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Drummer Boy Cake

 Drummer Boy Cake
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.
12-15 ServingsPrep: 50 min. + chilling Bake: 30 min. + cooling


  • 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 McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Orange Extract
  • 4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Yellow and red liquid food coloring

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Drummer Boy Cake (continued)

Ingredients (continued)

  • 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.