Ideas for How to Decorate a Round Christmas Cake

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Christmas cakes, dotted with sweet candies or sprinkled with colorful edibles, can create a festive centerpiece for your holiday table. From the simplest colored icings to more elaborate seasonal displays, some Christmas cake decorations are especially suited to round cakes. Plan and shop for your special cake in advance to be sure you have on hand all the elements you need for a beautiful holiday treat.

Holiday Floral Designs

The rich colors of red poinsettias or deep green holly and trailing ivy can enliven any white-iced round cake. A frothy whipped cream cake topping creates a dramatic background for a wreath of candy ivy or holly leaves around a single-layer Christmas cake, randomly dotted with tiny red cinnamon beads to represent holly berries. For multilayer cakes, perch a single candy red poinsettia atop the cake, and press overlapping poinsettias into the icing to cascade along the layers to the cake base.

Colorful Edibles

A round Christmas cake with sweet gingerbread cookies dressed in red skirts, shirts and pants, and outlined in green and white icing is sure to delight even the youngest visitors to your holiday table. Let the little ones help you make the cookies, pressed out of plain sugar cookie dough with cookie cutters. A few drops of red food coloring in a bowl of sugar icing will provide the skirts and shirts. Add a little snip of green ribbon to highlight the cookie girl’s hair and press gumdrops and tiny candy canes into the icing for a festive background. A white-iced round cake can be adorned with a single large holiday tree-shaped cookie that's covered in green-tinted icing and dotted with dozens of colorful bright metallic-style sugar candy "ornaments." Drizzle icing in contrasting colors on little square cookies under the tree to represent wrapped and ribbon-tied presents.

Seasonal Activities

Round Christmas cakes lend themselves to a host of decorations depicting snow-season activities, such as ice skating, tree trimming and snowman building. The key to a snowy Christmas cake icing is a whipped cream topping, layered on top of or even instead of the icing. After allowing 15 minutes in the refrigerator for the cream-topped cake to set, shake shredded coconut over it. You can use edible candies or plastic miniatures to create a holiday seasonal scene. Create a snowy skating scene by securing a small round mirror atop the cake and sprinkling it with powdered sugar. Use icing to secure little plastic skaters, a marshmallow snowman and a few plastic woodland animals to the scene. Alternatively, encircle the cake sides with festive, glittery strands of wide craft ribbon, pulling them up to create a stand-up ribbon tree on the cake top, with a pair of gingerbread children trimming the tree beside it.

Traditional Holiday Story Themes

Traditional Christmas stories, such as Santa and Father Christmas, animals speaking at midnight, the Nutcracker, the 12 Days of Christmas and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Christmas in the Big Woods” offer a host of themes that are easily adapted to scenes on a Christmas cake. Cake decorating squeeze bags let you use many different colored icings to draw a symbol, such as a partridge in a pear tree, atop an iced cake; the other 11 days can be depicted in plastic press-on designs around the cake rim or sides. Holiday cookie or animal cracker-animals huddled around a green Christmas tree might include turkeys, peacocks, geese and hens, cows and sheep, as well as bright red cardinals and the peace dove, and can provide dramatic color against a white-iced cake sprinkled with coconut. Spell your child’s name in green icing on a single large red stocking decorated in sparkling edible beads and trimmed in icing “lace” with a cookie teddy bear peeking over the top.