For the Cake
For the Italian Buttercream
For the Assembly
For the Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour three 6" cake pans. Use damp baking strips for even layers. You may have some leftover batter so prepare a cupcake tin with cupcake papers.
2. Combine boiling water and baking soda in a medium bowl.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt into a large bowl.
4. Using a standing mixer with a whisk attachment beat the butter on high until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about two minutes. Add the molasses, ginger, baking soda mixture, and flour mixture. Beat in the eggs.
5. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans and bake from about 30-35. You’ll have some left over batter. Use it to make a few cupcakes and bake them for about 15 - 20 minutes.
6. Allow cake layers to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
For the Italian Buttercream:
1. Beat the egg whites until foamy then add in a 1/4 tsp cream or tartar and slowly add ½ cup of sugar while the mixer is running. Increase speed to medium-high and
beat until soft peaks form.
2. In a medium saucepan add the remaining 1 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water then place on low heat.
3. Stir until sugar melts and becomes clear.
4. Maintain at medium high heat until temperature reads 235-240F.
5. Drizzle the sugar into the mixer immediately.
6. Run mixer until merengue is cool/tepid.
7. Add room temperature butter into running mixer one tablespoon piece at a time.
8. Add the salt and vanilla if using
9. Beat until butter is combined and mixture has reached a silky consistency.
10 . Divide buttercream into three bowls. one for the white, one smaller batch for the red swirl and the smallest batch for the green tree
11. Use red food coloring to get a desired deep red color for the swirl. Add spices, mix until combined, transfer to a piping bag and snip off the tip.
12. Use the matcha powder, black and brown to get a deep green tree color. Dye some with cocoa powder or brown food coloring for the stump of the christmas tree.
For the Assembly:
1. Transfer some plain white buttercream to a piping bag and snip off the tip. Add the red and white to a piping bag and snip off the tip.
2. Pipe a red and white swirl between each layer.
3. Cover in plain white buttercream and smooth with an offset spatula and bench scraper.
4. Use a palette knife to add layers of green to create a Christmas tree.
5.Transfer the rest of the red food coloring to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.
6. Pipe red ornaments on the tree.
7. Schmear on a layer of buttercream to a piece of parchment paper and freeze for about 5-10 minutes.
8. Use an exacto knife to cut out a star shape. Free again.
9. Add gold leaf to the star and transfer to the top of the tree.
10. Dust with confectioners sugar.
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