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Make-Ahead Holiday Cake Recipe
Make-Ahead Holiday Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Make-Ahead Holiday Cake Recipe

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Julia Kinard of Dallastown, Pennsylvania recommends this impressive make-ahead dessert to please a crowd. "For my granddaughter's birthday, my daughter placed slivered almonds artfully to decorate this cake as a bear instead. It was a big hit," she reports.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. + freezing Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES:16-20 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. + freezing Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES: 16-20 servings


  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup chocolate syrup
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 1 package white cake mix (regular size)
  • 1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • Additional chocolate syrup
  • Mint leaves and red candied cherries


  1. Line a 13-in. x 9-in. pan with foil; set aside. In a large bowl, combine milk and chocolate syrup; fold in whipped cream. Pour into prepared pan; cover and freeze for 6 hours.
  2. Prepare and bake cake according to package directions, using a greased and floured 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Cool for 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Transfer to a serving platter.
  3. Remove cream mixture from the freezer; carefully invert onto cake and remove foil. Spread whipped topping over top and sides. Return to the freezer for 2 hours.
  4. May be frozen for up to 2 months. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before cutting.
  5. Just before serving, drizzle with additional chocolate syrup; garnish with mint and cherries. Yield: 16-20 servings.
Originally published as Make-Ahead Holiday Cake in Quick Cooking November/December 1999, p52

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Reviewed Dec. 23, 2013

"If it were possible I would give five stars for taste and no stars for assembling the cake. The frozen layer that goes on top of the cake did not freeze, I'm sure because of the sugar content. Perhaps if you have a deep freeze that is set below 0 it might work but I only had my refrigerator freezer to work with. I managed to spread the semi solid layer onto the cake but trying to add the whipped cream over the top resulted in an unappetizing mess. Fortunately I made it for close family and they had a good laugh then ate the whole thing."

Reviewed Aug. 18, 2009

"Re: Make-ahead holiday cake. It has been a favorite for years.Very easy to make."

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