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What's the best way to impress guests this holiday season? With an epic Winter Wonderland Cake of course! They won't be able to stop talking about this decadent chocolate cake, piled high with coconut buttercream and topped off with the most adorable Pocky Sprinkle Tree Forest.
Basically, this is perfect dessert for entertaining this winter. The cake itself is an easy one-bowl chocolate cake that is almost impossible to screw up. It also so moist you can make it a few days in advance and keep in it in the fridge until a few hours before you are ready to serve it.
But my favorite part about this cake is definitely the Pocky Sprinkle Tree Forest. A couple months ago I made a Cookies and Cream Pocky Cake that I loved so much, I started looking for other ways to incorporate them into my baking. This was the result. I went with a pastel color palate (because pastels make me happy), but you can also use a more traditional green if you want.
Once you are done decorating your forest, the extra Pocky Sticks can double as treats for the kids and drink stirrers for the adults! It's a win win!
Prepare a piping bag with a small round tip and a piece of parchment paper lined with Pocky Sticks.
In a microwave bowl, melt chocolate in 30 second intervals. Use chocolate coloring to change the color of the chocolate to desired color.
Place chocolate in piping bag and pipe lines back and forth over pocky stick. Start small on the top and then get larger as you go down the stick.
Immediately add sprinkles.
Set trees aside to dry.
Preheat the oven to 350°F, prepare two 8" cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and parchment rounds.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix on low until dry ingredients are thoroughly combined.
On low speed add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla.
Once everything is combined beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
Divide batter between two pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool completely.
Put sugar and egg whites in the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk every 15-30 seconds until it is warm to the touch in the center (about 5-8 minutes).
Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, pour heated mixture into mixing bowl. Turn the mixer on medium-high and mix for 5 minutes. The mixture will become thick, glossy and pure white.
Turn speed to high and mix until the sides of the bowl are cool. (about 3-5 minutes)
Once the sugar mixture is cool, put mixture on low speed and gradually add butter. Turn back to high speed. The mixture will look curdled at first, but it will eventually whip into a buttercream consistency.
Once it looks like buttercream, turn the speed back to medium and add extract, salt and coconut milk. Whip for about 2-4 minutes until everything is incorporated.
Once cakes are cool, take them out of the pans. Place one layer onto a cake plate. Using an offset spatula, spread 1 cup of frosting on the cake. Add ¾ cup of chopped Pocky Sticks.
Turn the second layer upside down (so the bottom is face up) and gently place it on top of the first layer.
Use the remaining frosting to frost the rest of the cake. Start with a generous amount on the top and work your way to the sides.
Once cake is frosted, cover with shredded coconut.
Arrange trees on top as desired.
*One 9" Cake
Hello! I’ve made a cake like this a couple days ago, and it turned out pretty good. But my winter forest went right down in like 1-2 hours after putting them on the cake. Are there any tips to prevent that?
Hi Valery! I am so sorry to hear that. Can you give me a little more information on how they fell? Did the sticks break? Or get too soggy? Let me know and we will figure out how to fix this!
Hello Lindsay! I am in love with how beautiful this cake is!!! Where did you find the cake stand? It goes so perfectly!
Hi Angie! I am obsessed with this cake stand too. I got it from Anthropologie a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, I don't think they make it anymore, and there is no brand name on the stand itself. I'm so sorry I couldn't be more helpful!
We've been mixing for 45 minutes now and it stays just as liquide can i add something or do i need to start over again?
Hmm that is so strange. I'm so sorry it's liquid! I would try putting it in the fridge for a little to see if it hardens up and then whip again. If it doesn't work you may need to start over :( If you do start over, I would add the coconut milk only a little bit at a time to make sure it stays whipped. Or, if you want, you can skip the coconut milk altogether and just get the coconut flavor from the shaved coconut on the outside. It will still taste amazing! I'm so sorry again for the trouble!
Hey Lindsay i am making this right now but the butter cream seems very liquide is that normal it looked perfectly fine until I put the coconutmilk in what can i do?
Hi Maaike! Just keep letting it run in the mixer on a high speed! It will eventually come back together into a buttercream. It can take a little while - but it eventually gets there!
I made the icing as directed but have not assembled the cake yet. Is this recipe enough to ice the whole cake? Also, should the coffee be cold or warm when you add it? I can't wait to make this!!
Yes, the icing will ice the whole cake! And the coffee should be warm when added to the cake batter! I'm so excited for you to make this!
can you use normal food coloring for the christmas tree topping?
Unfortunately, normal food coloring will not work when you are coloring chocolate. You have to use candy coloring or chocolate that is already pre-colored like Wilton's candy melts.
Cutest cake ever! About how long does it take for the trees to dry before you can put them on the cake? I want to do this at a cupcake decorating party and I'm trying to figure out the timing.
Hi Courtney! These trees are the best and they would be so cute on cupcakes! The chocolate trees dry very fast. I would give them 5-10 minutes (depending on how warm your baking environment is). Then they should be good to go! If you want them to dry faster, you can put them directly in the fridge. Let me know if you have any further questions!
Hi Lindsay, My daughter and I will be making this for Christmas. Could you suggest/share the chocolate coloring that you used? I've been looking and couldn't find one. Thank you! So excited to try this.
Hi Debbie! Yes...I used the Wilton Candy Coloring. You can find them here: https://amzn.to/2R3z5FX and here: https://amzn.to/2S7plrK - let me know if you have any other questions!
Can you tell me what product you used to color your chocolate and what colors you used?? And what color Candifetti did you buy? Thanks!
Hi Patricia! I used wilton's chocolate coloring (here: https://amzn.to/2R3z5FX and here:https://amzn.to/2S7plrK). And I used the Cupcake Candyfetti (here: https://amzn.to/2BostZ4). Let me know if you have any further questions!
This cake is beautiful! I really want to make this cake for Christmas... However, coconut is not an option. Is there anything else I can use to make it look like crisp white snow? I'll be judged harshly being it's mostly straight women and gay men at this Christmas party. Lol! There's going to be a lot of single men so my baking and decoration skills could land me a husband. Ha! What could I substitute for the coconut?
Hello! This is such a good question. I would use white chocolate shavings (maybe mixed with a little powdered sugar so the chocolate doesn't stick together) or just any kind of sugar. They have thick chunky sugar which is nice, but granulated sugar can also work as well. Additionally, I think you could also use white sprinkles. I hope this helps! And that it lands you a husband! Let me know if you have any further questions.
Hi, Lindsay. I am Jami’s friend and Becky’s sister. I was perusing Pinterest when I saw a post of this adorable cake. I was getting ready to pin when I saw sprinkles for breakfast and got so excited. I felt like I had spotted a star! I hope you are well and maybe I will see you in Kentucky soon. Oh, and I plan on incorporating this cake into my Christmas festivities.
Hi Stephanie! This makes me so happy! We will not be in Kentucky for Christmas this year, but hopefully we will be there again soon! Happy Holidays!
Do you use canned cocounut milk? Can’t wait to try!
Hi Addie! I do use canned coconut milk. I usually find it in the international isle at the grocery store. Let me know if you have any more questions!
This looks so beautiful! Planning on making it for Christmas. Would you recommend chocolate or melts for the trees? I love your coffee cup in the last picture!
Hi! Thank you! This is one of my favorite cakes to make for the holidays! I recommend using "white melting chocolate"- my favorite brand is Merkens. And I love that cup too! Let me know if you have any further questions!
What kind of sugar is used for the buttercream?
Hi Helena! Just regular granulated white sugar. Let me know if you have any further questions!
It says 1 cup chopped Pocky Sticks as part of the buttercream frosting. Is that correct? Seems like it wouldn’t be smooth and the assembly instructions for frosting doesn’t mention it....please advise
Hi Dawn! Sorry for the confusion! I used the Pocky Sticks between layers to add a little crunch. They are not actually in the frosting. But this is totally optional. Let me know if this makes sense or if you have any further questions!
Hello, want to make this cake for Christmas it’s just gorgeous, but was wondering would chocolate biscuits cake work week? with either white chocolate ganache with the Shredded coconut or fondant with Shredded coconut. Thanks
Hi Lianne. Yes, you can totally use a chocolate biscuits cake and I would use a white chocolate ganache. But if you want to use fondant, make sure you have some piping gel or something similar on hand so you can get the coconut to stick. Let me know how it goes!
This cake is beautiful and I will be making it come christmas, so a big thank you
You are so welcome! Let me know how it turns out!
What kind of sprinkles are those?! Where did you get them?! I feel like they really “make the trees”. Thank you!!
They are called Candyfetti! They are my FAVORITE sprinkles ever and you are right - they totally "make the trees". You can find them here - https://amzn.to/2qwpw3y. Let me know if you have any other questions!
How far ahead can the cake be made pls? (Fully finished). Thanks!
Hi Cee! You can make the cake a month in advance and place the layers in the freezer. The icing can be made a week in advance and put in the fridge. But, if you want to do the whole cake, you can make it two days in advance and keep it in the fridge until about 4 hours before you are ready to serve it. If you are adding the trees, I would keep those separate and put them in right before you serve it. The Pocky sticks will get soggy if you keep them in the cake for two days. Let me know if you have any more questions!
Could you use colored candy melts instead of chocolate?
Yes! This totally works!
Hi Lindsay! Can you suggest an alternative to the coffee? Or what I can use to eliminate it altogether? I'm not a coffee lover I'm afraid! Such a gorgeous cake, I can't wait to try it :)
Hi Tara! If you do not want to use the coffee, I suggest just using warm water. But I am not a coffee fan either, and the coffee flavor totally cooks out of the final product. Let me know if you have any further questions!
The butter was not mixing well with the sugar and egg white mixture at all it kept on seperating ,I have no idea what I’m doing wrong help me
Hi Dianna! You have to just keep going! I know the mixture does not look normal at first, but you have to do the recipe all the way to the end and it will come together! I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions!
I’m confused with the coffe part
Hi Sarah! You just add 1 cup of regular (preferably warm) coffee to the batter. Let me know if you have any further questions!
This cake was amazing! So cute and so (relatively) easy. However, maybe you could add a note that it doesn't get the Buttercream consistency until after the addition of coconut milk? I almost threw out the batch before adding it because I was convinced something went wrong. Just a thought for novice bakers like me. ???? Thanks again for the great recipe!
Hi Hannah! This is a great tip - because it really does not look right until the end! I am glad you did not throw it away though! And I am so happy that you liked this cake!
What type of coffe should I use can it be flavored and is it coffe grounds or normal liquid coffe
Hi Olivia! Normal liquid coffee is totally fine! You can also use expresso powder + hot water, but I would not use any flavored coffee. Let me know how it turns out!
Could you use decaf coffee instead as I’ll be serving this cake to kids, don’t want them bouncing off the walls lol
Hi Chris! Decaf is totally fine to use! We definitely don't want the kids bouncing off the walls!
Did this refrigerate well a few days before with the white chocolate Christmas trees on top?
Hi Cristy! I would refrigerate them separately. And then put the trees in the day you are serving the cake!
Just made this and it's the most delicious chocolate coconut cake I've tasted! Next time I will try to cut back on the sugar and see how it comes out.
Im so glad you liked it! Let me know how it goes if you try it with less sugar!
I recognize this chocolate cake recipe as the one I've used for years from Ina Garten, Beatty's Chocolate Cake. It is a famous recipe, but shouldn't your source be sited.
Hi Shea - Thanks for pointing that out. I was unaware of the similarities. I got this recipe years ago from a family friend. She told me it was her recipe - but maybe she got it from Ina!
Okay, those P.ocky stick trees have to be THE cutest thing ever!! I can see some holiday "baking" in my near future. Thanks for the great idea!
You are welcome! You will have to send me a picture if you do make them!