Celebrate Christmas this year with a pretty cake in hues of pink and blue! Layers of fluffy gingerbread cake are covered with silky Swiss meringue buttercream and crowned with a wreath of edible blue holly leaves.
Knead fondant until pliable. Roll to 1/4-inch on a countertop lightly dusted with cornstarch. Punch holly leaves out of the fondant using the cutters. Dry the leaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet overnight.
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray three 8 inch cake pans with flour-based cooking spray (recommend Baker’s Joy) and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer using a paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer running, slowly add molasses, followed by grated ginger. Beat until well mixed.
Scrape down sides of bowl. Add flour mixture with the milk in 3 additions, scraping down sides of mixing bowl after each addition. Begin and end with flour. Mix until well combined.
Divide the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Bake in preheated oven on the same rack together, about 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean. Check at 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow the layers to cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes before turning them out. Cool completely.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Set a saucepan filled one-third full of water over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
Whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a large heatproof bowl (I suggest a stainless bowl). Set over the simmering water and whisk until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar has dissolved (120-140 degrees on a candy thermometer, to be sure).
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Increase to medium-high until stiff peaks are formed.
Continue beating at medium-high speed until the mixture is fluffy and has cooled (the mixing bowl should feel cool to the touch).
Turn the mixer off and switch from the whisk attachment to the paddle. Turn the mixer on medium-low and add the butter, a few cubes at a time, beating until well incorporated before the next addition. The mixture will deflate as the butter is added – don’t worry! Just keep adding all of the butter. When the last of the butter has been added, beat on high speed until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Remove 1 1/3 cups of the frosting to a bowl; cover with a damp towel. Remove about 2/3 of the remaining frosting to a mixing bowl. Add pink gel food color and mix until consistently pink. Cover with a damp towel until ready to use. Tint the remaining portion of the frosting with a few dabs of blue food color until a light blue color is achieved. Transfer the blue frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large open star pastry tip. Set aside.
Place a cake layer on a serving plate or stand. Fill cake each cake layer with about 2/3 cup of white frosting. Apply a thin crumb coat of pink frosting to the outside of the cake; refrigerate until firm. Apply a second thicker coat of pink frosting to the outside of the cake as evenly as possible (a cake smoother or bench scraper is recommended.) Refrigerate until firm. Meanwhile make the white ganache drip.
White Ganache Drip
Place the melting wafers and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat the mixture at 100% power for 1 minute. Let stand 1 minute and whisk together until smooth and glossy. Let cool until barely warm but still pourable.
When the cake is well-chilled, pour the ganache onto the top center of the cake, allowing the excess to drip down the sides of the cake (you may not have to use all of the ganache). Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
When the cake is chilled, pipe a thick undulating rope of the blue icing around the top edge of the cake. Immediately top with some of the sprinkle mix. Arrange holly leaves in the frosting around the entire top edge of the cake, creating a wreath of blue holly. Add more sprinkles, if desired.
Serve slices of cake at room temperature.
Cut the fondant holly leaves a day before you plan to assemble the cake. They need time to firm up enough to stand rigid on the top circle of frosting.