This Christmas cake is great if you have a varying time schedule. You can stop at just the tree and have that as your Christmas cake, you can decorate the tree as much, or as little, as you want, or you can go the whole hog and add the balancing reindeer too.
Here are the instructions for each stage of the Christmas Tree Cake along with affiliate links for the products I use.
I used three 5″ round cakes sandwiched together with buttercream.
You can see my buttercream recipe here.
I then chilled my cake in the freezer for around 15-20 minutes. This makes carving cake waaaaay easier!
To get a Christmas Tree Cake shape, I used a large knife held vertically against my cake, and took off small pieces of cake at a time.
I worked on the top edge and gradually got lower, always making sure the tip of the knife was near the edge of the bottom cake board so I didn’t come in any narrower than that.
Continue this process until you have a cone shape but don’t try and get a sharp point at the top of your cake. It gets very fragile as your cake narrows.
For this reason I rolled a cone of fondant as the top of my Christmas Tree Cake and used a dowel pushed into the cake to hold the fondant cone in place.
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Once the cake is carved and the top cone is added, you can crumb coat your cake using green buttercream.
Chill the cake to allow the buttercream to set then you can work on the tree ruffles.
I also moved my cake to an iced board after the crumb coat had set. I covered my board with clingfilm before I started piping buttercream.
Use a disposable piping bag and a ruffle nozzle and pipe sections of buttercream around your cake.
Hold the wide side of the nozzle against the cake so the ruffles on show are nice and delicate and work your way around the cake from the bottom up to the top until it’s covered in buttercream ruffles.
To make a rope/ tinsel/ garland, I used my sugar extruder (this is my exact one, it makes light work of making decorations from flower paste but there are other versions available if you have less of a budget).
I mix flower paste with shortening before putting it into the extruder to make it easier to squeeze out, and to help keep it pliable.
To give my garland a sheen I brushed it with Rolkem gold then cut it into smaller sections and stuck them to my cake.
If your buttercream is soft, you will be able to push your decorations straight in.
If it has set you can use some water and push the decorations in lightly, or use some spare soft buttercream in a piping bag to attach the decorations.
For bows, I used my bow mould and some red paste.
I used shortening in place of cornflour so my bows stayed clean and cornflour-free.
For baubles, I rolled lots of small balls of red then coloured half of them gold by adding them to a pot with some Rolkem gold and white alcohol.
I used soft buttercream to attach these to my cake.
You can actually make your reindeer from strengthened fondant, ie. modelling paste, or modelling chocolate. I used chocolate.
For the base reindeer, I rolled a large cone of paste and sat it on my cake board next to my tree.
I then pushed a skewer through the body and into the fondant on the board.
To make the head I rolled a ball of paste and used one finger about two thirds of the way up the ball to roll and narrow the top third of the head.
This gives the impression of chubby cheeks.
I pushed this onto the skewer on top of the reindeer body and indented a line down the mouth using a mini palette knife.
I then used a sugarshaper to indent a hole for the mouth, a hole for where the nose would go and two eye sockets. You can also indent two holes at the side of the head for where the ears will go.
To make the nose, roll a ball of brown paste and stick that to the front of the face. For the eyes, roll two tiny balls of black paste and stick them into the eye sockets.
The ears are made by rolling two small balls of brown paste and roll each into a cone shape before flattening down.
Use a sugarshaper to indent a line down the middle of each ear and pinch the base. Stick into the sockets at the side of the head.
To make a hat, roll a disc of white and push it over the skewer onto the top of the head.
Roll a cone of red and pull the narrow part over before pushing it onto the skewer and on top of the head.
Roll a ball of white and stick to the narrow end of the hat as the pompom.
For the legs, roll a sausage of brown paste and cut into sections. Roll a small disc of white to stick to one end as a fur cuff.
For the boots, roll a small sausage of black and roll about half way down to narrow slightly, fold over and flatten one end to form the main boot shape. Pinch around the rim of the other end to try and match the size to that of the cuff.
Attach the boot to the cuff then lay your legs where you would like them to go.
You can continue adding reindeer to your skewer in exactly the same method as above but making them smaller each time. Leave off arms and legs for now.
For the top reindeer you want the outstretched arm roughly level with the top of the tree.
To make a star, use a star cutter and cut out a star whatever thickness you would like. Paint gold using Rolkem gold and alcohol.
Push onto a cocktail stick then push into the top of the Christmas Tree Cake but off to the side of the reindeer so it looks as if it is being put on the tree, rather than it already being in place.
For your reindeer’s arm, roll a sausage of brown paste, add a disc of white as a cuff then a ball of red as a mitten and thread onto a cocktail stick.
Use the cocktail stick as a support between the reindeer and the top of the tree by having one end pushing into the reindeer’s body and the other end pushing into the star, which in turn is supported by the tree.
This will stabilise your whole reindeer tower from the top.
Add another arm in the same way to the other side of your reindeer.
If this section of your reindeer needs tidying, add a scarf by rolling and flattening a sausage of red paste and indenting small lines at each end before wrapping around the reindeer’s neck.
To add legs to the middle and top reindeer, make them in the same way as the bottom reindeer but fold them to give a knee bend. Push the legs onto the front of each reindeer.
Arms can then be added to look as if they are supporting the legs
There are two methods of doing arms, one of to have them fully extended. Make them in exactly the same way as for the top reindeer using a cocktail stick for support.
Use one end of the cocktail stick in the body and the other end can push into the boots of the reindeer above.
To have the arms bent, make in the same way but bend to a right angle half way down and don’t add a cocktail stick. Just stick one end to the body and the mitten end underneath each boot.
To make antlers, roll a sausage of brown paste and cut small sections. Use a mini palette knife to cut two lines into the end of each section.
Separate the three pieces and roll between your fingers to soften them. Shape them to look more ‘antler-y’ (?!?!) and re-roll the bottom to narrow.
Make a bend in each antler and attach to the sides of each reindeer’s head, above and behind where the ears are.
Add some rosiness to your deer by brushing on some pink dust to their noses and cheeks, and the insides of their ears, if they are visible.
Use some white dust and alcohol to make a white paint and add a tiny highlight to each eye to give them a little twinkle.