, the cake went back into the fridge to set up. I really love this White Cake Plate by Homer Laughlin. It’s no longer produced but can be found here and there.
The trees are up-ended sugar cones. Varying the sizes provides a more interesting look. I was working on how to create a small forest.
Vanilla Buttercream with a bit of gel food coloring is basis for these trees. A small star tip was used for texture. I struggled transferring the finished tree to the top of the cake – I kept smashing the sticky-outy tree limbs. It turned out alright since I simply piped on more bits.

Final construction was good times. I gave the cake base a side-sweeping design with an above-the-rim edging around the top of the cake. I hadn’t factored in the space necessary for the trees plus limbs and needed to scale back the size of the forest.

A little bit of powdered sugar in a screen sifter provides the snow. Then is was trying to find the best light in the house. I already knew I wanted a minimal presentation.

Even, yummy layers.

And that’s that. I really love this cake and the yummy flavors.

Everything wonderful in my life is the result of an amazing life partner and the life we’ve built together.

It’s a blessing to enjoy all that we have together.

It’s a blessing to have our people so near.

It’s a miracle to be sober one day at a time

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