I was over the moon excited when my friend and college roommate, Devon, reached out to me with incredibly kind words and feedback about Pop & Circumstance. I was even more thrilled to learn that she was inspired by my very first post about appreciating the small things, and had a particular project in mind. She’s an incredible baker and a Martha Stewart worshipper, so I knew her holiday dessert would absolutely be blog-worthy!
I believe the best projects are ones that are quick and unfussy but yield striking results & I have to say this dessert definitely qualifies. This is definitely a recipe you’ll want to add to your holiday repertoire. To keep it simple Devon used boxed spice cake and followed the directions exactly. Just one 9″ x 13″ pan yields 8 mini pine cones!
Here are her instructions: Once baked and completely cooled, cut the cake into 8 equal rectangles and from there you can shape the pieces. Using a serrated knife, gently saw off the bottom two corners to make a point. Follow by cutting the top two corners down to the sides, giving it a rounded shape (it should look like an angular teardrop now). Don’t worry about getting it perfect because it’s about to be covered in icing!
Instead of using a store bought can of frosting, Devon chose to make her own icing – but it’s still incredibly simple. She decided to go with maple buttercream frosting! (Drooling yet?)
MAPLE VANILLA BUTTERCREAM
3 sticks butter
1 lb confectioners sugar (sift through a strainer to remove clumps)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp maple extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Here are her recommendations: Pull the butter out of the fridge and let it soften for a few hours and it will be much easier to work with. Beat the butter in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until light and fluffy (should take 2-3 minutes). Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time. Add in the 2 extracts and the cinnamon and finish blending. Lick all spoons and beaters you’ve just used & leave no icing behind! You deserve a taste test.
When frosting the individual cakes you just need a thin layer and it’s best to have the cakes on the plates or platter they’ll be served on when doing finishing touches. Transferring can be tricky.
Now comes the fun part! A 6 oz bag of almonds should have you covered for the 8 pine cones. Starting at the back (widest part) of the cake, almonds can be stuck in rows with tips pointing out. Voila! You instantly have a stunning single-serve dessert that your guests will be seriously impressed with.
Thanks so much to Devon for sharing this wonderful dessert. I think you can expect to see more fun kitchen adventures from her here on Pop & Circumstance in the future.