Monday 17 December 2012

Christmas Cake 2012 – Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree…

Last week was quite stressful. The hob over my oven developed a gas leek and had to be shut off from the mains (hopefully its getting fixed today), my boiler broke down and left me without heating or hot water and Thursday nights bad weather produced a layer of black ice so deadly on Friday morning, that I literally had to crawl on my hands and knees to the main road, trying to get out my driveway to go to work! I live down a long steep slope and there was no way I could even reach my car, let alone try and drive it. I kept falling over and two other people in my road tried to drive their cars and just slid backwards and crashed into other cars – I’ve never seen anything like it!

I got home on Friday feeling exhausted and ready for bed, only I couldn’t sleep. My mind just wouldn’t shut down. By 4am I had had enough and got up and decided to decorate my Christmas cake.

This proved to be a good idea as I spent a very tranquil couple of hours, rolling out fondant and marzipan and decorating the cake. I was listing to past downloads of BBC’s The Food Programme and Desert Island Discs while I worked, which I always fine fascinating to listen to. Before I knew it, it was 6:30am!

At the end I gathered up all the cake trimmings and had a little taste. It was sticky and fruity with a faint liquorice overtone. At first I was a little confused by this until I remembered that this year I had put some ground star anise in my cake mix. It really seems to have developed, giving a wonderful spicy liquorice note that was delicious against the subtle note of rum (the booze I used in the cake this year). I think its going to be the best Christmas cake yet!

I went for a fairly simple design this year. Christmas trees! I added a light sprinkling of gold glitter to add a little festive sparkle. Now I just need to get it down to my parents’ house in one piece to enjoy over Christmas. Can you believe Christmas is only a week away! Happy Holidays everyone.

To Decorate your Christmas Cake
500g fondant icing
250g marzipan
2 tsp Brandy or rum
Food dye
Icing sugar for rolling out

Trimming & Decorating the Cake
When ready to decorate, peel away the greaseproof paper and carefully level the surface of a cake using a bread knife. Fill in any tiny holes with fruit taken from the off cuts of cake (eat the remaining off cuts!)
Place the cake on a 7-8inch cake board that has a few dobs of royal icing on it, to keep the cake in place.
Dust a work surface with icing sugar. Roll out the marzipan and use the base of the tin to cut out a large circle. Brush the top of the cake with a little brandy or rum and smooth the marzipan over the top of the cake.
Roll out the fondant icing so that it is 2 inches bigger in diameter than the base of the cake. Brush the cake with brandy before covering with the fondant.  Drape the fondant over the rolling pin to help you lift it up onto the cake.
Smooth the edges and top with your hands and cake smoother if you have one. Cut off the excess fondant from around the base using a sharp knife.
Gather up the off cuts of fondant and dye as appropriate for decorations. Decorate the cake as desired and secure a ribbon or rope of fondant around the bottom edge of the cake.
Store in an airtight box until required.

Note: Click to see the link to this years Christmas cake recipe


Unknown said...

This is such a beautiful cake! I really want to learn how to decorate cakes and cookies and such.

I hope everything gets fixed and the black ice melts. It sounds scary. I would probably become a hermit :P

Chele said...

You have had a rough old week of it. Hope everything gets sorted out for you quickly. Perfect looking cake too, expertly decorated.

Johanna GGG said...

lovely cake - glad it went well as it sounds like you needed something to - that black ice sounds scary and I am glad you seemed to have done most of your main christmas cooking before the oven gave up the ghost. Have a great christmas

Paloma said...

Oh Wow! This is just gorgeous! You did an amazing job! :) Beautiful!

Elle said...

What a gorgeous cake! The design might be simple, but I can see the detail that you put in, too. Hope this is the centerpiece of a fine family Christmas for you!

Jessica Robert said...

So lovely!