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Festive Holly Cake

 Festive Holly Cake
I learned the brush embroidery technique at a beginner cake-decorating class. Visual appeal is always nice, but what's extra special about this cake is that it tastes as good as it looks.
10-12 ServingsPrep: 45 min. Bake: 35 min. + cooling


  • 1 package white cake mix (regular size)
  • 1-1/3 cups water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon clear McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Almond Extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package (2 pounds) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 2 cups shortening
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon clear McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Almond Extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon clear butter flavoring
  • 7-3/4 teaspoons water, divided
  • 2/3 cup raspberry cake and pastry filling
  • 1/4 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • Leaf green, forest green and red paste food coloring

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Festive Holly Cake (continued)


  • In a large bowl, combine the first 10 ingredients; beat on low speed
  • for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into two greased
  • and floured 9-in. round baking pans.
  • Bake at 325° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near
  • the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from
  • pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • For frosting, in a large bowl, combine confectioners' sugar and
  • meringue powder. In a large bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer,
  • combine the shortening, milk, extracts and flavoring. Beat in sugar
  • mixture (mixture will be stiff).
  • Using a serrated knife, level tops of cakes if necessary. Place one
  • cake layer on a serving plate. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup
  • frosting and 2 teaspoons water; spread over cake. Spread with
  • raspberry filling. Top with remaining cake layer.
  • In a small bowl, combine 2 cups frosting and 4 teaspoons water; frost
  • cake top and sides.
  • For shell border: In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup frosting and 1/2
  • teaspoon water. Using shell tip #21, pipe shell border along bottom
  • edge of cake.
  • For holly leaves: Combine 1/2 cup frosting, corn syrup and 1/2
  • teaspoon water; tint desired color of green with leaf and forest
  • green food coloring. Gently press a 1-1/2-in. holly leaf cookie
  • cutter into frosting. Using round tip #2 with green frosting and
  • working one leaf at a time, outline leaf indentation. Using a
  • dampened clean paintbrush, immediately brush leaf outlines toward
  • center. Moisten brush as needed. Repeat.
  • For pine branches: Combine 1/4 cup frosting and 1/4 teaspoon water;
  • tint forest green. Using round tip #2, pipe branches.
  • For holly berries and trim: Combine 1/2 cup frosting and 1/2 teaspoon
  • water; tint red. Using round tip #2, pipe holly berries. Add a red
  • scalloped line above shell border; pipe dots of green frosting if
  • desired. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 10-12 servings.
Editor's Note: Meringue powder is available from Wilton Industries. Call 1-800/794-5866 or visit This recipe was tested with Solo brand cake and pastry filling. Look for it in the baking aisle.