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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Originally published as Drummer Boy Cake in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2002, p41
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