Use this cake carefully as it will stop any show.  It will suck all attention out of the room and command the respect and admiration of all who behold it.  And it tastes good.

Make no mistake though: it’s a project.

I made it as part of a multi-course Christmas dinner, all of which I stubbornly and ridiculously insist on making myself, and I don’t know that I recommend that.  But if you’re asked to bring a dessert, or if you’re the type who inflicts un-asked-for cakes on people, this could be your jam.

The real show-stoppy part is the easiest.  The charming frosted rosemary and cranberry garnish is simple but also so festive and special.  And all it takes is a dip in simple syrup and a roll in some sugar.  Regular, granulated, sugar, not special “frosting sugar” from Williams-Sonoma that costs $15.99 for an 8-ounce jar or anything.*

The “project” part comes from having to make 1. A three-layer cake, 2. Cranberry curd, 3. Buttercream frosting, 4. Regular simple syrup for garnish-dipping AND 5. Grand Marnier-flavored simple syrup (I used Triple Sec) for brushing on the cake layers.  Then assemble, brush on syrup, pipe some frosting, add curd, frost sides and top, bedazzle and then why not make a Cosmo since the Triple Sec is out?

Kate notes:

  • It keeps well, I think because of the olive oil. I made it the day before, wrapped each layer in saran wrap and then wrapped all three and left at room temp.  I suspect it would keep for even longer.
  • Do not use Whole Foods butter. In case you haven’t noticed their butter, while perfectly fine tasting, is much yellower than Land O Lakes so your frosting will not have that lovely freshly-driven snow finish.  Obviously doesn’t affect the taste at all but for those of us who like to be our own harshest critics it’s pretty glaring.  (To further demonstrate my capacity for self-criticism it’s driving me bonkers that you can see the outlet behind the cake in the pic above.  It’s this kind of thing that’s hurting my chances for a Pulitzer I’m quite certain.)
  • I used fresh cranberries as they’re everywhere this time of year so go ahead and do that if you’re so inclined.
  • The garnish-frosting technique is so easy and fun it’s got me thinking what else can I do it to? Orange slices would be fun and would work well with this cake.  Strawberries on top of a cheesecake?  Hell yah.  My point is: expect a lot of frosted garnishes in 2020.

*As far as I know I am making this up and W-S does not sell this particular product  (although they do sell Peppermint Snow — $19 bucks for 5 ounces of crushed up candy canes).  But it’s just a matter of time.

And here’s my lovely daughter.  She’s a show-stopper too 😉