I made my Christmas cake a few weeks ago, and have been feeding it with brandy to keep it moist and taste even lovelier! Then came the fun part: decorating it. I want it to be the centrepiece of my Winter Woodland dessert table so I went for a sugar paste reindeer sitting amongst a snowy woodland.
1 20cm round cake
Gluten free 20cm fruit cake
Place all dried fruit and mixed peel in a bowl, pour in sherry and mix well. Cover with a clean cloth. Leave for 12 hours or overnight so fruit can absorb the sherry
Preheat oven to 150 deg C (300 deg F)
Grease and line tin with baking parchment
Wrap newspaper/brown paper around tin and secure with baker's twine
Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until the mixture turns a pale colour
Beat in eggs slowly on medium speed
Sieve flour, salt and spices into the mixture and mix slowly on low speed
Fold in soaked fruit, almonds, lemon & orange zest until well mixed
Pour mixture into tin, level with spatula
Place sheet of grease proof paper on top, and make sure to leave a small circle missing from centre
Bake for 3 hours and 15 minutes on middle shelf
Place cake on a wire rack to cool
When cake is completely cool, remove cake from tin
Pierce cake several times with skewer
Pour 3 tsp of brandy over the top of the cake (feeding)
Wrap in baking parchment
Wrap in foil or store in an airtight container
Feed at regular intervals over the next few weeks
Place cake on cake stand upside down so top is completely flat.
Knead marzipan into a ball.
Dust icing sugar onto a hard clean surface and roll out marzipan to 5mm thick.
Melt the apricot jam.
Brush cake with apricot jam
Lift up marzipan using rolling pin.
Place on cake and smooth out so entire cake is covered in marzipan.
Cut off any excess, leave to dry for 24 hours.
Knead roll on icing into a ball.
Dust icing sugar onto a hard clean surface and roll out roll-on icing to 5mm thick.
Lift up icing using rolling pin.
Place on cake and smooth out so entire cake is covered in icing. (I use a cake smoother to give it a polish and professional finish)
Push sugar pearls into side of cake where cake meets cake stand.
Wrap ribbon around side of cake and secure with a dab of royal icing
Spoon some royal icing in a large circle on top of the cake, using a fork to lift it into snowy peaks
Lightly push sugar paste reindeer into royal icing in centre of cake
Lightly push leaves and chocolate Matchsticks into royal icing around outside edge of circle.
Lightly push mushroom cookies and acorns into royal icing around reindeer.
Spoon remainder of royal icing into piping bag with a small star nozzle at the end.
Pipe a small amount of icing onto back of leaves and press into centre of ribbon around cake