My sister was born on the Day of the Three Kings, the Feast of the Epiphany, or the Twelfth Day of Christmas also referred to as the Twelfth Night, not that any of that really mattered when it came to this year’s birthday cake. It has been a long running family joke that the shortest member of the family automatically earns the honorary position of Resident Garden Gnome – because owning an actual garden gnome is just slightly creepy. Of course, with my brother hovering at a whopping 6’4″, the position has traditionally bounced between my sister and I. Over the past few years it has become clear that my sister will be holding the title from here on out, and her birthday cake this year is a celebration of that.
Nutzy (my sister) also has the misfortune of only liking funfetti cake with boring vanilla icing. I had to liven the cake up some how… so gnomes…
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter (room temp)
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 1/2 tsp Lemon Zest
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Almond Extract
- 1 1/4 cup Flour
- 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- Cream together the butter and sugar.
- Add in the egg, lemon zest, and extracts.
- Gradually shift in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Mix until all of the ingredients are fully combined.
- Place the cookie dough in refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out until it is about 1/4″ thick.
- Cut out the gnomes and a few mushrooms with gnome and mushroom shaped cookie cutters.
- Place the cookies on parchment lined cookie sheets.
- Bake the cookies for about 8 minutes, or until they are no longer appear shiny. You want them to be puffy, white, and soft to touch. This is a very caky cookie. They will harden as they cool.
- Let the cookies cool completely before you frost them.
Cookie Glaze and Decorating
- 2 cups Confectionary Sugar
- the Juice of 2 Lemons (you can use milk instead)
- Food Coloring
- Decorating Candies (chocolate chips, etc.)
- Stir the lemon juice and confectionary sugar together until well combined. Make sure that there are no lumps. You might have to add more of either ingredients to get the consistency just right.
- Divide up the glaze, and add the food coloring.
- Lay out your cookies on a sheet of wax paper.
- Using a pipping bag, pipe the glaze onto your cookies, adding the decorative candy and sprinkles as you go.
- Leave the cookies out for a couple of hours so that the glaze can dry.
- Set the remaining glaze in the piping bags aside. You will use some of it later to help apply the cookies to the cake.
- 2 cups Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Sugar + 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1/2 cup Canola Oil
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted Butter
- 4 Eggs
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- 1 cup Buttermilk
- 1/2 cup Heavy Cream (can use milk instead)
- 1/4 cup Rainbow Sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease two 9″ circular cake pans.
- Combine dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Beat the eggs until frothy.
- Add the canola oil and melted butter to the eggs, and continue to beat.
- Add in 1 cup sugar, and continue to beat.
- Add in the vanilla, buttermilk, lemon zest, and cream, and continue to beat.
- Gradually shift in the dry ingredients. Make sure all the ingredients are uniformly combined.
- Gently scoop the batter into the cake pans sprinkling in the rainbow sprinkles as you go. You want to incorporate the sprinkles evenly throughout the cake, but you do not want to stir them. If you stir them into a wet mixture you run the risk of muddling the colors.
- Bake the cakes for about 30 minutes.
- Allow the cakes to cool slightly.
- In a sauce pan combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Cook the syrup on medium heat until the sugar fully dissolves and the liquid cooks down a bit.
- Use a fork to poke holes into the cake.
- Slowly spoon the sugar syrup evenly over cake. You do not want your cakes to grow soggy, but you want them to remain moist.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) Butter (room temp)
- 4 cups Confectionary Sugar
- 2 tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 3-5 tbsp Milk
- Food Coloring
- Cream the butter.
- Gradually add the confectionary sugar. Make sure that there are no lumps.
- Add the vanilla and the salt.
- Slowly add the milk until the frosting is smooth.
- Add the food coloring.
Directions for Assembling the Cake
- Place your bottom layer of cake, facing downward, in the center of your serving plate.
- Spread 1/3 of the buttercream frosting onto the bottom layer of the cake.
- Place the top layer of the cake, right-side up, directly on top of the bottom layer.
- Frost the cake with the remaining buttercream frosting.
- Arrange the gnome and mushroom cookies around the cake using the leftover glaze to hold them in place.
- Add your decorative sprinkles, candies, and candles.