How to Make Merry Cakes

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Oh what fun it is to make merry little cakes…. ♬♪♫


Today I started with basic cakes from the bakery and some simple essentials.


First step, sugar the cranberries. (I do the entire sugaring process over the sink. When I’m done, I can simply rinse the colander and the sink all clean). Place cranberries in a colander and rinse. Next, pour apple juice all over the cranberries.


Toss the berries around to coat each one, by shaking the colander, while getting rid of all the excess juice at the same time. Pour about 1/2 cup granulated sugar over the berries, shaking and tossing the colander to coat the berries in the sugar. (I use about 1/2 cup sugar for one bag of fresh cranberries. You can add more or less, depending on how frosty you’d like your berries to look). Once the berries are all coated, transfer them to a parchment paper-lined tray. Place in the refrigerator and let sit for at least an hour or overnight. (This allows the sugar to really stick to the berries quite nicely. If you’re in a hurry, you can use them right away, you’ll just need to be a little more careful that you don’t smudge the sugar off while handling).


Now it’s time to start festooning your cakes. Thyme makes a simple and beautiful wreath. Place little sprigs around until the wreath is just your style.


If you want to add a little color, a few sugared cranberries here and there are just the ticket. (You might need to gently press the berries into the frosting to make sure they stay in place).


And here’s the cupcake version. Sweet and simple.


How about a holly inspired cake? Some mint leaves and cranberries are just right. Place the little arrangements symmetrically around the cake.


Or just one for a cupcake.


And rosemary makes for the best tree branches. How about a Christmas tree? ♫ O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree! Thy leaves are so unchanging… ♪ ♬


And a rosemary cupcake version. A winter flower. (You could also flip the tiny rosemary sprig around to look like a tree, with a little cranberry at the top).


For a beautiful cake that really makes a statement, mound lots of cranberries on top.

layer cake

We did this for our Christmas shoot and it was so lovely, sitting there on the buffet.

20121217_cl_thompson _5030

You can even bedazzle a cupcake the same way. (Pretty, yes! But indestructible? No. These are more of a pretty display-way to decorate a cake. Some of the berries will fall off when cutting and eating).


Even just one little berry is as sweet as can be. If there were a sugarplum cupcake, this would be it!



Cranberries are pretty sour. If you love sweet and sour things, you’ll probably enjoy these sugared berries. But most of all, they’re just meant to look darn cute.


Cakes and cupcakes from Sweet Frostings Blissful Bakeshop in Spokane. The icing technique on the layer cake is called “Grandma Icing”. Isn’t that the best?!

Cranberries and herbs can be found at most supermarkets during the winter season.

Wooden cake stand: Herriot Grace.

Red and white cloth: Ikea

Red cloth: Pottery Barn

For information on items shown in the dining room, see the sources section in this post.



Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there, Username: thefarmchicks



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  2. By Joanna Sigman


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