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Fall Leaf Cake

Prep Time:

35 mins.

Cook Time:

25 mins.


1 Layer Cake

Customize our popular 1-2-3-4 Layer Cake (it’s the cake recipe on the back of the Swans Down box) for any occasion or season with different frostings, fillings and toppings. This Fall Leaf Cake celebrates the arrival of beautiful autumn foliage with the help of some food coloring, a leaf tip (for piping frosting into leaf designs) and festive sprinkles.


CAKE (Customized 1-2-3-4 LAYER CAKE)

    • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
    • 3 cups sifted Swans Down Cake Flour
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 cup milk (whole or low fat)
    • 3 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    • 8 cups Mousseline Buttercream Frosting (recipe follows)
    • Food coloring (yellow, brown, red and green)
    • Sprinkles (fall colors)

    Makes 4 cups.
    (Note: Fall Leaf Cake requires 8 cups of this frosting, so make 2 batches.)

    • 4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 5 large egg whites, room temperature
    • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
    • 1/3 cup liqueur (any flavor, optional)


  1. MAKE CAKE: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour 3 (9-inch) layer pans.
  2. SIFT flour and then lightly spoon 3 cups of the flour into large measuring cup.
  3. CREAM butter in large bowl. Gradually add sugar, creaming until light and fluffy. Sift the already-sifted cake flour with baking powder and salt. Add eggs one at a time to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with milk and extracts, blending after each addition until smooth. (Do not over beat as this will yield a dry cake.)
  4. POUR into prepared pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tester inserted into cake comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and finish cooling on racks.
  5. MAKE FROSTING: (Note: This cake recipe requires 2 batches of frosting recipe.) Bring sugar and water to boil in heavy bottomed sauce pan and heat until it reaches soft ball stage (265℉).
  6. WHISK egg whites and cream of tartar together while sugar is heating, using a mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk until firm peaks form.
  7. REMOVE hot sugar from stove and pour into heat resistant measuring cup. With the mixer on, slowly pour hot sugar into bowl of egg whites, avoiding hitting the whisk. Keep whisking on high until the egg-white mixture is completely cooled.
  8. MIX in butter slowly, in small amounts, waiting for each addition to be incorporated before adding more, until all butter is incorporated. Add liqueur, if desired.
  9. DECORATE CAKE: Frost cake with buttercream frosting as desired (swirls, smooth, naked, piped, etc.) Divide remaining frosting into small bowls and mix different food colorings into frosting to make desired leaf colors. Transfer colored frostings into piping bags, attach leaf tips to piping bags and pipe leaves onto cake. Add sprinkles.

Have fun! The leaves don’t have to be perfect; think of the cake as a mosaic representing leaves. If you do not have enough leaf tips you can place your tip on an empty piping bag and place a bag with colored frosting into the bag with the tip, pipe the leaves, and remove bag with frosting and replace it with another color of frosting without having to remove the tip from the bag each time.