Once upon a time—well, really, just a few months ago during our weekly staff meeting—I had a vision for a blingy New Year's Eve layer cake. My goal was to create a bedazzled masterpiece that was fairly simple to prep and bake (as far as layer cakes go), but would surely steal the show as the jaw-dropping centerpiece at any NYE party. In my opinion, you really only need dessert and booze at a New Year's Eve get-together... when a party starts after 9 PM, there's no reason to stress yourself out and prepare a huge spread of appetizers and snacks. Trust me, people are so over finger food by the time December 31 rolls around.
My dream entailed 3 layers of flawlessly-moist white cake elegantly smeared with heavenly vanilla buttercream and covered in glitter. And here's how I made that happen:
I started by developing this go-to recipe for a basic Naked Cake. Take a look at this bare beauty.
There's something so aesthetically satisfying about the simple, graceful 'naked' cake, and I knew that's where I wanted to start for this 2016-is-finally-over celebration dessert. For those that don't know, naked just refers to a decorating technique that calls for spreading the frosting thin enough to leave the layers exposed. If you're familiar with cake decorating, this means you just leave the cake at the crumb coat instead of adding a second layer of frosting. This look has grown to uber-popularity status this year.
The batter for the recipe above calls for all-purpose flour (instead of cake flour) and a handful of other pantry staple ingredients, so you probably have everything you need on hand right now to whip it up.That said, to make things even easier, you can buy boxes of store-bought cake mix, and you'll have your beautiful layers baking in no time.The trickiest part of the from-scratch batter, if you decide to go the homemade route, is separating the egg yolks and whites. No need to be nervous about it, though. Here is a quick review of how to easily separate like a pro.
After baking the layers and allowing them to cool completely, I made this delicious Vanilla Buttercream and got to assembling the cake. Here's how to frost a basic naked cake in 5 simple steps:
- Place a dollop of frosting in the center of a cake stand or serving plate (to keep the cake from sliding) and place 1 cake layer on top of frosting.
- Spoon about 1 cup of frosting directly on top of first layer; using an offset spatula, spread the frosting evenly over the top and just past the edges of the first layer.
- Place the second cake layer upside-down directly on top of the first layer; repeat frosting process.
- Place the third cake layer on top of the second layer. Spoon about 1 1/2 cups of frosting directly on top of third layer, and lightly frost the entire cake, starting with the top and moving down the sides, leaving the layers largely exposed.
- Place the assembled cake back in the freezer for 20 minutes to allow the icing to set.
Now comes the fun part. I found these awesome glittery-gold 2017 cake toppers in the bakery section of my local arts and crafts store for about $8; if you have time to wait for them to ship, you can purchase the similar ones online here. Additionally, I purchased a variety of metallic glittery sprinkles and other non-edible gold cake décor for inspiration. Though I experimented with lots of sprinkles, I ultimately landed on this gold rhinestone wrap, because I felt like it lended itself to the bold blinged-out look I was going for more than the light shimmer of gold sprinkles.
I'm not going to give specific instructions on how to decorate your sparkly layered dessert because half the fun of this project is using what you can find and letting your imagination run wild. You can coat the entire cake or just the sides with edible gold glitter or spray paint, or you can wrap the entire three layers in the rhinestone wrap if that's your style (just keep in mind that the rhinestones in the image above aren't edible, so you'll need to remove them before slicing your layers). Go over the top by mixing and matching different tones and sizes of sparkle all over the cake. Of course, your cake's golden glory becomes even more rave-worthy when placed on an elevated cake stand and set out for everyone to gawk over. May 2017 be your sparkliest, brightest, and most golden year of life (yet). Cheers!