Merry Christmas, everyone! In this post, I'm going to provide you not with a recipe, but with a decoration idea for Christmas cake.
I have many different Christmas cake recipes on this blog, which I will list. If rich fruit cake is not something you would like, you could make a chocolate cake, or a gingerbread spiced cake. You don't need to honour tradition every year!
This year, I decorated the cake with a little Christmas tree and presents scene, using meringues and marzipan models. I started the process three days before Christmas, and used:
- One 8 inch (22 centimetre) round rich fruit cake
- Marzipan, as prepared below
- Meringue trees, as prepared below
- One 12 ounce (350 gramme) bag of instant royal icing powder
- Red, purple, blue, green, and yellow gel colouring
- Icing sugar
To make the meringue trees, I separated one medium egg into white and yolk, and kept the yolk for a different project. I whipped the egg white with a few drops of lemon juice until it became foamy, then gradually added 2 ounces (55 grammes) of white caster sugar while whipping until it reached stiff peaks. I mixed in a few drops of green colouring gel to get a delicate slightly minty green. I lined a baking tray with non-stick paper, and put the meringue mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. I piped little swirls, about an inch and a half (4 centimetres) tall, sprinkled them with coloured hundreds and thousands, and some star shaped and snowflake shaped decorations. I baked them in an oven preheated to 120°C (250°F, Gas Mk.½) for 45 minutes. When cooked, I allowed them to cool slightly on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
I made some homemade marzipan, following this recipe but upping the almond to icing sugar ratio to 3:4, as opposed to 1:1, and adding a few extra drops of water to account for the extra sugar. I used 6 ounces (170 grammes) of ground almonds, and 8 ounces (225 grames) of icing sugar.
I rolled the marzipan to a half inch (1 centimetre) thickness, cut a circle to fit the top of the cake, and fixed it to the cake with a simple icing sugar and water glaze. Using the remaining marzipan, I divided into 5 parts, colouring each part red, purple, green, blue, and yellow. Using the marzipan, I made a selection of little presents, varying from an inch (2½ centimetres) to a quarter inch (5 millilmetres) in size, and in a few different shapes, like ovals and rectangles.
I made some royal icing (from a bag; yes, I cheated) to cover the 8 inch (22 centimetre) round fruit cake. I set aside about 3 tablespoons (45 millilitres) of the icing to ice the presents, and used the rest to coat the cake. I hit the icing with the back of a metal spoon to peak it.
I arranged the trees onto the icing while it was still wet. I filled a small greaseproof icing bag with the remaining royal icing, and arranged the marzipan presents in piles, using the icing to fix them together and decorate them with a tied ribbon effect.
After everything was fixed to the cake, I sprinkled everything lightly with some icing sugar, to simulate some now.
Here are some more photographs of the finished cake:
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