Decorating a Christmas Cake

Ingredients

  • Equipment
  • 25cm/10in round cake board
  • 10in cardboard cake box to store your cake
  • rolling pin
  • small sharp knife
  • pastry brush
  • 20 cm / 8 inch rich fruit cake
  • 100ml brandy
  • 2 x 500g pack wheat free natural marzipan
  • icing sugar
  • 1kg ready to roll icing or
  • for Royal Icing
  • 1 sachet powdered pure egg white (fortified egg white powder or Meri-white contains wheat)
  • 60ml water
  • 300g icing sugar

How to make this recipe dairy free?

Need some advice on ingredients see -
The wheat, gluten and lactose free store cupboard

Method

Trim the very top off the fruit cake, turn upside down and place onto the cake board.

Check the cake is level, if not turn back the other way round and trim a bit more off until the cake is level.

Brush the top of the cake with brandy and turn back upside down onto the cake board.

If there is a gap between the bottom edge of the cake and the cake board, make a sausage of marzipan and fill the gap. Trim the excess marzipan away.

If there are any big holes in the cake where the fruit has come away, ‘plug’ these with bits of marzipan.

Brush the cake with brandy, wipe any excess from the cake board with kitchen roll

Knead the marzipan and bring together into a ball shape.

Dust the worktop with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan as you would pastry until it is ¼ inch thick and large enough to cover the cake, move the marzipan around between rolls and dust the table underneath with a little more icing sugar if necessary so the marzipan doesn’t stick to the table.

Lift the marzipan and place over the cake, rub the top of the cake to stick the marzipan to it and ensure there are no air pockets.

Once the top is stuck, start moulding the marzipan to the side of the cake. There shouldn’t be any creases. If the marzipan folds up pull it away from the cake with your hand underneath, flatten the piece then push it back onto the side of the cake and rub with your hand until smooth.

Trim the marzipan where it meets the board with a sharp knife and smooth the edge with your hand.

Leave to dry in the cake box ideally for five days but if you are short for time two days will be sufficient before covering with icing.

To use roll out icing – brush the marzipanned cake with brandy.

Knead the roll out icing until soft and pliable. Roll into a ball.

Dust the worktop with icing sugar and roll out the icing as you did the marzipan and cover the cake as before. Using your hand smooth the icing over the cake and the cake board and trim at the edge of the board with a small sharp knife.

If you didn’t have enough sugarpaste to cover the cake and the board, Trim the icing at the bottom of the cake where it meets the cake board and smooth the edge.

Roll the leftover sugarpaste into a long sausage shape. Roll flat to ¼ inch thick and wide enough to cover the cake board.

Trim one side of the paste and butt up to the side of the cake. Wrap around the cake covering the cake board and trim the edge.

Make Christmas models or use cutters to make Christmas shapes to decorate your cake with the roll out icing or marzipan. The sugarpaste can be coloured with paste food colours available from specialist sugarcraft shops.

For a simple decoration you could wrap a small bunch of cinnamon sticks with ribbon and simply place on top of the cake. Run a Christmas ribbon around the bottom edge of the cake.

Royal Icing

Mix together the egg white powder and water in a clean, grease free bowl and leave for 30 minutes to completely dissolve.

Mix in the icing sugar and beat slowly using a food mixer until it is a thick meringue consistency. This should take about 10 minutes. Use straight away. Store any leftover icing in a sealed glass container (plastic bowls hold on to grease which affects the royal icing and stops it whisking to firm peaks). Beat again before reusing.

To roughly cover the marzipanned cake with royal icing – completely cover the cake using a palette knife. Make patterns with your palette knife and leave to dry. Store in a cool dry place.

how to make this recipe dairy free...

Make your fruit cake using dairy free margarine in place of butter.

Gem's hints and tips

Ask at your local bakery if they will sell you a box or buy from a sugarcraft supplier.  

If you store an iced cake in a plastic storage container the icing will go soggy.

If you want to display your cake all Christmas. Buy a large sheet of cellophane from a local florist. Sit the decorated cake in the centre of the cellophane, bring each corner together over the top of the cake and tie with a length of ribbon.