2018 Holiday Gift Guide – Fantastical Cakes – With White Party Cake Recipe

by Valerie Gray, From Val's Kitchen

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2018 Holiday Gift Guide – Fantastical Cakes – With White Party Cake Recipe

2018 Holiday Gift Guide - Fantastical Cakes - With White Party Cake Recipe

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Baking can be intimidating, can’t it? We worry not only about how dessert will taste, but also how it will look, more than other courses. Fantastical Cakes breaks each gorgeous creation down into steps enabling you to feel more comfortable about baking and creating beautiful cakes right in your own home. This cookbook would be a great holiday gift for anyone that enjoys baking as well as people that want to learn more about baking or just enjoy entertaining.

Fantastical Cakes

  • Author: Gesine Bullock-Prado
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press Adult (November 6, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780762463435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762463435
  • ASIN: 0762463430
  • Purchase on Amazon

Learn to make doable, incredible celebration cakes that taste as good as they look!

Baking and decorating a cake can be a challenge, and when the end result doesn’t taste as good as it looks, a big disappointment! Author and professional baker Gesine Bullock-Prado has perfected a method for creating eye-catching spectacular cakes that measure up. Just remember BaDASS:

· Bake ahead

· Dam

· Assemble

· Smooth coat

· Spruce it up

Her step-by-step instruction for baking, piping, and making decorations make each bit manageable, whether it’s baking layers ahead of time and freezing, or taking the time to crank out a slew of gorgeous frosting flowers that hold beautifully in the freezer until you need them. No step is skipped or left unexplained. The layers are as easy as box mixes, and the smoothing and decorating instructions work the first time (not a thousand passes later). From custom shapes to complement a party theme to ultra-gorgeous towering layer cakes for special occasions, it’s all within reach.

Gesine Bullock-Prado is the owner/instructor of Sugar Glider Kitchen, a baking school in Hartford, Vermont. She lives in a small farm with her husband, two dogs, two cats, chickens, and water fowl. She bakes and cooks from the bounty of her property. She is the author of Bake It Like You Mean It , Let Them Eat Cake, My Life from Scratch, Sugar Baby, and Pie it Forward and has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, People Magazine, Us Magazine, Yankee Magazine, and In Style Magazine. She appears regularly on the Today Show and The Talk, and she’s the host of Food Network’s Baked in Vermont. She lives in Hartford, Vermont.

You can learn more about these titles and others on the Running Press website. You can also keep up with Running Press on social media, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Here’s a recipe from the cookbook, excerpted with permission of the publisher.

2018 Holiday Gift Guide - Fantastical Cakes - With White Party Cake Recipe

Photo credit for the White Party Cake from FANTASTICAL CAKES: Julia A. Reed

Reprinted with permission from FANTASTICAL CAKES © 2018, by Gesine Bullock-Prado, Running Press


When I think of the perfect slice of cake, inevitably it’s a snowy white cake that comes to mind. It has a tight and tender crumb structure that pairs perfectly with everything from citrus to berry to chocolate. And since the cake is so pearly, almost all your filling options will create a lovely visual contrast; each slice will look like a work of art. To kick up the fun meter a notch, I add rainbow jimmies to the batter to make the party official.



  • Unsalted butter or baker’s nonstick spray for pans
  • 2 3/4 cups/326 g unbleached cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups/333 g granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup/1 1/2 sticks/170 g unsalted butter, very soft
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup/227 ml whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup/40 g rainbow jimmies (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter or spray the bottom of two 8-inch/20.5 cm uncoated round cake pans and line with parchment or 1 half sheet pan or line a half sheet pan with parchment and spray the paper (half sheet cake is for the “Birthday Suit” cake, see bottom). Set aside.

Whisk the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter in pieces and mix on low speed until the mixture resembles damp sand.

Add the egg whites, one at a time, then the whole egg, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beating for 30 seconds between each addition.

Add the milk and vanilla in 3 additions, mixing for 1 minute after each addition, until fluffy. Fold in the jimmies. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared 8-inch/20.5 cm pans or spread the batter onto the prepared half sheet pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cake just springs back.

Option: My all-time favorite naked cake is made with confetti layers, where you can see that the fun is baked right in the batter from the outside.



1 recipe White Party Cake, made with the rainbow jimmies, baked in a half sheet pan and completely cooled, then cut into four 6-inch/15 cm rounds

1 recipe Swiss Buttercream (RECIPE FOLLOWS), made with 1 teaspoon lemon extract

Place a cardboard round at the bottom of a 6-inch/10 cm cake ring (or a homemade cake ring made from a Crisco container). Place a layer of cake on the cardboard round inside the ring. Reserving 1 cup/235 ml of the buttercream for flower décor to finish, fit a pastry bag with a medium-small plain round tip (Ateco 803), fill with the buttercream, and pipe a layer of buttercream onto the cake so that it reaches all the way to the edge of the cake and touches the ring. Top with a second cake layer and move up the ring to contain the second layer of buttercream. Continue to fill and top until you reach the fourth and last layer of cake. Place it on top of the buttercream and smoothly pipe the top of the cake with buttercream. Transfer to the freezer to set, 20 to 30 minutes. Then, gently heat the sides of the ring and slip it up off the sides of the cake.




  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons/233 g granulated sugar
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon extract of choice (don’t use oil-based extract)
  • 1 pound/453 g unsalted butter, at room temperature


Place the egg whites, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk together and place over a pot of simmering water to make a double boiler. Whisk constantly until the sugar has completely melted and the mixture is hot to the touch and reaches 170°F/77°C on a candy thermometer.

Immediately transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until the meringue holds stiff peaks and the bowl is cool to the touch. Do not add any butter until the bowl is cool. Repeat after me. No. Butter. Until. The. Bowl. Is. Cool. At this stage, you can add the extract.

Add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time. Wait about 10 seconds between each addition. This kind of patience is important, especially as you get close to the last few tablespoons of the third stick of butter. The mixture may look as if it’s starting to curdle a bit toward the end. This is fine.

It’s not ruined. I call this stage the “puberty” of buttercream. Just let it ride and add a few more tablespoons of butter and leave it alone, just as you would a preteen. The buttercream will smooth out, thicken, and become spreadable. If after you add the last bit of the third stick of butter the buttercream doesn’t come together after a minute of mixing, slowly start adding a tablespoon of butter at a time from the last stick of butter. But remember: be patient between each addition and it will come together. Once the buttercream has thickened and smoothed, continue whisking it on high for about two to three more minutes for optimal texture.

It’s best to use buttercream immediately. Once refrigerated, it will set. You can get it spreadable again by putting in a mixer and whisking it, but getting it to the right consistency takes longer than it does to make a batch from the very beginning. On the other hand, if you make too much, you can freeze buttercream in a resealable plastic bag, thaw it in the fridge, and then whisk it (takes forever), but it does work when you have extra. But when it comes to making something ahead for the sake of making something ahead, buttercream isn’t the best choice.


Tart Cherry Swiss Meringue: Add 1/4 cup/60 ml concentrated tart cherry juice to the meringue prior to adding the butter. I use Cherry Bay Orchards’ 100% Tart Montmorency Tart Cherry Concentrate.

Swiss Meringue Topping: Whip the meringue to stiff peaks and forget the butter! Once the bowl is cool, you can frost your cake.

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1 comment

pat. December 10, 2018 - 2:00 pm

The confetti against the white–decoration wow,


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