Christmas Cake Part 2 – Decorating Ideas


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Hello my lovelies! Ten days to go! The perfect time to get those beautiful cakes you’ve made dressed up for the party. My decorating skills are fairly basic so these ideas are all simple and require no fancy equipment. Bonus. They are based on my childhood Christmas cakes and offer differing amounts if icing coverage depending on your taste. The iced cakes all use plain white and almond flavoured fondant. This is both nostalgic and practical. Fruit cake is one of the only cakes that I like fondant on as I find it too heavy and sweet for much else. In NZ for the longest time there was one brand of ready to roll icing, King. I still believe it has the nicest flavour of what we can get here. The gloriously fake flavour of their almond icing tastes of Christmas to me but please feel free to use actual marzipan if you have it or prefer it. Three different options with differing levels of sugar and effort follow. Allons-y!

F*** It, I’m busy…

Equipment: Scissors

Supplies: Ribbons, small pins, diamantes, holly leaves, small pinecones

I feel like this is here to give everyone permission to take the simple route. If you don’t like icing on your fruit cake or can’t be bothered, or don’t have time, you. can. just. not. It’s your cake do what you like. Because this cake is so beautiful, rustic and richly burnished on it’s own then we can let it shine. So let’s just tie a ribbon around it and call it a day.

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For best results use a fairly ‘plastic-y’ ribbon that won’t absorb moisture on the outside of the cake. Use a ribbon that works with the rest of your Christmas theme (if that’s a thing you do..) and go to town. Some pretty additions: stick on diamantes, holly leaves and tiny pinecones. Layer up ribbons that go together for a more luxe look.

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Use small push-pins or sewing pins to secure ribbons at the back of the cake. My favourite are these small dressmaking pins. You can get them at any craft store.

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And you’re done. Time to get all the other bajillion things done.

Sweet but not too sweet…

Equipment: Baking paper, rolling pin, cake pan from baking the cakes, small knife, toothpick

Supplies: White and almond fondant, snowflake sprinkles. 50-50 mix of cornstarch and icing sugar

If you want a little added sweetness, but don’t want to go overboard then this gorgeous snow-cap is the way to go. When rolling fondant, roll on baking paper, and if you find it sticking use a little icing sugar sifted together with cornstarch. Add only the tiniest bit so it doesn’t dry out and crack.

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If you want an almond layer then roll out the almond flavoured fondant and cut a circle using the original cake pan as a guide.

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Brush the top of the cake with a little pale jam like apricot or marmalade.

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Add the almond layer.

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Roll out the white fondant to about 3 mm thick. Using the cake pan as a guide, use a toothpick to mark the size of the top of the cake. Using a small sharp knife cut a wavy border that looks like melty snow.

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Brush the top of the almond layer with a little water to help the white stick to it. Carefully lift the cut out off the baking paper and place it bottom side up on top of the cake to hide the circle you marked on it.

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Using your fingertips gently fold the edges down the side of the cake and smooth the edges of the ‘drips’. Adorn the top with snowflake sprinkles.

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Sweet and simple wins the day…

Equipment: Baking paper, rolling pin, cake pan from baking the cakes, small knife, toothpick

Supplies: White and almond fondant, snowflake sprinkles. 50-50 mix of cornstarch and icing sugar, decorations for the top, ribbons for the side

This is the sugariest and most reminiscent of my childhood. A full smooth covering of snowy white. Traditionally and practically a ribbon adorns the side. Hiding any imperfections. Add whatever simple decorations to the top that you like. Here I’ve used a bell cookie cutter and scraps of white fondant. A little quick work with some gold lustre dust and a bow of leftover ribbon gets the job done.

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If your cake is a little bumpier on top than you would like you can level it. Take care that the knife or the wire of your level-er doesn’t get caught on pieces of fruit and tear holes. This way you can have a sneaky taste-test snack..

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You will need to roll out a single sheet big enough to cover the top and sides. So we need to measure. Height + Diameter + Height. Up, over and down. Roll out the almond first to a thickness of about 3mm. Measure to make sure it’s big enough. For larger cakes you may need to do this on your dining table to get enough room.

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Brush the top and sides of the bare cake with jam. Ease the almond fondant off the baking paper and drape over the cake. As you can see my circle was a little large..

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Gently use your fingers to smooth the icing down. Start at the top and go around and around. You need to evenly ease it as you progress down the sides. When you get near the bottom, trim around the base. Smooth the last bit down.

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Repeat with the white fondant. One…

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Two…

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Three…

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There are always a few lumps and bumps at the bottom. A neat bright ribbon will take care of those.

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Cut out decorations from the scraps of fondant.

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All together now.

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Piece of cake.

I hope these ideas give you some inspiration and help with reducing the Christmas madness. One more recipe is coming before Christmas. A great last minute gift idea so watch this space! I am also heading to my parents’ place early next week so will be coming to you from the (hopefully) sunnier Waikato with lots of country goodness and Christmas fun.

Look after each other.

xo

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