Holiday Gift Box Cake

To create our festive Holiday Gift Box Cake, we used a ruler to make a set of cardboard templates and then cut decorative strips from 1 (15-ounce) package of refrigerated piecrusts. Three (9-inch) square layers of Chocolate Velvet Cake With Cream Cheese-Butter Pecan Frosting form the base of the box. After frosting the cake, follow these easy steps, and you'll end up with one delicious centerpiece for your holiday table.

Yield: Makes 1 cake
Recipe from Southern Living

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Ingredients

  • 1 piece of cardboard or poster board
  • 1 (15-ounce) package of refrigerated piecrusts
  • Powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans, divided
  • 6 tablespoons white sparkling sugar, divided
  • Plastic drinking straw
  • 1/2 recipe Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
  • Gold and silver wire-edged ribbon (optional)
  • Fresh mint (optional)
  • Red candy-coated chocolate pieces (optional)

Preparation

  1. Cut 1 (12- x 1-inch) strip and 1 (12- x 1/2-inch) strip from a piece of cardboard or poster board.
  2. Unfold 1 piecrust on a lightly floured surface; gently roll to press out fold lines. Cut piecrust in half; reserve and set aside one half. Using the 12- x 1/2-inch cardboard template as a guide, begin at the straight edge of one piecrust half; and cut 8 (1/2-inch wide) strips. Cut each of the 8 strips into as many 3-inch-long pieces as possible. You will need a total of 20 (3- x 1/2-inch) pieces. Gather together any remaining scraps, and set aside.
  3. Arrange cut pieces on a baking sheet. Bake at 425º for 4 minutes or until golden. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Dip the top side of each warm pastry piece in powdered sugar. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. Unfold the second piecrust on a lightly floured surface; gently roll to press out fold lines. Whisk together 1 large egg and 2 tablespoons water. Brush egg mixture lightly over piecrust. Sprinkle piecrust evenly with 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans and 2 tablespoons white sparkling sugar. Using the 12- x 1-inch cardboard template, cut the piecrust into 1-inch wide strips. Repeat the procedure with the reserved piecrust half, sprinkling with 1/4 cup nuts and 1 tablespoon sparkling sugar. Cut 4 of the strips into 9 1/2- x 1-inch pieces. Cut the remaining strips into as many 3-inch-long pieces as possible. You will need a total of 20 (3- x 1-inch) pieces.
  5. Arrange the cut pieces on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 425º for 5 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
  6. To make gift tags, roll the reserved scraps of piecrust to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using a 2 1/2- to 3-inch cookie cutter, cut decorative shapes from the piecrust. Press the end of a plastic drinking straw into each tag, creating a round opening. Brush lightly with the egg mixture, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425º for 5 minutes or until golden.
  7. Prepare a half recipe of Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. Carefully spread a small amount of frosting on the back of each pastry piece. Gently press 1 (9 1/2-inch-long) pastry piece horizontally on each side of the cake to form the rim of the box's lid. Gently press 3-inch pastry pieces, alternating pecan and powdered sugar pieces, on each side of the cake in a vertical pattern. Sprinkle the top of the cake with 1/2 cup finely chopped, toasted pecans and 2 tablespoons white sparkling sugar. If desired, use remaining frosting to add a decorative design to the gift tag or to pipe a narrow border around the bottom of the cake. Garnish the top with gold and silver wire-edged ribbon; fresh mint, and red candy-coated chocolate pieces.
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