Decorating Our Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake

This weekend we enjoyed some quality family time getting creative… we decorated our Christmas Cake.

This was a cake I had made some two months previously. I had left it marinading in the rum, brandy and sherry that I had ‘fed’ it over that period. This has given it more moisture and a rich aroma. ;). To see how I made this cake please see my post Mum’s Christmas Cake.

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To Decorate, you will need.

What you need

1kg of white Royal Icing

500g of natural Marzipan

Royal Icing in various colours (we chose red, blue, green and yellow)

1tbsp of Apricot Jam (boiled in a pan and left to cool)

Icing Sugar

The white of 1 Egg

Your Cake (obviously)

and some tools for the job… rolling pin, icing smoother, sieve, icing piping set, cake base (unfortunately I couldn’t find a square one for love nor money so we had to make do with a round one)

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Start by preparing the cake for the marzipan and icing. Level it off on top to give it a more flatter surface. Then, brush over the cool, boiled apricot jam on all the surface areas.

Leveled off and covered in cool boiled apricot jam

Next, you need to prepare the marzipan. Before rolling it out, its best to knead the marzipan well, warming it up in your hands, this makes the marzipan softer and easier to work with. Use a sprinkling of sieved icing sugar on the work surface as this will stop it sticking to the surface. Then roll it out in to a circle of about 12x12inch with a depth of about 4mm.

Very carefully lift the marzipan onto the cake taking care not to tear it. Using your fingers, smooth it onto the cake along with an icing smoother. At the corners of the cake, nip the marzipan together before trimming it off with a knife. Smooth off again on all surfaces using the smoother.

Next it was time for the icing. Again, the icing needed warming up and kneading in the same way as the marzipan. I used 600g of the icing for this part.

Roll the icing out into a circle of about 12x12inch with a depth of about 6mm. Before putting it onto the cake, brush the marzipan with some boiled water. This helps the icing to stick to the cake. As before lift the icing into the cake, smooth it off round the edges and on top using your fingers and a smoother. Nip the icing at the corners of the cake the same as before with the marzipan and then trim it off with a knife and smooth off again.

Now you are ready for the main decorative part.

To make the icing to pipe onto your cake, you will need, 200g of icing sugar sieved into a bowl. Add the beaten white of 1 large egg and mix this in well. If the icing seems too runny, add more sieved icing sugar, it its too thick, add more egg white. But these quantities created for me, the best consistency. To find out if it is the right consistency, try forming spikes in the icing, if they hold well, then its right.

Slowly does it when it comes to the piping part. If you haven’t done this before, make extra icing and practice on the sideboard. Its also up to you what pattern you make round the edge. I chose a shell but you can use any that you like.

When you have finished piping and are happy with the results, put the cake to one side. By the time you have made the decorations for the top the piped icing will have set.

You are now ready to make your decorations for the top. We chose to do snowmen and a tree. You can choose any decoration, go wherever your creativity takes you. To connect the bits the of the snowman together ie the head to body, hat to head etc use the left over icing from the piping, it acts like a glue and sets hard holding everything together. For the eyes and buttons, we used the silver pearls that you can get on most bakery aisles in the supermarket.

Once the Snowmen are done, you need to make them their accessories.. hats, scarfs, gloves not forgetting their eyes, nose and buttons. Wriggler thought it would be good to have snowmen that resembled each of us using our favorite colours. So for us, Daddy was in Red; Mummy (me), Blue; Wriggler, red and Bruiser, Green!

For the carrot nose, mix some red and yellow icing together to create an orange colour. For the base of the tree mix red with green to create brown.

Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of the tree as we made it. It was very simple though. Make 4 different sized triangles (starting large-ish going slightly smaller) with the green icing and a cube for the base in brown. Not forgetting a star for the top. Connect them all together using cocktail sticks. We used the silver pearls again, this time for baubles.

Once all the snowmen and tree are complete, arrange them on the cake. We used the left over icing from the piping earlier to stick the figures onto the cake. For the tree, we used a couple more cocktail sticks through the center of the tree and stuck them into the cake.

For a finishing touch, we sprinkled sieved icing sugar on top to give the effect of snow that has fallen.

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Ta-da!

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