Not sure when it started but for years now a lot of Christmas parties have taken on a specific theme. That theme being tacky/Ugly Christmas sweaters. Your job is to find the tackiest sweater to wear at this party. Most thrift stores put aside sweaters that fit this category to make your shopping easier and some retailers sell mass produced ugly sweaters. That are readily available now a days. But still fun none the less.
The young families group at our church just finished our family Christmas party, about 2 hours ago. lol. It had a very similar theme. Wear ugly Christmas sweaters. So one night my family went shopping at a local thrift store and we found our sweaters for $5 each. My 4 year old snagged a super snazzy one for $.50! The adult sweaters were definitely previously purchased at a popular retailer cause they were too trendy to be an Authentic tacky sweater. However, they were purchased and I love mine..I may wear it regularly this holiday season, on purpose.
Whenever there is a large gathering of people I see that as a good time to make cake! So I did. Why not make a tacky sweater cake?! It really was a super fun and EASY cake to decorate. So there is a little step by step on how I created the tacky sweater cake and how you can create one for your next party as well.
I wasn't entirely sure how many people would be there but figured it would be a larger group. I decided to make a 12x16 cake. I made it two layers, so there was more cake for everyone. ;)
I had planned on covering it in all red fondant but when I went to the Bulk Barn they were all out of the 2lbs tubs of red fondant. They did have it in Kelly green so we changed plans a bit. See I only ever buy fondant made by Virgin Ice. They are a Canadian company and they make wonderful rolled fondant and other baking products. I like the sizes of tubs you can purchase, they are cheaper then other brands and I LOVE the taste. When I was in the Bulk Barn a couple months ago I noticed they started carrying the 2lb tubs of fondant. Which is perfect when you are buying the pre coloured fondant. I normally buy a 4lb tub of white and then tint them myself. But when you need a larger amount in a specific colour I prefer the pre tinted stuff.
I also found that the 2lbs was the perfect amount to cover this size of cake. I would caution you though if you don't use fondant regularly. This was JUST enough. No wiggle room. My cake was thick so It just covered the sides of the cake. If you are nervous you can always buy the 4lb tubs and just store the extra for another day.
The hardest part of the whole thing is covering the entire cake in the green fondant. Once that is done it is smooth sailing. Time to get creative.
Here are all the products I used to achieved the end look. I have cookie cutters, a light bulb, reindeer and snowflakes. Next I have my food Wilton food writers, gel food coloring, black sparkle gel writer and decorative sugar pieces. I also had multiple paint brushes on hand.
I always love to experiment and try out different techniques. I've seen people water colour on fondant and wanted to give it a try. I started off by painting a small fondant flower I made using a silicone mold. I dipped my paint brush in the gel and then in the water. I wasn't sure how dark I wanted it, or how much water I needed so I just played around a bit. Tried more water at one time, more gel at another etc. I loved the look it created. I decided to do this on all of the pieces I cut out. As opposed to cutting them out of coloured fondant.
Let's go back to assembling the cake and I will show you how I added each element to the cake. I wanted to make it look like a v-neck cardigan style sweater. So I cut out a rounded triangle piece out of white fondant. All you need to secure your fondant pieces on is by brushing on some water to the back of the piece and stick it in place. The water makes the fondant sticky and once it's dry it will not go anywhere.
Next I cut out three long strips of green. I made them the thickness of a wooden school ruler. I then cut them to shape when placing them on the cake before I secured them. I used one for each side of the white and one down the middle. I then took a blunt end, like a butter knife, and made lines to give the effect of a ribbed collar. I had ordered this neat silicone model to made button shapes out of fondant, but it hadn't come in on time. So instead I used the sugar gingerbread men decorations from Wilton as the buttons. I placed three down the middle for the buttons.
I wasn't sure if this was going to be a male sweater or a female sweater. Would she have a pretty necklace or should he have a bow tie? I really liked the idea of a bow tie. So I made a red bow tie out of fondant and added white polka dots to make it extra classy!
Voila. Now this looks like a classy old mans' green sweater and a classy red and white bow tie. Now the easiest part is left.
At this point I wasn't sure what design I was going for. I knew I wanted to add a little pocket but that was it. For the pocket i just cut the shape out of white fondant. I then used the experimental red water colour flowers and placed them on top. I pretended they were poinsettia's. I then used my fancy food writers (edible markers if you will) to make a stitched design around the pocket and to make the green vines around the flowers. It made me so happy.
Then for the rest I just started cutting out pieces using the cookie cutters out of white fondant. I made a bunch and then starting painting them. I painted colourful Christmas light bulbs, I made a few reindeer and a few snowflakes. I also had the sugar santa's elf shoes. Once all my pieces were made I started placing them on the cake. I would take a step back and then rearrange them. I would walk away, come back and rearrange some more. I felt kind of crazy. I would walk into the kitchen and just stare. I would walk right back out and think about it some more. I finally place them the way I liked them so I started to 'glue' them on. There was now no going back. The final step was to connect the light bulbs together. I used a black glitter gel from Wilton as the string. I cleaned up any excess icing sugar using a paint brush. Ran a steamer over it a bit to make it a bit shinier. Then added the white pearls around the bottom for the finishing touch.
There you have it. The most delicious tacky Christmas sweater ever. Super simple!
It was a hit. So if you have an Ugly Christmas sweater party to attend why not wow them with your own creation. The best part is there are no rules. The tackier the better. If you make a mistake, just tell people you meant to do that. ;)