Chocolate Christmas Village Cake

Photography: Tango | Food Styling: Nataly Simard | Prop Styling: Caroline Simon

This season is all about over-the-top indulgent desserts, and this one definitely takes the cake!

  • Prep time 45 minutes
  • Total time 3 hours
  • Portion size 16 servings


Orange Icing:


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside. In large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Using electric mixer on medium speed, beat in eggs, oil, vanilla and 1 1⁄2 cups hot water until smooth. Fold in melted chocolate.

Divide batter among prepared pans; bake until cakes bounce back when lightly touched, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes. Invert onto racks; peel off parchment paper. Let cool completely. (Make-ahead: Can be stored at room temperature in plastic wrap for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 1 month.)

Orange Icing

In large bowl using electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese with butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix in orange zest and juice; beat in icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, until smooth.

Using serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to level, if necessary. Arrange strips of waxed paper around edge of serving plate. Place 1 cake on plate, cut side up; spread with 11⁄4 cups of the icing. Repeat layers. Place final cake on top, cut side down. Spread remaining icing over top and sides. Remove strips of waxed paper. (Make-ahead: Can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before decorating.) Gently press Chocolate Shortbread Cookies into side of cake.

Test Kitchen Tip: When assembling the cake, use toothpicks to help support the cookies, if necessary.


Photography: Tango | Food Styling: Nataly Simard | Prop Styling: Caroline Simon


Chocolate Shortbread Cookies



  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1⁄2 cup sifted cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

Basic Icing

  • 1 1⁄2 cups icing sugar (approx)
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice (approx)



In large bowl, using electric mixer on medium speed, beat icing sugar, butter, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt until light and fluffy. Mix in flour at low speed until dough comes together (if dough is too crumbly, add water, 1 tbsp at a time). Divide dough into 2 portions and shape into discs. (Make-ahead: Can be covered and refrigerated for up to 8 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before continuing with recipe.)

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Between 2 pieces of waxed paper, roll out 1 portion of dough to 1⁄3-inch thickness. Using thin knife, cut out 8 houses, 3 to 6 inches high and 1 1⁄2 to 21⁄2 inches wide, rerolling scraps once. Repeat with remaining dough. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate until cookies are firm, about 15 minutes.

Bake on top and bottom racks of oven, rotating and switching sheets halfway through, about 20 minutes. Transfer to racks; let cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes. Transfer cookies directly to racks; let cool completely.

Basic Icing

In bowl, combine enough of the icing sugar and lemon juice to make thick icing that is still runny enough to pipe over cookies (if icing is too runny, add more icing sugar; if icing is too thick, add more lemon juice.) Transfer icing to piping bag fitted with small flat tip. Decorate cookies as desired; let stand until icing is set, about 1 hour.

Makes about 16 cookies.

Nutritional facts PER SERVING: about

  • Iron 4 mg
  • Fibre 4 g
  • Sodium 600 mg
  • Sugars 93 g
  • Protein 10 g
  • Calories 1,250
  • Total fat 60 g
  • Cholesterol 150 mg
  • Saturated fat 8 g
  • Total carbohydrate 167 g
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Baking & Desserts

Chocolate Christmas Village Cake