How to Make a Snowman Cake: An Easy, Fun Recipe for Kids to Decorate
An easy, cute cake to make at Christmas or on a snowy day.
If you're snowed in or looking for a fun Christmas cooking project, this adorable snowman cake is perfect. It's easy to make, can be made in any flavor you like, and the kids will have fun decorating him with different candies.
There's no need to buy a special snowman-shaped cake pan. You can easily piece a snowman together using two different-sized round cake pans and a small loaf pan. For the snowman cake in the photo, I used 9-inch and 6-inch round cake pans; however, any bigger/smaller combination of sizes would work. For the hat, I used a small rectangular loaf pan and cut the cake into three pieces as shown in the diagram below. The pieces came together easily to make an adorable snowman, with no special pan needed.
Not everyone has a 6-inch cake pan, however. I ended up with one when I decided I would make a tier cake for my daughter's first or second birthday. I had no idea how to stack the cakes properly and it was a disaster. I haven't attempted tiers since, but that little pan has come in handy again and again over the years. It's the perfect size for a half recipe of cornbread or brownies. I also sometimes line it with foil to reheat a single serving of leftovers for my lunch. It's small so it's inexpensive to purchase, and has proven to be a handy little addition ot my kitchen.
Although I use a cake mix to help keep this project quick and easy, I just about never use the pre-made frosting. I almost always make homemade buttercream frosting using real butter. This makes the cake so delicious and homemade-tasting that no one even notices the cake came from a mix.
The butter and the real vanilla in the frosting recipe tend to give the frosting an off-white tint. This doesn't bother me; the cake still looks white enough for a snowman, in my opinion. However, if you would like a completely colorless, white cake, I've included a video at the end of this article that gives a recipe for making bright white buttercream using Crisco shortening in place of butter and colorless imitation vanilla in place of real vanilla.This recipe is often used for wedding cakes or by cooks who don't want the off-white tint of real butter and vanilla throwing off the color of their tinted frostings. Some people also prefer the taste of Crisco buttercream. Personally, the thought of eating all that shortening doesn't sit well with me. Additionally, I prefer the taste of butter. Of course this is a matter of personal preference.
If you enjoy making this fun, easy cake, you'll love making this Easter Bunny cake at Easter. It's just as easy and adorable, and has become a much-anticipated Easter tradition in our home.
- 1 box cake mix, any flavor
- eggs, oil and water, per cake mix instructions
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 5-6 tabelespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- food coloring
- chocolate chips, jelly beans or other candies, for face, buttons, hat band, etc.
- 1 baby carrot, for nose
- 1 roll Froot by the Foot, for scarf
- 2 thick pretzel sticks, for arms. Branched real twigs would be very cute for this, also.
- white sugar glitter, optional
- Prepare cake batter as directed on cake mix box.
- Grease and flour one 9-inch round cake pan, one 6-inch round pan and one loaf pan, or spray them with Baker's Joy, a flour/oil combination cooking spray.
- Pour batter into prepared pans, filling all three pans as evenly in depth as possible. Bake the 9-inch cake as directed on the box, about 25-30 minutes. Bake the 6-inch cake and the loaf pan cake about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the top/middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Allow cakes to cool slightly, about 4-5 minutes, then carefully remove cakes from pans and place them on a large cutting board or cooling rack. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the rectangular cake that was baked in the loaf pan into three pieces as shown in the diagram. Leave the two round cakes intact.
- Arrange the cake pieces into a snowman shape, as shown in the diagram. I sometimes assemble it on a large cutting board, or sometimes on a large piece of heavy carboard that I have covered in foil. If you desire, to make the hat appear as though it is actually fitted onto the snowman's head, trim the brim pieces as shown in the bottom diagram, and piece together the head and hat pieces as shown. (When frosting the hat, spread the colored hat frosting across the top of the snowman's forehead, even with the hat's brim.)
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and milk with an electric mixer until light, fluffy and smooth. Divide the frosting so that you can color about 1/4 of it to frost the hat portion of the cake. Leave about 3/4 of the frosting white.
- Frost cake completely, being careful with cut edges, as they may crumble and mix crumbs into the frosting. Using a generous amount of frosting on these edges helps keep crumbs to a minimum. Use white frosting on the two round layers and colored frosting on the hat.
- Decorate the cake to resemble a snowman. Use black jellybeans for the eyes, and chocolate chips for the mouth and buttons. A baby carrot is a realistic touch as a nose. A roll of "Froot by the Foot" makes the perfect scarf around your snowman's neck. If you are handy with cake decorating tools, you might want to use colored icing to draw features on. Either way, get creative. A coating of white glitter sugar gives the snowman a beautiful, festive, snow-like glisten, but of course is not necessaty. We used jellybeans for the hatband, but you could also use Froot by the Foot to give him a hat band that matches his scarf.
- Be sure to take a photo of the finished cake before it is gobbled up!