Sunday 21 December 2008

Christmas Cake Stage 5 – Icing and Decorating

500g – 1kg fondant icing
1 tbsp vodka, rum or gin
2 small pins
Food dye
Icing sugar for dusting

Christmas is nearly upon us and it’s now time to ice and decorate your Christmas cake. You can cover it in fondant or royal icing, but I much prefer fondant. Not only is it much easier to work with but I think it’s also nicer to eat than a hard layer of royal icing. You will only need 500g of fondant to cover your cake, but if you want to make extra decorations such as holly leaves or little figurines then you will need nearer to 1kg. You cover the cake in the same way as you do the marzipan, only this time use a clear alcohol instead of the jam to stick the fondant onto the cake. Working with 500g of fondant, roll it out into a large circle on a work surface dusted with icing sugar. Test if the circle is large enough to easily cover your cake by holding the cake board over the top like before.

Brush the top and sides of the cake with the alcohol and drape the icing over the top in one fluid movement. Use your rolling pin to help you pick up the icing from the work surface without tearing it. Smooth the icing down the sides of the cake using the side of a cupped hand until it looks like a hat with a frilly rim. You can now either trim off the excess to the edge of the cake or if you have lots of excess icing you can even flatten it down over the top of the cake board too, and trim off the excess at the very edge of the board. If you decide to cover the board too, then place the cake on top of a large can and use a large knife to carefully cut away the excess icing.

You are now free to decorate the cake in any way you wish. One of the simplest ways is to just wrap a length of ribbon around the bottom edge and secure it with a few embroidery pins (just remember to remove them before serving!!) This not only looks stylish but also covers up any jagged edges from any icing mishaps. You can then add ordainments, candles, stencils, wring, piping, fondant models, cut out shapes or flowers on top – it’s up to you to make your cake your own – make it as wild and wacky or simple and traditional as you like.

Last year I made a poinsettia and this year I wanted to try making a holly wreath with little red berries and pine cones out of fondant. To do this I made a long sausage shape out of white fondant and wrapped it around the edge of a large jar to form a circle and placed it onto a thin cake board that I first covered with cling film. I then dyed some more fondant green and cut out lots of holly shapes. I then draped these over the ring of white icing and left it to dry. I then made some tiny berries and dyed the last of my icing brown for the pine cones. I wasn’t sure these were going to work but I had an idea in my head of forming a cone shape out of fondant and then using small sharp scissors to made little cuts all over them. I gave it a go and I think it looks quite effective. I had a few scraps of coloured icing left over and decided to make a little cheerful robin too. Use a paint brush and a little glace icing or clear alcohol to stick the shapes in place. And…. finito!

That’s the end of my Christmas cake step by step guide. For all of you who had made your own cakes I hope you enjoy them and for everyone else, I hope you have enjoyed reading about the stages. Don’t panic if you accidently stab your finger into the icing, gently try to smooth it out with the palm of your hand or failing that, just cover it up with a decoration or some ribbon and no one will be any the wiser.
Happy holidays everyone.


Abitofafoodie said...

What a fantastic-looking Christmas cake. I love the design.
Happy Christmas Katie!

Mélanie said...


Johanna GGG said...

your cake looks lovely - I love the additional touch of the pinecones - hope you and your family get lots of pleasure from admiring and eating it - happy christmas!

Gigi said...

BEAUTIFUL! Katie you did an amazing job with your Christmas cake! STUNNING!

Anonymous said...

You have mad decorating skillz, wow! I'm impressed.

Sam said...

Wow, your cake looks fantastic!

The Caked Crusader said...

You've done a beautiful job here - so classy and elegant.
Happy christmas to you!

Thip said...

Beautiful cake, Katie.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and family!

KJ said...

Goodness, your icing is so neat and elegant. I'm so impressed.

Nic said...

I've really enjoyed watching this come together, it's beautiful!
Merry Christmas Katie - hope you had a great one!!

Chris said...

This is wonderful! I must bookmark this for next year.

Jodie said...

What an adorable cake!

Anonymous said...

The cake looks lovely and festive, the step-by-step instructions make it look so easy, but I know how challenging working with fondant can be; you did a wonderful job :).

Anonymous said...

What a pretty cake, Katie. I love the holly wreath!