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Create a Winter Wonderland Experience With the Ashley Holt & BAKE ON Cake Kit!


Thanks to Bake ON & Ashley Holt for sending this cake kit over in exchange for a review. All thoughts are my own.

Prior to Christmas, I received a wonderful cake kit that I shared with you. This beautifully created collaboration between Ashley Holt and BAKE ON provided a step by step kit for you to make your own magical winter wonderland scene, complete with fondant penguins and trees.

To read about this kit, find the "Becoming the Next New Pastry Chef With BAKE ON & Ashley Holt's Penguin Cake Kit" article by following this link. So given that my day job is  work in a church fulltime, there was no way I had the time to get the Cake Kit put together prior to Christmas. Thus, this wonderful winter wonderland cake was created post-Christmas and post-holiday season.

After all, it is still winter, and there is still plenty of time to purchase, bake, and decorate this gingerbread spice cake, a recipe created by Pastry Chef Ashley Holt.

Since I already wrote about the packing and steps, I will not go into great detail, but I will bring up some main points for those of you who didn't catch the first article. The packaging divides all ingredients into simple steps. Package 1= Step 1, and so forth. Everything is included except the perishables. The kit also includes some written and video instructions, well worth watching.

If you aren't a pastry chef extraordinaire, it's okay. I'm definitely not, as evidenced by my ahem, penguin creation and fondant rolling, but you know what, I'm learning and I had fun! 

Baking, while it is about precision, measurements, and science, is also about fun! So is the decorating piece. Now, unfortunately, my post-holiday cake creation didn't have a wonderful party to be debuted at, so it lives on my IG & FB forever!

Making the cake is very easy. I bake a lot, so I generally know needed ingredients and how to mix. I would recommend putting out your butter prior to use, so that it softens. Same with the cream cheese (to be used for the icing). Room temp eggs are best as well, and the reasoning is explained in instructions- but basically it's all about science interaction,

One of the things that I love about this cake kit, is that for anyone (novice or experienced), the ingredients are already prepackaged in the amounts needed. No guessing, no measuring, just pour and mix. No distractions to allow you to accidentally put in too much or too little (or leave out) an ingredient, especially if you have 4 legged creatures following you around and the phone buzzing with messages! 

Before mixing the cake, read the instructions regarding greasing the pan. It's better to have this step done, but if you forget, or jump ahead because you are so excited, its not the end of the world. Just don't pour the mix in the pan before it's greased! 

Honestly, I'd also spray the top of the parchment paper too. Mine stuck to the cake and did take little bits off the bottom. 

This recipe does suggest placing aluminum foil around the pan to prevent the cake sides from burning. I didn't have foil long enough to wrap all the way around, so I had to do a couple of different measurements. I also wasn't sure how long it should cover the sides, and do wonder if that impacted how the middle of the cake baked as well. 

The kit provides a toothpick for you to cake test if you don't own a tester. Your toothpick or cake tester should be clear when pulling it out. Mine took about 55 minutes to bake. 

Now, the other thing I'll say is that my cake didn't set well, for some reason. Maybe I needed to tap the pan to settle the mix before baking, but my cake's center decided to fall in. Maybe I needed to bake it more.. I don't have a clue. Except, that this impacted the rest of the design. 

As always in baking, you work with what you got, and if you have seen any Cake/ Baking shows on TV, even the professionals risk implosions once in a while. 

So, properly cooling the cake is a thing too. Mine cooled for a few hours because I went over to the next town to see a friend. If you do not cool enough, the icing will melt and the cake will slide. Warm Cakes also don't really cut well. 

Cutting the cake to meet the demands of the mold was interesting, as I didn't really get a good grasp on the dimensions needed. That was also when my cake's center decided to start crumbling, so cutting properly was difficult. 

The instructions said to cut the cake in half and then place icing in it, then put it back together. Then it instructs the baker to cut the cake to make the igloo shape. This means it's cut in half and then one side is cut to create an igloo door. Designs are given, but my judgement was slightly off, so my door ended up not looking like a proper igloo door. 

After I cut the cake, I moved on to the fondant par and the decorating. Y'all, I've always wanted to take professional decorating classes. A decorator, I am not. Maybe one day I'll grab the skills, but fondant and I did not quickly become friends that evening. 

The kit came with a cake cardboard circle and the rolling + cutting tools needed to mold the fondant. The fondat rolling is easy with the tool, as shown below, but what is not easy is moving it so that it wraps around the cardboard. 

Rolling out the fondant wasn't that difficult, but transferring it to the cake plate was. I ended up starting over a few times. It would rip, it would stick, it wouldn't reach the edges. Eventually, I gave up and let it be what it is. Which is totally okay as no one is paying for this cake and I'm not on the Great British Bake Off. 

I watched the videos and followed the instructions to decorate after fixing the cake onto the cake board. Unfortunately, by the time all my decorating was done, the cake decided to fall. 

I rearranged it to get a semi-decent photo of my beautiful artwork, but by that point, it was not having it, and so I decided to let it be so and just slice it up for me and anyone who may comes over. The nice thing is that cake is freezeable, so I didn't have to trash it. I wish I did have a party to take it too, but it was just how this holiday season panned out. 

Again, there are three steps to this cake:

  • Make the Cake using Package 1. It had all the dry ingredients, and even things like molasses, needed.  Tip: have scissors handy. I found the packing difficult to open and used scissors for almost all mixes, unless I knew i wouldn't use it all (like the coconut). 
  • Make the frosting. This uses Cream Cheese Frosting, which is sooo yummy. There is plenty of frosting available using the provided sugars and amount of cream cheese needed. 
  • Make the decorations using fondant and using the tools provided. Fondant dries very easily-even in the course of making a penguin and trees, so be sure to have water and saran wrap available to keep it air-free! 

The cake batter instructions do say using a stand-mixer. I know there is a debate about stand-mixers versus hand-held mixers, but apartment life means I do not have a stand-mixer. I wonder if the batter would have setted differently if it was beaten in a stand mixer. Things to ponder, for sure.

I ended up not using some of the provided things, such as the icing bag, because by that time, my cake fell apart. For precision icing (especially the igloo door), the icing bag would definitely be needed. 

Be okay with however your fondant decorations turn out. There was no way on God's green earth my trees and penguin would look like the professional, and that's okay. The book contained lifesized templates to model the penguin after. I am glad that there were actual size templates available for use so that at least the penguin was to size, even if it doesn't look like the professionals at all. Maybe my penguins wings are too large, or eyes are too big. 

I actually enjoyed using the stamps though. They were easy to punch out and using the precision tool, easy to cut out too! I think I only ended up destroying one by accident, which is great for the first round!

To be perfectly honest, I'm still not sure how the tree's were actually made. I watched, I read, I tried.. I ended up twisting mine and using the precision tool to try to make "branches."

I would definitely purchase this kit again or a new one, to keep testing my fondant skills. Fondant isn't for the light of heart, at all, and I know I would need some work! It would be fun to see how much skills grow after each challenge, too. 

I also love how the recipe is provided so that if you wish to work on a second cake on your own, you know what amounts and ingredients are needed. You would just need to purchase your own fondant. There was fondant left over that I didn't use, but it can be hard to keep fresh and air-free so that it doesn't dry out. 

I would say that making this cake does take several hours. The physical cake making part by mixing ingredients is the least time-consuming. The baking and the cooling take a couple of hours. I probably played with the fondant and decorating for another 2 hours, and definitely could have spent more time. A part of me started to get tired of messing it with, as the more I tried to decorate it and make the fondant decent on the cake board, the more the cake fell apart, which is one of the many challenges in baking. 

Overall, I liked making this cake. I'm not a general fan of spice and gingerbread, but this was not overpowering at all!  I also like being able to control things, like the coconut. The coconut represents snow, but I'm not a big fan. I probably went overboard with the edible glitter, though! 

If you are looking for a way to spend a rainy and/ or snowy Winter day, I highly recommend the Holiday Edition: Penguin's Winter Wonderland Cake Kit found on BAKE ON. Other Valentine's Day options are now available as well!

Thanks to Ashley Holt & BAKE ON for this amazing collaboration and being featured in our Holiday Gift Guide! 

Want it? Get it! 

Purchase the Penguin Winter Wonderland Igloo Cake Kit for magically snowy experience! 

Follow BAKE ON Socials for inspiration, tips, and ideas! 

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