Sunday, 18 December 2011

This year's Christmas cake - 2011

I have just finished decorating my Christmas cake and overall I am quite pleased with the finished look.

I bought a ready made un-iced fruit cake from M&S and then had to remind myself what I had been taught on my cake decorating course last year about covering with marzipan and icing. I think I got it right: I filled the imperfections/dents in the cake with small balls of marzipan then made apricot glaze which I spread onto the cake before covering with a thin layer of marzipan; I then rubbed some vodka over the marzipan before topping with white fondant icing. I left it for a week for the fondant to harden slightly and the cake was then ready to decorate.

I had decided some time ago that I wanted to do something with gingerbread men. When it came down to it I just couldn't get inspired but I trawled the net and pinned them all to a board on Pinterest and ultimately found a greetings card that I liked the look of.
The next thing to sort was the gingham. There is a group on Facebook (Fans of Cake Baker) which contains the most helpful cakey people and I asked them for advice. Within about five minutes of posting my question, I had a selection of helpful responses, of which one was buying a cake topper sheet of fondant with red gingham printed on in edible inks. This arrived within two days of ordering and I then set to putting the design together.

I cut a square of the gingham and attached it to the cake with water. My gingerbread man cutter turned out to be too small so I printed out an image I liked, cut out the template and cut around that onto the gingerbread coloured fondant (made from chestnut brown and yellow colouring). I then made some red buttons with my button mould and cut some stars out in the gingerbread coloured fondant and attached these around the cake alternating with some gingham stars. I created the gingham ones by sticking the gingham topper to a thin roll of white fondant and cutting the stars from this. I was using a plastic cutter so the shape was not as clean as I would have liked but I think it would work better with a metal cutter.
I had to stop at this point and although I was pleased with how it was coming together, I really felt that it wasn't looking very Christmassy.
Thankfully, my lovely sister-in-law suggested that I put a santa hat on the gingerbread man and that finally gave me the inspiration I was looking for. I added some ric-rac on the legs and arms and a holly decoration (not edible) on the hat. 
I finished off with some pearl lustre spray. It was my first time using this in an aerosol form and I went a bit mad and also held it a bit close in some places so it pooled and left tide marks. It also gave the white fondant an antique feel which sort of works for this design. 
The sad thing now is that I promised my sister that she could have half the cake for her Christmas celebrations - but where do I cut it? Think she can have the legs!

Merry Christmas everyone - I hope that you all have a fun holiday period full of yummy food.

© 2011 Nicola Noble

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