Ugly Sweater Cake with Lights

You’ll certainly want to bake this Christmas ugly sweater cake with lights. It’s simply so charming and enjoyable, and it’s not difficult to do. This step-by-step cake decorating lesson is quite simple to follow, and you’ll have a fantastic Christmas cake.

The ugly sweater cakes are my favorite. They’re simply so festive for Christmas, but I wanted to make mine a bit more unique.

I think it came out very lovely with the lights on it. I made use of balloon lights. (I’ll provide a link to them in the supplies list below.) They genuinely worked well and were simple to attach on the cakeno cables or anything else.

Of course, you could apply this concept to almost any design. I used a Christmas tree, but you could also use red lights for the nose of a reindeer. That would be adorable.

I believe putting it in a tissue paper lined box simply adds the final touch.

Ok lets get to the tutorial!

There’s also a video at the bottom of this page with all the information.

There are affiliate links in this post. I earn money as an Amazon Associate by making qualifying purchases.


  • Gift Box for Sweaters (17 x 11) You may get them on Amazon or at your local dollar shop. (I discovered some at Dollar Tree.)
  • Cake board or cardboard coated with fanci foil or contact paper (the cake board must be cut slightly smaller than the 17 x 11 box; see below for further information.)
  • Tissue paper
  • Baked 13 x 9 Cake Use whatever recipe you like; I chose a cake mix extender recipe since it provides you a little more cake batter, resulting in a thicker cake layer. Here’s one I made using a cake mix extender and pudding.
  • Optional melted candy melts for adhering the cake to the cake board.
  • Knife for trimming the cake
  • Buttercream in red, green, yellow, and white You may be interested in my tutorial on how to create dark tinted buttercream.
  • A buttercream smoother (recipe follows) and a tiny offset spatula
  • Piping bags
  • For the collar, Christmas tree, and cake border, use a #21 piping tip.
  • #18 piping tip for the star
  • #5 piping tip for the snow
  • (Just click to get the free printable Christmas tree template.)
  • Toothpicks & Scissors
  • A wooden dowel will be used to make holes in the cake for the lights.
  • Balloon lights multi colored
  • Plastic wrap that can be pressed and sealed (Press-n-seal works best since it has a sticky side and effectively covers the lights.)


First and foremost, you will need a sweater gift box. I used a 17 x 11 box, which appeared to work nicely.

Next, cut a cake board or other cardboard to a size somewhat smaller than the sweater box. The board must fit comfortably inside the gift box.

You should also wrap the cake board with either fanci foil (Wilton produces this) or white contact paper. I really wrapped mine in white wrapping paper first, followed by transparent contact paper.

More advice on covering cake boards may be found here.

Check that your board will fit comfortably inside your sweater box. You don’t want to have to deal with this after your cake is finished and on the board, so make sure it’s the right size now.

You’re not going to adorn the cake with the board in the box right now; you’re simply assessing the size.

Take the cake board out of the box and cover it with tissue paper. This will give it the appearance of a gift. As if you were giving this sweater as a present.

Bake a 13 x 9-inch cake and let it cool fully. The recipe I used to make a thicker cake layer is included in the supply list above.

Then, using a knife, gently bend the sides. Simply chop off the cake’s hard corners and edges to bend it like a folded sweater.

Cut one inch through the top of the cake on all sides, but leave the piece in the centre intact. This will be the sweater’s collar.

Chill the cake for around 20 minutes before applying a thin crumb layer of crimson buttercream and smoothing it.

I’m just cooling the cake because I sliced it, and chilling it keeps the crumbs from flying everywhere when you attempt to crumb coat it.

Once smooth, you can either leave the buttercream to firm up somewhat or place it in the refrigerator for approximately 15 minutes. The last layer of buttercream should be smoothed on top.

Okay, now for the DIY smoother I’m using: This is a plastic (acetate) folder that I cut into a square and rounded the corners using scissors. These are great for smoothing fondant and buttercream on carved cakes.

Once the last layer is flat, use your #21 piping tip to pipe the collar. (This is perhaps best shown in the video at the bottom of this page.)

Now, take your downloadable pattern (seen at the top of the article), cut it out (along with the star), and place it gently on top of the cake, tracing around it with a toothpick. (It helps if you can print your template on cardstock paper, which is thicker.)

You are no longer need to use the template. Go ahead and do your thing if you’re excellent at it. I’m not very good at it, so I rely on templates.

Now, using the wooden dowel, poke holes in your cake where you want the lights to go.

Pipe on the tree using your #21 frosting tip. You should begin at the bottom so that the leaves overlap properly.

Continue piping, taking care to avoid the areas where you drilled holes for your lights, but getting as near to them as possible.

Pipe the star using your #18 piping tip. For the star, I made two layers of buttercream stars. One appeared a little thin.

Set your cake aside and begin working on the balloon lights. It takes some tinkering to get these items to operate correctly.

Here’s how to make your balloon lights operate properly: Remove the plastic ring from each balloon light you want to use. (You’ll most likely just need 8-10 lights.)

Unscrew the lights, then remove the plastic covering surrounding the batteries and the little white circles.

You must remove the little batteries and cut the plastic wrap that surrounds them. Your lights will not turn on until you do this. It’s a nuisance, but you only need to do it for the 8-10 bulbs you’ll be using for the cake.

A plastic ring is wrapped around the exterior of the container. That adds too much mass, so leave it out. Replace all of the pieces in the lamp and screw it back together. You don’t need to include the spherical rubber.

The light should now turn on. It flashes several colors rapidly and is really bright. Screw them securely together.

If a light does not operate properly, make sure you removed the plastic from the batteries and the small white paper circles from the interior. I had a few that didn’t work, so I simply used a different light.

If you are not quite ready to put the lights on the cake, just unscrew the lights slightly and they will switch off. When you’re ready to install the lights, just screw them together securely.

According to the Amazon description, these lights will remain bright for around 4 hours. Reading the other reviews, mine kept lighted for around 8 hours, which seems to be rather usual.

When you’re ready to install the lights, just screw them securely together. Then, using press-n-seal wrap, cover the base (the silver section). I use it instead of conventional plastic wrap since the press-n-seal adheres to the bulb and does not fall off. It just forms an excellent seal.

Simply cut strips of press-n-seal and cover the base of each lamp, being sure to cover the bottom as well.

Simply insert them into the holes you cut with the wooden dowel. You want the light bulb to poke out somewhat, but make sure the silver section (the one coated in press-n-seal film) goes inside the cake.

Simply pipe a shell border around the bottom of the cake. If you need help with this, check out my cake border lesson here.

Simply place the cake in the box you made previously.

The tissue paper should then be fluffed or otherwise adjusted.

Finally, using your #5 piping tip, pipe on some little snow dots all over. This will add some flair to it.

That’s all! Isn’t it adorable and entertaining? Oh, and here’s the video that demonstrates all of the processes.


I hope you have a great time with this. I believe that both children and adults will like this dessert.

Dont Forget to Pin it Below!


What day is National ugly sweater day?

Every third Friday of December (December 16), individuals around the country exchange their casual attire for something more festive in honor of National Ugly Sweater Day.

Are ugly Christmas sweaters still popular?

Ugly Christmas sweaters were formerly reserved for your grandmother’s wardrobe, but today they’re embraced and flaunted by many.

What year did the ugly sweater day trend become a thing?

It wasn’t until the 1980s that the item became popular. Pop culture and comedy were responsible for the transformation, with wacky dad figures like Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” transforming the holiday sweater into an uncomfortably but charming statement of happiness.

How do you wash a sweater with LED lights?

Q: Can I wash this sweater without destroying the lights? The lights are water resistant. Hand washing and hanging drying are the recommended methods.

What do you wear on ugly sweater day?

In addition to your ugly Christmas (or Chanukah) sweater, you may put on a Santa cap, red leggings, and elf shoes.

Who started the ugly sweater trend?

From 1984 until 1992, The Cosby Show dominated mainstream American television and most certainly contributed to the survival of the ugly sweater as a fashion option. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, released in 1989, emphasized the example of self-aware ugly Christmas sweater wearers.

What is a tacky Christmas sweater?

So, what constitutes an ugly Christmas sweater? To begin with, an ugly Christmas sweater is any sweater with a Christmas motif that is deemed in poor taste, garish, or flashy. The more decorations (or, depending on who you ask, the better themed), the better.

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