You do not have to spend a fortune on beautiful sculptured cakes, and hope they taste good. Use your family-favorite cakes and sweet-bread recipes, topping with super-simple glazes, fresh berries, or autumn cake toppings, for a fun kitchen-table, edible-craft project with your kids.
Zesty Citrus Glazes
Several tablespoons of orange juice, mixed thoroughly with a cup or two of powdered sugar, and a little citrus zest (lemon, lime, pink grapefruit, and/or orange-citrus peels, finely grated) creates a wonderfully sweet, yet tangy glaze. This delightful glaze can be poured over a simple pound cake to dress-up, while moistening an otherwise dry slice of cake, or nut bread.
I use a zesty-citrus orange-juice glaze over this festive fall-to-winter Betty Crocker recipe for “Cranberry Orange Walnut Bread” found online at bettycrocker.com/. Holiday breads are often too dry, but this citrus glaze will fix that problem. The cranberries add lots of holiday color and tanginess, but can be prepared without, for a delicately flavored, glazed orange-nut bread.
Maple-Leaf Cake with Berries
Try your hand at drawing a large maple leaf stencil onto cardboard. Cut it out, and place over any pre-baked white or yellow cake, carefully sculpting into a large leaf pattern. Add fresh-berry toppings, allowing the colorful juices to marble throughout. Blueberries and strawberries are some of our favorite toppings. Use blackberries or raspberries with caution, as they contain larger seeds.
Country Cake Stenciling
Use a cake-decorating stencil with fall leaves or apples, lay it over your cake, and dust with either powdered sugar onto a dark chocolate cake, or powdered cocoa onto a white or yellow cake. Carefully lift the stencil straight up and over, to retain the powdered design. For a special twist using stencils, decorate by shaking on colorful mixed sprinkles available in tiny confetti-rounds, fall leafs, or pumpkin shapes.
Candy Theme Toppings
Maple-leaf shaped, syrup candies add autumn adornments to any glazed or frosted cake. Add a light sprinkling of chopped pecans, and/or round cinnamon Red-Hot candies to complete your festive autumn cake.
For a child’s special fall occasion (or Halloween) liven-up a single layer chocolate-frosted cake with small pumpkin-shaped candies, covering the entire top. Or try tossing a handful of candy-corns over a black licorice, frosted cake-top.
To create an edible Thanksgiving cornucopia, fill up a pointed waffle (ice-cream) cone, with a mixture of candied fruits and shelled nuts. Gently pour out some of the fruits and nuts over the top of a glazed or frosted pumpkin-spice cake, and anchor the mouth of the ice-cream cone partially into the cake top.
Your cornucopia top-piece (ice-cream cone), surrounded by edible fruits and nuts, can also be partially spilling down the sides of your holiday cake. The only problem will be keeping your kids from swiping the ice-cream cone and other candies off your cakes, when no one is looking.