It’s pretty rare that I get to bake elaborate and ridiculously fun things in the kitchen, so when Christmas comes, I like to go big…really big. I had some leftover trees and a skiing Santa from the year’s snow-globe wreaths, so for our annual Christmas party, I made a ginormous ski slope cake bordered with a gingerbread cityscape and little candy house cupcakes! I spread the baking out over a week to make it less stressful and it came out just how I had envisioned it…equal parts kitschy, homey and magical.
I used a Martha Stewart recipe for the gingerbread houses and made them 5 days before the party to save time. The cake was the Magnolia Bakery chocolate cake with a caramel buttercream filling that I made up myself. The cupcakes were my favorite Cake Bible yellow cake with the Magnolia bakery chocolate buttercream and vanilla buttercream. I make the cupcake houses simply by cutting the frozen 9 x 13 cake into squares and triangles and sandwiching them together with frosting. I didn’t mind the messy homemade look on the cupcakes, but if you are a perfectionist, I recommend doing a buttercream crumb coat first and then using a poured fondant icing over it for a cleaner finish like you would for petit fours. I made all the cakes early in the week and froze them so shaping them was easier. I formed the ski slope by cutting an angle into the chilled and filled 4 layer cake and then flipping the cut piece over and adding it to the top, creating an extreme slope. The final shaping was achieved with the vanilla buttercream. If you work quickly with the chilled cake, less crumbs end up in the final frosting.