Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Easy Christmas Table Decor Ideas and A Simple Candy Cane Chocolate Cake With Fudge Icing (vegan recipe)

Easy Christmas Table Decor Ideas

I'm always a little shocked when I hear the first Christmas songs playing over the mall sound system. It strikes me as waaay too early! But then suddenly, in the blink of an eye, Christmas is almost here and I'm not nearly as prepared as I want to be. Fortunately I've got my Christmas table decorations all set. I partnered with beloved Canadian retailer Giant Tiger to put together a beautiful, budget-friendly festive Christmas table. Read on to see how I built my table decor step by step from the tablecloth on up.

I also have a new recipe for you - it's a simple vegan chocolate cake with fudge icing and crushed candy canes on top. I like this recipe because it requires only common ingredients and it's not difficult at all to prepare. In fact, this cake is quite easy to make, and yet your friends and family - especially the kids - will be impressed by its festive appearance, thanks to the candy canes.

*This post is sponsored by Giant Tiger. All opinions are authentic and my own. Thank you for supporting the awesome companies that partner with Woman in Real Life.*
Easy Christmas Table Decor Ideas

To start, I want to note that I bought some of my Christmas table decor items from Giant Tiger online and some from my local store. (I even had a little shop at the Giant Tiger store in my mom's town while I was visiting my parents, because their store has slightly different offerings.)

When I'm putting together table decor for any season, I naturally start with the table covering(s). In this case, I was smitten with this deer printed tablecloth from Giant Tiger. This festive tablecloth comes in grey, red and taupe. I chose grey because I wanted to add red accents to the table and I didn't want the red to be overwhelming. The tablecloth is not quite long enough for my table, so I first covered the table with a white tablecloth that I already owned, and then I laid the deer tablecloth over top across the width of the table rather than across the length, to act as a table runner. Um, and did I mention this tablecloth is only 12 bucks (pun intended)?

Easy Christmas Table Decor Ideas

After the table covering, my next step is the centrepiece. (You can see how I created previous centrepieces using items from GT's plant department in my Thanksgiving table decor post and my spring table decor post.)

For my Christmas table decor, there was no question of what I would use for a centrepiece after I spotted this Danson Decor Decorative Mixed Berry Candle Holder. With gorgeous faux greenery, pine cones, berries, ribbons and five candle holders, it makes for a striking statement on your holiday table. This is more of an investment piece than the other items on my table, but it can be used for years to come. Besides looking gorgeous on your Christmas table, I think it would look lovely atop an armoire or china cabinet too.

Easy Christmas Table Decor Ideas

And then it's on to the plates. I used my everyday white plates from Giant Tiger as a foundation and then added festive, fun antler and plaid plates on top. (There are four unique cabin-inspired designs to choose from.) I couldn't choose between the toque/antler plates and the plaid plates so I ordered a set of each and mixed them on the table.

Easy Christmas Table Decor Ideas

I also chose cabin-inspired wine glasses, printed with toque-wearing deer, for an added touch of whimsy. Although they are wine glasses, I'm using those for water and these traditional Paşabahçe wine glasses ($5 a box!) for wine. 

Easy Christmas Table Decor Ideas

Here are the plaid plates I mentioned. I put a white paper doily between each small plate and the larger white plates. I had some red charger plates in my cupboard and I put them under the toque and antler plates, but I felt like there was too much red when I put them under these plaid plates. 

Easy Christmas Table Decor Ideas

For cutlery/flatware, I went with vintage pieces that my mom gave me. I like to mix in a few vintage items when setting a celebratory table, because I think it makes your space feel more lived in and it also pays tribute to generations of family.

I trimmed ribbons from burlap garland and tied them around the fork-and-knife pairings with twine. I then placed the cutlery pairs over white cotton napkins that I already owned.

Easy Christmas Table Decor Ideas

While shopping in-store at Giant Tiger, I couldn't resist the snowmen tea towel. Tea towels are a great, inexpensive way to add a festive touch to your decor. (And they don't take up much room in storage either!)

Easy Christmas Table Decor Ideas

I also found this cute bamboo Christmas tree board and spreader

Easy Christmas Table Decor Ideas

The Paşabahçe pitcher with red lid was only $5 so I honestly expected it to be plastic inside the box. But it's a lovely glass pitcher, which I filled with water and orange and lemon slices. 

Easy Christmas Table Decor Ideas

The red LED candle lanterns that I chose for my Thanksgiving table worked perfectly once again for my Christmas table decor.

Easy Christmas Table Decor Ideas

All in all, my Christmas table was super simple to put together, but I think it has a lot of festive impact from some carefully chosen red pieces. I feel like people sometimes shun red at Christmastime nowadays, but I still love to use it as an accent colour. I also wanted a bit of a playful touch for this table, to make it family-friendly. The cabin-inspired pieces are great for that.

Easy Christmas Table Decor Ideas

Here is our Christmas table with the candles and lanterns lit. (As always, for safety, don't leave candles unattended.) It's so nice to dim the lights and enjoy the warm glow of candles over dinner. 

Simple Candy Cane Chocolate Cake With Fudge Icing (vegan recipe)

And then it's time for dessert! Personally I favour desserts that are not difficult to make, but still look nice. (In other words, I'm not going for the professionally decorated look. If you can do that, though, more power to you.)



This simple chocolate cake with fudge icing and candy cane topping calls for basic ingredients like white flour, cocoa, sugar (Redpath sugar is vegan-friendly btw), baking powder, baking soda and oil, all of which I was able to purchase while shopping for my holiday table decor at Giant Tiger. They have candy canes too - these ones are cherry-flavoured but you can go with traditional peppermint too. Jam for the centre of the cake layers is optional but a nice touch in my opinion (although my daughter disagrees). 

Simple Candy Cane Chocolate Cake With Fudge Icing (vegan recipe)

I based this easy cake recipe on a traditional chocolate cake recipe by Edna Staebler. This is a vegan version, so it works well for those who avoid dairy and eggs because of allergies or personal choice. (Your friends and family won't know the difference!) I used soy milk but any non-dairy beverage will do. I also used flax "eggs," very simply made by mixing ground flax with water and letting the mixture sit for a few minutes to thicken.

Simple Candy Cane Chocolate Cake With Fudge Icing (vegan recipe)

The fudge icing is created with a very simple quick-boil technique. It ends up looking a bit hardened like a chocolate glaze, but it's thicker than glaze and easy to apply to the cake. Bake this cake in two 8-inch round pans for a small layer cake that will easily serve eight to 10 people.

Simple Candy Cane Chocolate Cake With Fudge Icing (vegan recipe)

I like to slightly trim off the top of the bottom chocolate cake layer and spread it with strawberry jam and fudge icing. (You could make the bottom layer even flatter, but I don't like to waste too much cake!)

Simple Candy Cane Chocolate Cake With Fudge Icing (vegan recipe)

Break up the candy canes by putting them in a small plastic bag and rolling over them with a rolling pin or hitting them with a kitchen mallet. Press the candy cane pieces and crumbs into the chocolate fudge icing before it cools (and hardens) completely.

I hope you will try out the recipe for this simple candy cane chocolate cake with fudge icing. If you do, let me know how it goes!

My thanks to Giant Tiger, Canadian-owned discount retailer of fashion, food and decor, for partnering with me once again to create a beautiful celebratory table and dessert recipe.


Questions for you


What kinds of things do you like to buy at GT? Are you hosting Christmas dinner this year? What are the elements you like to include on a festive table? Jam in your cake or no jam?


Pin it for later:


A Simple Candy Cane Chocolate Cake With Fudge Icing (vegan recipe)


Simple Candy Cane Chocolate Cake With Fudge Icing (vegan)


Simple Candy Cane Chocolate Cake With Fudge Icing (vegan recipe)

by Joann MacDonald


Ingredients (1 8-inch round two-layer cake)
  • 2 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup canola, light olive or grapeseed oil
  • ¼ cup vegan margarine
  • 4 rounded tablespoons cocoa
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup soy milk mixed with 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax mixed with 6 tablespoons water (let gel for at least 5 minutes)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Jam for filling (optional)
  • 4 to 5 full-size candy canes for topping, crushed (put in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush)
Chocolate Fudge Icing
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • ¼ cup soy milk or other non-dairy beverage
  • ¼ cup vegan margarine
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour and sugar. Line two 8-inch round baking pans with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

In a small pot over medium heat, combine oil, margarine, cocoa and water. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Pour over the flour mixture. Do not stir. Add soy/vinegar mixture, flax eggs and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda over the top. With an electric hand mixer, beat until well combined. (Or mix vigorously by hand.)

Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool.

For Chocolate Fudge Icing

In a small pot over medium heat, stir together sugar and cocoa. Stir in the milk until well combined. Add margarine and stir together as mixture heats. Boil for a minute and remove from heat immediately. Put the pot in cold water in the sink or a larger pot to cool quickly. Stir in vanilla. Beat with electric hand mixer until the icing is thick and creamy. (Icing will set further on cake.)

To Assemble Cake

Trim round top off one layer of chocolate cake to act as the bottom of the cake. Spread with jam and icing. Place second cake layer on top and spread entire cake with fudge icing.

Press candy cane pieces/crumbs into icing before it sets completely. Icing will set as it cools. 

11 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness Joann! I can't take all the beauty. Everything looks so wonderful. Can I come over please? :)
    -Jane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thank you Jane! You definitely CAN come over. :)

      Delete
  2. I love the table we are more laid back in my family but I will definitely be trying out the cake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sandra! Well, the food is the most important part! ;)

      Delete
  3. i would love to make this candy cane chocolate cake for the holidays and i love that its vegan. also i really love your home decor for christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  4. what a great post! I love Giant Tiger.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just love that center piece!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Absolutely gorgeous!! Just beautiful :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. so festive and beautiful, love the dinnerwear and the cake looks divine!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love holiday decor. I always check out the tableware when I'm in store but I honestly do not have anywhere to store it. That's why I go without.

    ReplyDelete
  9. How I love that table decor with the pinecones!

    ReplyDelete