DECORATING A TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS CAKE
Bake-together – Part 7
Here is Part 7 in our Traditional Christmas Cake Bake-together. In Part 6, I shared with you how to make fondant toppers but now it’s time to cover the Christmas cake. You can do this in December and try to leave at least 4 days between your last feeding of the cake. If you made a non-alcoholic one and froze it, defrost at room temperature the day before covering. Alternatively, you can make an alcohol free cake now & feed with fruit juice for 3 weeks.
TRADITIONAL COVERINGS OF A CHRISTMAS CAKE
Traditionally the British Christmas cake is covered in marzipan/almond paste and then with either fondant or Royal icing. After you add the marzipan, leave out to dry somewhere not too hot (but not the fridge). Leave adding the fondant for a couple of days, and 3 -4 days if you are going to apply Royal icing. (Doing right away, you can end up with an off-white colour to your icing.) With this in mind, you can plan when to start decorating your cakes. (See Photos of the Be-Ro cakes decorated over the years in their baking books).
I have some video links for you below, for the covering and decorating of the cakes. They are by Great British Bake Off Winner Nancy Birtwhistle who a lot of you will know and follow. Just before you cover your cakes though, I want to mention that I transfer my cakes to a cake stand before decorating (or in this case you can transfer to a cake board and you can get these in various sizes, colours and patterns). I like to place 4 small squares of baking/parchment paper under the cake and then pull them out later to save on mess.
**Note you can also brush on thinned down apricot jam onto your cake before adding the marzipan. Go to Nancy’s video on covering a cake with marzipan.
COVERING A CHRISTMAS CAKE WITH ROYAL ICING
**For a Royal Icing recipe go to my friend Tanya’s Royal Icing recipe or Tanya’s Royal Icing video for how to prepare this. Note that you want a ‘stiff’ consistency for decorating your cake and thinner if you want to add on some details. See also Nancy’s Video for applying the Royal Icing. I did an easy little ‘snow peak’ effect finish to mine. Once finished applying the icing, leave out at room temperature to harden and set up nicely.
See also COVERING MINI CHRISTMAS CAKES with Nancy Birtwhistle.
NOTES ON ROLLING OUT FONDANT
I have included below, some pics of how I got on with covering my mini cakes. I added the marzipan in 2 parts like the Be-Ro recipe said, but for the cakes I will decorate nearer to Christmas, I will completely cover it instead. I use a 2-part rolling mat for fondant, that you don’t need to use any icing/powdered sugar as it’s non-stick. One piece has circles on it with centimetre and inches on it to guide you when rolling out. It will work great too with marzipan. I bought from Iced Jems and here’s a Iced Jems rolling mat link to check out the product for yourself.
FONDANT PENGUIN CHRISTMAS CAKE TUTORIAL
Here’s my new tutorial on making a cute fondant penguin for your Christmas cake. Also includes how I added the marzipan and this new and easier method for adding the fondant – great if you find covering with fondant difficult.
AFTER COVERING THE CHRISTMAS CAKE
Once you have covered your cakes you can move on to adding decorations. You can add fondant toppers, just like I showed in Part 6 – How To Make Fondant Toppers. Or make a cute Fondant Penguin. Add them on with food glue, water or clear alcohol. If using Royal Icing, you can simply add on when the icing is still wet. You can finish you Christmas cakes off with a nice wide ribbon to tie in with the colour scheme of your decorations.
Once decorated, place in a box (by that I mean a cardboard box or cake box), with a lid. Loosely place greaseproof paper on top of the cake, and store somewhere cool but not the fridge as this will cause condensation and the fondant will weep.
**See Photo of what I came back to, luckily after I had taken all my photos!
A little note on the cake boards. B&M, Home Bargains, & The Poundshop in the UK sell silver colours round and square ones. From Home Bargains I actually got a set with a board and cake box together and was only about £2. You can purchase smaller boards online from cake decorating supply stores or make your own. You could cover with foil or cover with fondant. I also use flat pack gift boxes from Card Factory that are nice for presentation and gifting and come in different sizes.
So I hope this has helped guide you in the correct direction. Christine and myself look forward to seeing all your cakes once finished. So please don’t forget the photos and to post in our Facebook group.
Thanks for reading
DECORATING A TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS CAKE
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