Christmas Cake Part 2
Time, and Christmas, waits for no man, or woman. Isn’t that how the expression goes? Time is getting away from me, I thought I had another 3 weeks until Christmas week, but it’s barely 2. So, I thought I would get ahead of myself and ice my Christmas Cake, and share my modest tips with you so you can crack on with yours.
Decorating anything is not my forté. In Clyde’s humble *and slightly obnoxious* opinion my food tastes amazing, but I do suffer with my sloppy finishing. Not so, however, when it comes to Christmas Cake. And this is for several reasons a) no real skill’s involved just some rolling of pre made marzipan and fondant icing b) you can cover any crappy bits with a generous snowfall of edible glitter and c) who bloody cares what it looks like, the brandy soaked Christmas Cake is going to taste amazing regardless. All that’s needed to complete your triumphant seasonal bake is some apricot jam and another splash of your Brandy to slather the top of your cake like a sort of tasty glue. Next, just roll out your marzipan and fondant and do a bit of creative cutter work, and that’s it. I took my lead from Delia Smith and my O’Level Home Economics teacher for this, with thanks.
With your Christmas Cake iced, that’s another job to tick off your endless to do list. Now all you have to do is wait another week or so before you start eating it. Or join me on my ‘sod it it’s Christmas’ programme and start it now.
Nothing to be scared of here, apart from the amount of Brandy I have been feeding my Christmas Cake with over the past few weeks.
It’s rich, dark and smelling totally festive. It is time, however, to make it look beautiful.
Make a start on this by heating a heaped tablespoon of apricot jam with a tablespoon of brandy. Just give it 30 seconds in the microwave or a brief stir in a pan on the hob.
Stir well then brush your christmas cake all over with the mixture with a cake brush. My cakes top was a little lumpy so I turned my cake over, so it was bottom side up, to create a nice flat surface to ice.
Next, dust a work surface with a little icing sugar and mould your marzipan into a rough circle. My school cookery teacher always said whatever you are rolling out, start with the dough/icing/pastry in the shape you want to end up with.
Roll the marzipan into a large circle, measuring around 6cm/2 inches larger than your cake. In another teacher style tip, for ease of transport, roll the marzipan back over the rolling pin then lay onto your cake.
I know mine’s not exactly circular, but you know what I’m like.
Press the marzipan down over the cake and lift any folds up and press them out to create a smooth-ish coating. Trim the edges and press the marzipan into the base of the cake to create a neat-ish edge.
Next, roll the fondant icing out. Dust your board with more icing sugar and roll the icing out into an even layer, bigger than your now marzipanned cake.
Re-roll the icing back over your rolling pin then lay over the top of your cake. As with the marzipan, press the icing down over the cake and press out any folds to create a smooth-ish surface.
Trim the edges, keeping the scraps for further decoration, roll the top with the rolling pin to level it and tuck the icing in around the bottom of the cake to neaten the whole business.
Now it’s really up to you where you go from here. I keep it simple with some icing stars, but you can do what you like. Angels, hearts, Christmas trees, silver balls, or just an old school Father Christmas figurine.
Stick them onto your cake with a tiny dab of apricot jam. Then, in a final flourish, use some wide festive ribbon to go around the waist of the cake, attaching it with a couple of pins *don’t eat these for goodness sake*.
I used just a sprinkling of edible silver glitter to finish off my Christmas Cake. This will distract from any minor imperfections and add some festive glamour.
I have shown a modicum of restraint and popped my Christmas Cake back in the tin for at least another week. It would, after all, be unacceptable to only offer a handful of crumbs with a cup of tea on Christmas day.
Christmas Cake Part 2
You will just need a rolling pin, some wide ribbon and 2 pins
Heaped tablespoons apricot jam
1 tablespoon brandy
500g white fondant icing
Icing sugar for dusting
Edible glitter, silver balls, lustre spray to decorate, it’s up to you
Take a small bowl and add a tablespoon of apricot jam and brandy. Briefly warm in the microwave of the pan and stir well. Brush this all over your Christmas Cake so it acts as a glue for the marzipan.
Dust a work surface with some icing sugar and roll out your marzipan into a circle around 6cm or 2 inches bigger than your cake. Lay this over your cake and press into the sides and the top of the cake. Press out any folds, so it forms a flat covering. Roll the top with a rolling pin to flatten the top.
Repeat this process with the fondant icing, reserving the trimmings for further decoration. Place the cake on your stand or board. Cut any festive shapes, such as stars or angels, from your icing trimmings and use a tiny dot of the jam mixture to stick them onto your cake.
Take a large piece of ribbon and tie around the waist of your cake, securing with two pins. Dust with a smattering of edible glitter then either keep until Christmas, or start as you mean to go on and tuck in now.