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.
Southern Living DECEMBER 2003
Cut 1 (12- x 1-inch) strip and 1 (12- x 1/2-inch) strip from a piece of cardboard or poster board.
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.
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.
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.
Arrange the cut pieces on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 425º for 5 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
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.
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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