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Santa Cake

Anna Helm-Baxter's Santa Cake
Anna Helm-Baxter's Santa CakeNathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
25 mins
Prep Time:
35 mins

Chef notes

Show off your holiday spirit at the dessert table with this festive and easy-to-make chocolate cake.

Recipe via Woman's Day.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red liquid food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 3 chocolate wafer cookies, preferably Nabisco Famous Wafers
  • Cornstarch, for the surface
  • Red gel food coloring
  • White fondant
  • Gold food coloring spray
  • Black fondant


For the cake:


Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9- by 13-inch cake pan and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the two long sides; oil the parchment.


In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar, food coloring, vanilla, vinegar, and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time.


Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, mixing just until incorporated.


Spread batter into prepared pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then use parchment overhangs to transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting:

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese on low speed until smooth. Beat in confectioners' sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Transfer 1 cup frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large flat tip. Tint remaining frosting red and spread evenly all over cooled cake. Refrigerate until no longer tacky, 5 to 10 minutes.

To decorate:

Using remaining frosting, pipe a 3-inch-wide strip down the center of the cake lengthwise. Evenly space 2 wafer cookies on the top half and 1 on the bottom half for buttons. Lightly dust a clean work surface with cornstarch.

Roll out white fondant and cut into a 3-inch square. Using a smaller cutter, cut out center of square to make a belt buckle. Transfer to a sheet of parchment paper and spray with gold spray; let dry, about 10 minutes. Roll black fondant into a 9- by 3-inch rectangle and place on the cake between the top 2 and bottom buttons. Top with belt buckle.