Saturday, 19 November 2011

How to Decorate a Christmas Cake


Is the prospect of covering your first Christmas Cake a bit daunting, if so then this the post for you! This is the first time I have properly iced a Christmas Cake and I found it very enjoyable, you do however need some time to do this. It took me from start to finish about 90 minutes, but it's so satisfying and I was really proud bringing it out for my family on Christmas day. I used Delia's Classic Christmas Cake recipe, and it's a beautiful rich cake.

Recipe adapted from  Waitrose website

Served 8-10

8 inch Fruit cake
1tbsp Apricot jam
1tbsp Armagnac or brandy
700g Marzipan
500g Ready to roll white icing
A little icing sugar
Silver balls to decorate  
10inch Cake board
A set of 3 star cookie cutters or use the template (details below)

Place the cake on the cake (upside down if you prefer a smoother top) board, securing it with a small amount of marzipan which sticks it to your cake board.

Then melt the jam with the Armagnac or brandy in a small saucepan, stirring until all the lumps have dissolved. Now, using a brush, coat the surface of the cake quite generously with the melted mixture.

Take the marzipan and roll it out  (about 30cm circle) on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar and place this over the top of the cake.

Use a cake smoother to polish the cake (last year I used the lid off my butter dish to smooth out all the lumps and bumps, lightly dust with icing sugar beforehand!). Any bits of marzipan or icing on the cake smoother will leave marks on your finished cake, so keep it clean! Repeat this step with the icing, and place it over the marzipan. Smooth again with the cake smoother and trim.

Using the cutters, cut out one star of each size from the remaining rolled out icing, dampen one side of the largest star with cold water and then place it right side up in the centre the of the cake. I have no cutters so I used a template. You can download here a star template. I traced it onto parchment paper and then cut them out (this is all very Blue Peter!) Then repeat with the medium and small stars.

Decorate the edges of the cake and the stars with silver balls, using a little water mixed with a little icing sugar as a glue to keep the silver balls in place.

I used a tweezers for this job because the silvers balls are tiny and secondly the shine rubs off if you handle them too much.  Space the balls evenly around the top edge of the cake.

Water will stick the balls to the edge, just use a clean paint brush to wet the area first.

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