Drummer Boy Cake Recipe
Drummer Boy Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Drummer Boy Cake Recipe

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Looking for an impressive finale to your holiday dinner? This spectacular dessert, drummed up by our Test Kitchen, features a sweet-tart cranberry topping paired with a tangy orange cake and filling.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 50 min. + chilling Bake: 30 min. + cooling
MAKES:12-15 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 50 min. + chilling Bake: 30 min. + cooling
MAKES: 12-15 servings


  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup red currant jelly
  • 1 medium navel orange, unpeeled and quartered
  • 1 package yellow cake mix (regular size)
  • 1-1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • Yellow liquid food coloring
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Yellow and red liquid food coloring
  • 28 fresh or frozen cranberries


  1. For topping, sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a microwave-safe bowl; let stand for 1 minute. Microwave on high for 40 seconds; stir. Let stand for 1 minute or until gelatin is completely dissolved; set aside. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, cook cranberries and sugar, uncovered, for 7 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly. Stir in jelly and gelatin mixture. Cover and chill for 5 hours or overnight.
  2. For cake, process orange in a blender or food processor until finely chopped; set aside. In a bowl, beat cake mix, 1 cup water, oil and eggs on low speed until moistened. Add 1/3 cup chopped orange; beat for 2 minutes on medium. Set remaining orange aside for filling. Pour batter into two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 28-31 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks.
  3. For filling, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and remaining water in a saucepan until smooth. Add butter and 1/3 cup chopped orange (discard any remaining orange or save for another use). Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in a few drops yellow food coloring; cool.
  4. Split each cooled cake into two horizontal layers. Place bottom layer on serving plate; spread with a third of the filling. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread the cranberry topping over top to within 1/2 in. of edges.
  5. In a bowl, cream shortening and extracts. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, alternately with milk, beating until frosting is light and fluffy. Using 2/3 cup of frosting, frost cake sides. Tint remaining frosting gold with yellow and red food coloring. Cut a hole in a pastry or plastic bag; insert round tip #8. Fill with gold frosting. Pipe connecting diagonally stripes around side of cake; add cranberries at end point. With star tip #21, pipe a shell border around top and bottom of cake. Yield: 12-15 servings.
Editor's Note: Use of a coupler ring will allow you to easily change pastry tips for different designs.
Originally published as Drummer Boy Cake in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2002, p41

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bgw1954 User ID: 4789788 205300
Reviewed Jul. 19, 2012

"I made this and it is not only beautiful to look at but it tastes so good too! It is just one of those recipes that takes time to make."

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