Be Inspired: Holiday Desserts

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Below, Florida food blogger and stylist Faith Gorsky shares two of her favorite holiday desserts. Get ready to be inspired to use traditional yuletide ingredients in new and unexpected ways. Trust us: Your tastebuds (and holiday guests!) will be impressed!

Cranberry Cake

This soft and fluffy vanilla butter cake (pictured above, photo courtesy of Faith Gorsky) pairs perfectly with layers of vanilla buttercream and cranberry sauce, resulting in a beautiful and festive addition to your menu. Add sugared cranberries and fresh rosemary to the top for a touch of holiday magic. 

serves 16

 

Cake:

1/2 cup avocado oil or vegetable oil

1/2 cup butter, softened but not fully melted

2 cups of sugar

3/4 cup of egg whites

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

1 1/2 cups of milk

3 cups of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

Buttercream:

15 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon of butter extract

1/8 teaspoon of salt

3 3/4 cups of powdered sugar

4 tablespoons of milk, plus more as needed

Other:

Butter, to grease the pans

Flour, to flour the pans

1 cup + 2 tablespoons of cranberry sauce

Sugared cranberries, for garnish (optional)

Fresh rosemary, for garnish (optional)

 

For the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Add a piece of trimmed parchment paper to the bottom of each pan.

Beat together the oil, softened butter, sugar, egg whites, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a large bowl. Stir in the milk. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. 

Pour the batter into the two prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 35 minutes.

Run a paring knife along the outside of each cake to loosen them from the pans. Turn the cakes over on wire racks, let them cool for about 5 minutes, and then peel off the parchment paper.

Cool each cake completely. Use a serrated knife to carefully slice each cake in half horizontally, so you end up with four cake layers total. 

For the Buttercream:

While the cake is baking, beat together the butter, vanilla extract, butter extract, and salt in a large bowl. Add in the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Slowly drizzle the milk in until it reaches a buttercream consistency. 

To Assemble the Cake:

Place one cake round on a cake plate. Spread on a layer of buttercream. Top with 6 tablespoons of cranberry sauce and evenly spread it out on the buttercream. Repeat this process two more times. 

Place the final cake round on top. Frost the top and sides with buttercream. Garnish with sugared cranberries and fresh rosemary.

 

White Chocolate Peppermint Mousse

Candy canes are a quintessential holiday treat, and this easy, elegant mousse really lets their classic peppermint flavor shine. The best thing about this recipe? It comes together in less than 30 minutes, making it the perfect option to whip up at the last minute.

serves 5

 

1 ounce of heavy whipping cream, divided

6 ounces of good quality white chocolate, chopped

1/4 teaspoons of pure peppermint extract

1 tablespoon of crushed peppermint candy, for topping

 

Heat 1/2 cup of cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat until steaming.

Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate without stirring. Let sit for 2 minutes and then gently stir until the chocolate is fully melted. Add the peppermint extract. Pour the mixture into a bowl.

Cool completely in the freezer for about 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Once cooled, whisk the mixture until it begins to thicken.

In a large bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 cup of cream into stiff peaks.

Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture, a third at a time. Spoon the mousse into six small glasses. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Sprinkle the crushed candy on top and serve chilled.

More Holiday Desserts

Don’t miss the Pumpkin Pie Dip that we shared in September! This no-bake dip is another easy addition to include to your holiday spread.

Plus, check out the Fall 2021 issue of Edible Orlando for more sweet and unexpected holiday desserts.

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