When brands approach me with projects, I am careful to choose who I work with, because I am particular with what kind of ingredients I use in my daily foods for my family’s needs. I will not work with a brand that I do not believe in, or if I know that they do not use good ingredients, or have good ethical practices. So when Feedfeed asked me if I was interested in working with La Tourangelle again, my instant reaction was OF COURSE! I had worked with them over spring for a project, and I was in love with what I had created for them, and how delicious it had turned out using their Avocado Oil! The cake that I had made for them for the first project is linked here! I love working with this brand because, for one, they are locally based in Berkeley and I believe in supporting local brands and local businesses. Secondly, they are organic and 100% all-natural expeller pressed and free of chemicals, which makes me feel good that I am using good ingredients in the food that I put on the table for my family. Thirdly, their packaging is so chic and they are environment friendly too!
So, I am very excited to partner with Feedfeed and La Tourangelle on this project to showcase their oils to make a gorgeous show stopping holiday cake that will surely win on the holiday table and WOW your guests! The La Tourangelle oils are fantastic for making various elegant hors d’oeuvres and beautiful holiday desserts, with the variety of different oils that they carry like Avocado Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Walnut Oil, Garlic Oil etc.
I created a Gingerbread Hazelnut Oil with Hazelnut Praline Buttercream in the middle of the cake layers, and an Ombre Cranberry Buttercream Frosting on the outside, along with some pretty holiday decorations to go with! The Roasted Hazelnut Oil is handcrafted in Woodland, California strictly following 150-year-old French traditional methods because La Tourangelle believe that artisan care is still the best ways to retain all the flavors, nutrients and health benefits that nature provides. The roasted hazelnut oil was used to make the gingerbread cake. It is a very moist cake, and spongy and delicious and full of flavor! It adds another layer of aroma, texture and flavor to the cake. The cake goes beautifully with the hazelnut praline buttercream in the middle, and a tinge of the tangy Cranberry Buttercream Frosting on the outside!
I made a Cranberry and Star Anise Jam to put into the buttercream frosting. The jam is done in 15 minutes, and is super delicious, on plain toast as well or in cinnamon rolls with a cream cheese frosting. I used the jam to make an American Buttercream frosting for the outer layer of the cake. It enhances the taste of the buttercream a lot, by giving it a tanginess and vibrant flavor! The buttercream compliments the gingerbread hazelnut oil cake, really well and is absolutely fantastic in taste. I made a plain buttercream frosting with various colors for pretty piping, using rosette and star tips, and also for the Christmas trees around the cake. The Christmas trees were decorated with pretty sprinkles to give it a holiday sparkle and feel! I also decorated the top with my Orament Cranberry Macarons with a Gingerbread Buttercream frosting, linked here.
BTW! This shot below was totally inspired by my dear friend Laura of Tutti Dolci. She has beautiful recipes and photos on her blog, so do check her out!!
The cake was gobbled up by my family pretty quickly because it turned out so moist, decadent, fresh and very holiday-ish! If you do get a chance to make it, please tag @thejamlab in your Instagram post, and/or leave a comment below on this blog post to let me know how you liked it!
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
3 cups (360gms) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp whole milk
1/3 cup hazelnut praline paste
Ombre Cranberry Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
5 cups (600 gms) of confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp whole milk
6 tbsp cranberry jam
(extra confectioner’s sugar for the buttercream frosting)
For the decoration:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
3 cups (360 gms)confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 tbsp whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Food gel colors
Sprinkles of various kinds
Cranberry Macarons with Gingerbread Buttercream Filling (click on the link for recipe)
3 6-inch round cake tins
6-7 12 inch pastry bags
Star pastry tips – different sizes
1M Wilton rosette tip
Large metal spatula
Small metal spatula
Cake rotating stand
Gingerbread Hazelnut Oil Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Use baking spray to grease 3 6-inch cake tins. Add 6 inch parchment paper to the tins as well.
In a medium bowl, mix in the all purpose flour, almond flour, baking soda, all the spices like ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt and whisk to blend.
In a large bowl, add in the brown sugar, molasses, eggs, milk and La Tourangelle Hazelnut Oil. Whisk it well until well blended. Add in the flour mixture in 3 batches and whisk the flour well into the wet mixture. Use a spatula to clean up the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate.
Divide the cake batter equally into the three cake tins. You can use a kitchen scale to check that the batter is distributed equally. Put the cake tins in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until the cake tester comes out clean.Let the cake tins cool for about half an hour. Gently remove the cakes from the tin by inverting them and let them rest for an hour. Now use plastic wrap to nicely cover the cakes and let them rest for a day in the fridge.
Cranberry and Star Anise Jam:
n a medium saucepan, on medium heat, add in all the ingredients and let it cook, partially covered for 5 minutes. The cranberries will get soft. With a wooden spatula, stir the mixture and let it cook for another 7 minutes, partially covered on medium-low heat. The cranberries will become soft and slightly mushy. Smash the cranberries with a potato masher. Let the mixture cook down, and thicken for another 7 minutes, continue stirring it. You can switch off the heat and let the mixture cool down. The jam thickens as it cools down. Remove the star anise from the jam. Strain the jam to get the smooth pulp. Add it to a small saucepan and on medium heat, let it cook for 5 minutes to reduce it to half. Remove it from the heat, and store it in a glass container and let it cool in the fridge overnight. It will thicken slightly as it cools in the fridge.
Line a ¼ baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a dry heavy saucepan cook sugar over moderate heat, stirring with a fork, until melted and cook, without stirring, swirling pan, just until a golden caramel. Add hazelnuts, stirring until coated well. Immediately pour mixture onto baking sheet and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Chop the praline into pieces with a sharp knife.
Hazelnut Praline Paste: In a food processor, add in the hazelnut praline and blend till a smooth paste is formed to make the hazelnut praline paste.
Hazelnut Praline Buttercream Frosting:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the butter and salt. Use a paddle attachment to mix the butter at high speed for a minute, until fluffy and light in color. Add in the hazelnut praline and vanilla extract and mix well. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Now add in confectioner's sugar and milk and whisk until well blended. Do not overmix else you will aerate the buttercream.
Ombre Cranberry Buttercream Frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the butter and salt. Use a paddle attachment to mix the butter at high speed for a minute, until fluffy and light in color. Add in the and vanilla extract and mix well. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Now add in confectioner's sugar and milk and whisk until well blended. Do not overmix else you will aerate the buttercream. Remove a little more than one-third of the buttercream frosting in a piping bag with a large round tip. Use a bench scraper to scrape down the buttercream to the bottom of the bag. Twist and clip the bag and keep it aside.
To the remaining frosting in the stand mixer, add in 4 tbsp cranberry jam and whisk to combine. If the buttercream is loose, add in about ½ cup confectioner’s sugar and whisk to combine. Remove half of the buttercream frosting in a piping bag with a large round tip. Use a bench scraper to scrape down the buttercream to the bottom of the bag. Twist and clip the bag and keep it aside.
To the remaining frosting in the stand mixer, add in 2 tbsp cranberry jam and whisk to combine. If the buttercream is loose, add in about ½ cup confectioner’s sugar and whisk to combine, repeat again if the buttercream is still loose. Put the remaining buttercream frosting in a piping bag with a large round tip. Use a bench scraper to scrape down the buttercream to the bottom of the bag. Twist and clip the bag and keep it aside.
There should be a color difference in the last 2 frostings with the cranberry jam. OR you can add a bit of dark pink color to the last frosting to give it a slightly darker pink shade.
Save the remaining cream to make the top decoration if there is excess. You can store it in an air tight container in the fridge overnight.
Buttercream for the decoration:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the butter and salt. Use a paddle attachment to mix the butter at high speed for a minute, until fluffy and light in color. Add in the vanilla extract and mix well. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Now add in confectioner's sugar and milk and whisk until well blended. Do not overmix else you will aerate the buttercream. Divide the buttercream in 4-5 bowls. Add in the different gradients of a particular color that you like. I used shades of brown for the tree trunk and shades of pink and purple buttercream for the top of the cake . Mix each one with a separate small spatula until well blended.
Prepare the piping bags with the different tips. I used 1M for the rosettes, and different sized star tips for the other colors. Now add each buttercream color into each piping bag. Use a bench scraper to gather all the buttercream all the way to the bottom of the bag. Twist and clip, and keep it ready for decoration.
Decorate the Cake:
We first crumb coat the cake with the hazelnut praline buttercream: The next day, remove the cake from the fridge. Using a large bread knife, trim the top layer of the three cakes to get an even and straight edge. Place one layer on a cake rotating stand, sealing it with a dab of the hazelnut praline buttercream frosting. Now using a large metal spatula, add a ½ inch layer of buttercream, smoothen it out evenly. Now add another layer of the layer with the cut side down. Apply another layer of buttercream and spread it with the metal spatula to an even layer. Now add the third layer of cake with the bottom side facing up. Now add the other layer on the of the buttercream. Now we do the crumb coating, to add a naked layer first to secure the crumbs. Pipe the buttercream frosting from the piping bag with the large round tip around the cake(it will get finished), to form about 3 layers around the cake. Using a large offset spatula, turning the turntable, keep the offset spatula perpendicular to the table and smoothen out the frosting to cover the entire cake to form a light coating. Remove excess with a cake smoother tool and scrap it back into the remaining buttercream bowl. Repeat the process until the layer is smooth. Using the spatula, cover the top of the cake with the icing too and smoothen the top out.
Now put the cake in the fridge for half an hour to set. Remove it, and then using the 3 ombre cranberry buttercream frostings, clip the edge of the pipping bags to an even 1 inch round. Using the darker color first, pipe around the cake twice. Repeat the same for the next color gradient and pipe around the cake twice. Repeat the same for the white color and pipe twice around the cake, and also on top of the cake to form a layer. Using the cake smoother tool, keeping it perpendicular to the cake, start turning the turn table and brushing around the cake to smoothen it. Remove the excess buttercream aside into a bowl, as you go around the turn table. This will smoothen the cake.
The trick to getting a smooth frosting on the outside is using a small offset spatula, hold it under running hot tap water, wipe off the water and quickly use the spatula to smoothen the sides. You will get the hang of the process. Keep repeating it, until the cake is absolutely smooth.
Repeat the same process on top of the cake. Keep the small offset spatula at a 45 degree angle and smoothen it out bit by bit, while slowly rotating the turntable as well and scraping the excess off into the buttercream bowl. Let the done cake set in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Now to make it look pretty. I used a Christmas tree cookie cutter to make a light indentation on the cake on 4 opposite sides. Then using the pipping bag with plain buttercream and a tiny star tip, I pipped around the edges first and then inside the Christmas Tree. I used sprinkles to make lights on the Christmas tree. I used the brown buttercream to pipe the trunk of the tree.
To decorate the top of the cake, I used different colors and shades of pink/purple/coral red and different star tips to pipe pretty patterns on the top. I also used 1M wilton Rosette tip for the edge of the cake. I used the macarons to decorate the top as well and added some sprinkles on the top too.
To make the snowflakes, I used a fondant snowflake press to press on white fondant and make pretty snowflakes around the cake.