One of my absolute favorite Christmas traditions is putting up Christmas lights! Whether it's on the tree or in different rooms, I love pulling out the strands, checking the bulbs, and stringing them into place. The best part is when you plug them in and see them shine brightly for the first time. That's where I got the inspiration to create the tutorial for these Christmas Light Cakes!
These Christmas Light Cakes are so fun and festive looking. Plus, they're pretty simple to make. You just need a 13x9 cake, buttercream, a little bit of food coloring, and your favorite sprinkles. You won't believe how sparkly they look once you add the colorful sprinkles!
Let's talk cake! I recommend using a cake that is somewhat sturdy and won't completely crumble when cut. Once baked and completely cooled, you'll need to carefully cut off the top to even it out. I used a cutting board and cooling rack to flip the cake over so I could cut off the darkened base of it too, but this part is optional.
I recommend using sugar sprinkles for these cakes since they are the shiniest option. You can use fine sugar or larger sugar sprinkles. If you don't have any sugar sprinkles on hand, you can also use nonpareils or jimmies too, but it might be a little trickier to make sure you can't see the buttercream underneath them.
To get started, download and print the template on cardstock. If you don't have cardstock, regular paper should work okay, but cardstock is ideal to help you make clean cuts.
Place a cooling rack on top of your cake while it is still in its pan and carefully flip it over and out of the pan. If you want to trim the base off, do so now before placing the cutting board on top and carefully flipping the cake back upright. Gently trim the top of the cake so that it is level. Make sure whenever you flip the cake that you put a cooling rack or cutting board on top, press down, and swiftly flip it over in one motion so as not to break it.
Next, place the template vertically on the left side of the cake. Use a sharp knife to gently cut out three Christmas lights in a row. If for any reason your cake does come apart as you cut it, you can use some buttercream and a little bit of time in the freezer to help glue it back together. And you can save the excess cake for snacking!
You'll want to use an offset spatula or knife to carefully cover the tops and sides of all three cakes. You don't need to worry about it looking super neat since it will be covered in sprinkles. If too many crumbs come up as you frost, pop the cakes in the fridge to chill before adding another thin layer of frosting after you pull them back out since the sprinkles won't stick as well to the chilled frosting.
Place the cake in the middle of a cookie sheet and carefully press sugar sprinkles into the sides of the cake, except for the base of the lightbulb. Spoon sugar sprinkles on the top of the cake as well. You'll want to keep the base of the lightbulb sprinkle free since you'll need more buttercream to stick to it.
Take the remaining buttercream and mix in some gray food coloring before spooning it into a pastry bag fitted with a small round piping tip or a plastic baggie with a corner cut off.
Pipe a layer of frosting at the base of each lightbulb and use an offset spatula or knife to smooth it out. Now you're ready to dig in to your delicious and brightly colored Christmas Light Cakes!