December 25, 2023
As seen on the cover of Las Vegas Weekly
Get ready to jingle your taste buds with the ultimate festive indulgence – my White Chocolate Christmas Crunch Cake! This delightful creation is a dance of flavors that will have you swooning under the mistletoe. Picture this: a luscious white chocolate creamy buttercream cascading over a mountain of crunchy spanish peanuts and salted pretzels, creating a symphony of sweet and salty sensations. With each bite, you'll experience the perfect harmony of textures – the velvety richness of white chocolate, the satisfying crunch of roasted peanuts, and the playful snap of pretzels. It's like a winter wonderland for your taste buds!
My beautiful mother makes these delicious white chocolate, peanut, and pretzel candies every year for our family’s Christmas Eve party, but now that the holidays have become a tradition held at my house, I decided to turn her tasty little treats into Christmas trees that sit atop a decadent white chocolate crunch cake. It’s a delicious balance of creamy, crunchy, salty and sweet, purr-fect for those holiday munchies.
Sorry, not sorry, Mama Sweets.
White Chocolate Christmas Crunch Cake
Melody makes her famous Christmas Crunch Cake LIVE!
Special Guest: Khalilah Yasmin (aka Virgin Mary from episodes 5 & 6!)
White Chocolate Christmas Crunch Cake
For the white chocolate buttercream
12 oz unsalted butter(3 sticks)
3 cups powdered sugar
12 oz white chocolate
2 tsp vanilla extract (she uses Watkins clear vanilla extract to help keep the color as white as possible)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
For the Christmas tree decorations
1 cup white chocolate chips thin pretzel sticks
1/2 cup crushed pretzels
1/2 cup coarsely chopped Spanish redskin peanuts
1/2 tsp green oil-based food coloring (optional) Christmas sprinkles
1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over low heat until just simmering (Do not let it boil). Pour hot milk over chocolate, let it sit for 30 seconds, stir to combine and set aside to cool to room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease and flour three six-inch round cake pans, and line with parchment paper.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt and set aside.
4. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together on medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Don’t skip this step! You want to create air, which helps with the structure of the crumb.
5. Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time. After adding each egg, turn the speed to high for about 5-10 seconds to fully incorporate. Add vanilla.
6. Begin alternating adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Fully incorporate each addition, scraping down the sides and the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Let cakes cool for about 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
9. Once cooled, double wrap in plastic wrap and let sit in freezer while you get everything else ready.
To make the Christmas trees
1. Microwave chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds. Stir and continue to microwave at 15 second intervals until the chocolate has mostly melted. Stir and add green food coloring now, just a few drops.
2. Let the chocolate cool just to the touch and pour it into a piping bag or sealed sandwich bag. You can secure the top of the bag with a rubber band. Snip about a quarter-inch from the tip of the bag when ready to use.
3. Mix the crushed peanuts and pretzels in a bowl. Place pretzel sticks about 2.5 inches apart on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Pipe chocolate back and forth over the pretzel stick to create a Christmas tree. Quickly sprinkle the peanut and pretzel mix onto the piped chocolate. Add another thin layer of white chocolate on top to seal everything in and immediately decorate with Christmas sprinkles. Set in the refrigerator for about two hours to firm up, or in the freezer if you’d like them ready quicker.
To make the white chocolate buttercream
1. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds initially, and then in 15 second intervals until your chocolate is just melted. Stir.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add the sugar one cup at a time, scraping the sides as you go. Once incorporated, mix on high for another minute. Mix in vanilla and salt.
3. Make sure the chocolate has come to room temperature so you don’t melt the butter, and add the cooled white chocolate. Add 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream to a consistency of your liking.
4. Place buttercream in a large piping bag and when ready to use, cut the tip to create an opening about a half-inch wide. If you don’t have piping bags, place plastic wrap on top of your buttercream, touching so that no air gets to it, and set aside.
To assemble the cake
1. Even out the domed cake layers to create a flat, even top using a long, serrated knife.
2. Place the first layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Pipe or place a layer of buttercream around in a circle until the layer is completely covered, and spread evenly.
3. Sprinkle a quarter-cup of the crushed peanuts on top of the layer of buttercream.
4. Place the second layer of cake on top of the peanuts and add another layer of buttercream and peanuts.
5. Place the remaining layer of cake on top, bottom side up. Cover the cake with a thin layer of buttercream and chill for about 15 minutes. This helps “glue” crumbs down, and seal in the cake’s moisture.
6. Frost with remaining frosting, or create a textured effect on the sides.
7. Use the pretzel-peanut mix to add around the bottom of the cake by gently pressing it along the side of the cake.
8. To add trees, use a toothpick to create holes in the top of the cake to place the Christmas tree trunk in. For added stability you could pipe some buttercream over the hole before inserting the tree trunk.
9. Dust with powdered sugar to create a snowy effect.