This Santa Hat Cake is festive and requires no special skills! So easy and fun.
Lucy is two, which means that she only sorta kinda understands about Santa Claus. It’s that weird age where I can talk about what presents I’m planning to buy in front of her and she’s fairly oblivious, but I can’t even think about letting her tag along to Christmas shop. She knows very well what toys she wants and will not forget that you just stuck them in the cart.
My ten year old, Jon David, no longer believes in Santa. After about a year of watching him agonize over it (it doesn’t make SENSE! It’s not LOGICAL!! Please tell me if I’m living a lie — don’t let me look like a fool!!) I finally just told him. For the love, as much as I loved playing Santa, he was making the charade way too tiresome on my nerves.
So, we are kind of in this weird in-between year where Santa is kind of a thing and kinda not. Not to mean that Lucy isn’t completely obsessed with him — she is convinced he is bringing her a bike (a bike?? Santa did all his shopping already and a bike was NOT on his radar) and runs around bellowing “HO HO HO” half the day. When I took her to meet him at the mall, she totally fangirled, just standing there with her mouth hanging open in awe. We prompted her to say hello and she just sat there, starstruck, only managing a frantic, “GOODBYE!!” as we walked away. But will she connect the dots when she wakes up on Christmas morning? Probably not.
She totally recognized this cake as a Santa hat after it was completed, which made me so happy! Then she screamed for a piece, chanting, “CAKE! SPOON! CAKE! SPOON!” and I was all, “not yet, mommy needs to take pictures” which, translated to her, meant that I was basically the Devil. It was a fun afternoon.
This is SUCH a simple, festive cake. I’ve been hanging onto this Barbie dress cake pan since my cake decorating days, and it finally occurred to me that it would make the perfect Santa Hat cake! I love that you don’t need any special skills to make the cake — just the pan and some frosting. I did pipe the hat trim with a piping bag, but you could just as easily line the bottom of the cake with mini marshmallows. Easy, peasy.
This is what your cake will look like right out of the pan. You may need to trim a bit of cake off the bottom so it will sit level. I just used white cake mix here, but feel free to use any recipe you like!
Frost your cake. With a cake this shape, it’s hard to get the frosting perfectly smooth, so I dragged an offset spatula around it in strokes to give it that textured look. My motto when it comes to frosting cakes is, I’d rather have a cake that looks like it was frosted messy on purpose, than one that looks like I tried to get it perfectly smooth and failed.
You might notice that the top of this cake is pointier than it was right out of the pan. I just put some frosting in a resealable sandwich bag with a corner snipped off, and piped a point on top of the cake. I then very gently took my spatula around it to blend it with the rest of the cake.
I stuck a marshmallow on a straw and inserted it into the center of the cake. Make sure to measure your straw against the cake first — if it’s too long, trim the straw so that it’s not taller than the cake.
I then piped white frosting in a zigzag pattern along the bottom. Again, feel free to use mini marshmallows if piping isn’t your thing!
Here’s the recipe for my buttercream frosting:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, slightly softened
- 4 Tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Red food coloring
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, milk, and vanilla on medium low speed until smooth and combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add powdered sugar, beating until just combined. Increase speed to high and beat for one minute. Reserve just a bit of white frosting if needed for "hat trim". Add desired amount of red to the rest of the frosting.
Enjoy and have a happy Monday!