Make this sweet little angel cake for smiles all around this holiday

This half-made homemade recipe is one the kids will be clamouring to help with.

This half-made homemade recipe is one the kids will be clamouring to help with

(Photo credit: Zac Williams)

More often than not, our holiday baking falls into one of two camps: childhood faves like these sparkling spiced cookies that we return to each year without fail, or elaborate goodies like these intricately adorned hand pies that we know will make a splash on our sweets table. This adorable angel cake from Melissa Barlow’s new cookbook Easy Christmas Cut-Up Cakes is decidedly neither — but it borrows from the best of each for time-saving treat that’s sure to elicit a chorus of ooohs and awwws. The recipe pairs store-bought cake mix with from-scratch buttercream frosting, so you can focus on the fun part: the decorating! And with handy templates that show you how to get shape just right using standard pans, it’s easy enough that your kiddos can get in on the fun, too.

Sweet Angel

By Melissa Barlow



  • 1 (8-inch) round pan
  • 1 (8-inch) square pan


  • 1 (15.25 oz) box cake mix, any flavor
  • 1 recipe Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (recipe below) or 1 (16 oz) can white frosting, divided, ½ left white
  • About ½ cup pink or peach frosting
  • About ½ cup brown frosting
  • 1 tube red decorating icing or gel

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 3-4 tbsp water or milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch salt (optional)
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pans with nonstick cooking spray.

Make cake mix according to package directions. Divide batter evenly between each pan. Bake for 27–32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; remove from oven. Cool cake in pans for 10 minutes, and then invert and cool completely on a wire rack.

Cut the square cake according to the diagram. Place the cakes on a large serving platter or foil-wrapped board to create the angel and her wings.

Frost the angel’s body and wings smoothly with the white frosting. Frost the round cake smoothly with the pink or peach frosting.

Using a decorator’s bag with a round tip, give the angel curly hair by piping the brown frosting in swirls on top of her head; add the eyes and eyelashes. Use the red icing to pipe a mouth.

Place the remaining white frosting in a decorator’s bag with a star tip, and pipe a halo onto her head as shown in the photo and outline her body.

Variation: Add colourful sprinkles to the angel’s wings.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

Beat butter, water or milk, and vanilla together with an electric hand mixer until smooth. Add salt if using. Gradually beat in the sugar, 1 cup at a time. If the frosting is too thick, add more water or milk by the teaspoon until it reaches the right consistency. If it is too thin, add a little more sugar.

Note: Substitute 1 cup regular vegetable shortening and clear vanilla if you want a pure white frosting.

Excerpted from Easy Christmas Cut-Up Cakes by Melissa Barlow. Recipes Copyright © 2018. Excerpted by permission of Gibbs Smith. All rights reserved.

Servings: Makes 10-12 servings


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