Southern Living
Prep Time
45 Mins
Bake Time
20 Mins
Stand Time
15 Mins
Makes 1 (8-inch) cake

This is a fun cake for the whole family—perfect not only for the holidays, but for year-round celebrations. It's an impressively moist three-layered white cake with a fine crumb texture.

How to Make It

Step 1

Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well.

Step 2

Combine 2/3 cup water and milk. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to sugar mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts.

Step 3

Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Pour into 3 greased and floured 8-inch square baking pans.

Step 4

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Step 5

Reserve 2 cups Powdered Sugar Frosting.

Step 6

Spread 1/2 cup frosting into an 8-inch square on cake plate.

Step 7

Spread remaining frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.

Step 8

Unroll fruit rolls (do not remove paper backing), and brush with water. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar; let stand 15 minutes.

Step 9

Cut four (12-inch-long) strips from fruit rolls. Remove paper backing, and arrange on top and sides of cake, pressing gently into frosting, to resemble a ribbon.

Step 10

Spoon 1/2 cup reserved frosting onto center of cake, forming a 3-inch mound.

Step 11

Cut remaining fruit rolls into 4-inch pieces; remove paper backing. Fold each piece in half, resembling the loop of a bow; press cut ends into frosting mound, creating a large bow on top of cake. Place 2 gingerbread men cookies on each side of cake.

Step 12

Spoon 1 1/2 cups reserved frosting into a decorating bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe a border around bottom edge of cake.

Step 13

Note: You can also make this cake with 2 (25-oz.) packages white cake mix and 4 (16-oz.) containers ready-to-spread frosting. Make the gingerbread men using your favorite recipe or a gingerbread mix, or buy the cookies from your local bakery.

Also appeared in: Southern Living, October, 2007,Home for the Holidays

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Ratings & Reviews

dianelizabeth's Review

December 24, 2013
This is truly a 5 star cake! Perfect for my 2 Christmas babies (not babies anymore). The icing is phenomenal and plentiful. I added less powdered sugar, just stopped adding when it reached the desired consistency. Plus, I added 1/8 teaspoon of pure almond extract. I made my own gingerbread men at the family cookie decorating party Sunday. All in a win win cake. Check out the chocolate éclair cake and homemade cinnamon rolls. Your family will look at you in awe!

LisaHeffner's Review

May 21, 2013

susan4palmer's Review

April 23, 2013

Dianeestelle's Review

December 10, 2012
I've made this cake a couple of times and it is absolutely eye-catching. the cake is moist, the frosting good. It took a little effort to make those bows but it was worth it. The cake looked just like the picture, and people were very impressed. Not a crumb left.