You could be serving this Rock Candy Christmas Cake to your family and friends and be the star of Instagram. (Seriously, everyone will be getting their phones out to take a picture!) It starts with colorful layers of white cake. Then, it is frosted with homemade whipped vanilla buttercream and rock candy that is sure to be the center of attention at your Christmas party!

Red and Green and lots of CANDY make this one of the most festive Holiday cakes you will ever see!
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Ingredients & Substitutions

White Cake Mix: You will need 2 white cake recipes, or use 2 boxes of white cake mix.

Whipped Vanilla Buttercream: The recipe provided is already doubled, perfect for this cake.

Food Color: I used red and green food color to keep with the Christmas theme.

Rock Candy: I used red, pink, green, and light green, but you can certainly use your favorite colors!

rotating cake stand

small offset spatula

bench scraper


pastry bags and four #10 decorating tips

Red and Green and lots of CANDY make this one of the most festive Holiday cakes you will ever see!

Making The Cakes

Begin by preparing the first white cake. Add 2 teaspoons of red food color. Divide the red cake batter between 2 prepared* 8-inch round cake stands.

*You can prepare a pan with baking spray, GOOP, parchment paper, or the butter and flour method.

Bake according to recipe or box directions. When done baking, remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Once you can handle the cake, carefully remove from pan and level the cake if needed.

Repeat this with green food color.

Once all the cakes are baked and leveled, place in the freezer until ready to assemble the cake.

Prepare whipped vanilla buttercream. You will need at least 5 cups to cover this entire cake. It will be used between each layer (1/2 – 3/4 cup) as well as for the crumb coat and final coat. The remaining buttercream with be divided into four bowls.

The remaining buttercream with be divided into four bowls. For the darker red, I used about 2 teaspoons. The light red (pinkish) was about one teaspoon. (Your amounts may vary depending on how much frosting you have left over. There was about 1 cup of the whipped vanilla buttercream in each bowl for me.) The darker green was about 2 teaspoons of food color and the light green was a scant teaspoon.

Once all colors are prepared, fill pastry bags. Each bag should be fitted with a #10 tip. (You can also use a #5, #7, or #12 if that’s what you have. Any small open round tip will work.)

Red and Green and lots of CANDY make this one of the most festive Holiday cakes you will ever see!

How to Assemble Christmas Cake

  1. Place the first layer on a rotating cake stand. (I started with red, but that was only because I was using a green cake stand and wanted some contrast. You can start with whichever color you prefer.)
  2. Cover with about 3/4 cup whipped vanilla buttercream. Add the next layer of cake, it should be the opposite color. (If you started with red, your next layer should be green.)
  3. Repeat this process with all the layers. Once you have added your final layer, cover the cake with a thin coat of whipped vanilla buttercream. This is called a crumb coat and will seal in all the crumbs. Set cake in the fridge to chill for about 15 minutes.
  4. Now you will place the final “beauty” layer of frosting on the cake. Try to get it as smooth as possible. (I offer tips and tricks on how to get a smooth layer of frosting here.)
  5. Using a toothpick, draw a line on the cake. Start at the very bottom and move up diagonally. Once you get to the top of the cake, make a spiral design ending in the center.
  6. Grab your frostings and start piping dots. The dots will be covered with rock candy, so they do not need to be perfect. Place the dots along and next to the line you made with the toothpick. Starting with your first color, move all along the line on the top and side of the cake. Then grab your green and start again.  (You can also cluster colors, as in, put a few red dots right next to each other, a few green dots right next to each other, etc.)
  7. Break up the rock candy. Place each color in its own bowl. Gently place the rock candy on the same color frosting. Be careful not to get your fingers in the white frosting. You can also use tweezers to place that candy. Cover all of the red and green frostings in the corresponding rock candy color.
  8. When you are done, chill the cake until ready to serve. It is very easy to cut this cake, even when it is cold.

Creating a beautiful Christmas Cake doesn’t have to be hard! This cake will take a little time to put together, but once you get the hang of it, you are golden. If you create this cake please do tag me on social media! <3

Red and Green and lots of CANDY make this one of the most festive Holiday cakes you will ever see!

How To Store Whipped Vanilla Buttercream

Once made, store the whipped buttercream in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last up to 2 weeks. When ready to use, re-whip.

Red and Green and lots of CANDY make this one of the most festive Holiday cakes you will ever see!
5 from 1 vote

Double Batch Whipped Vanilla Buttercream

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
This is a BIG batch of buttercream and should be made in stages if you do not have a stand mixer with a large bowl.


  • 2 cups (4 sticks / 452 g) butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick® Pure Almond Extract
  • 64 ounces confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup whole milk, up to 1 cup if you need a loose creamy consistency
  • 1 pinch kosher salt


  • To the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, add butter. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  • Add vanilla and almond extract.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly add in confectioners' sugar, milk, and salt, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of bowl when needed.
  • Once incorporated, whip frosting for at least 3 minutes on medium-high to high. (My mixer went for 7 minutes)
  • If frosting is too thick to spread, gradually beat in additional milk.
  • Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

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Want more Christmas Dessert ideas?

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Wreath Cake

Christmas Tree Surprise Inside Cake

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. This is a gorgeous, fun and elegant cake – if that makes sense. You are so right about being the hit of the party and instagram with this cake!

    1. I love this cake. Just wanted to know about how much rock candy you used? About a pound or was it more? Thank you!

  2. Such a festive and beautiful, bright, happy Christmas cake, Amanda! Your creativity is endless, my friend! I love the rock candy atop this cake! xo

  3. This would be a great baby reveal cake. Boy? 2 shades of blue layers or Girl? 2 shades of pink. Outside the same with pink & blue swirl. WHAT FUN!!!

  4. What a gorgeous cake!! And it doesn’t look terribly hard to decorate. Do you have any tips on transporting this without ruining the icing and decorations?

    1. If the cake is chilled it is VERY sturdy. 🙂 In terms of transporting… depends on if you are flying? Driving? It should be fine on a flat or level surface in a car with nothing around it that could bump it.

  5. Dear Amanda , I have made the Christmas Cake but I have reserved the butter cream in the refrigerator & when I beat the butter cream again to assemble the cake it becomes like moist sand! Not soft like yours !! Don’t know what is the reason & what I did wrong ,please help

  6. Hi. Can you please share what the beat way is to have brownies, cake mix, etc. slip out of cupcake pan? I have a gingerbread man cupcake pan, but the cake or brownies dont come out without breaking apart. I used Pam spray. Thank you, Karen

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