Getting the right look for your Christmas cake is very much down to personal taste. This cake, decorated with stars, has a simple and contemporary design. You can also use other designs such as holly leaves pictured at the bottom of this article. But before the icing goes on, your cake needs to be sealed and the icing protected from the fruit and alchol in your beautifully matured cake (recipe here). The steps are simple.
What you need
- One traditional Christmas cake, matured as per recipe
- A jar of apricot jam
- Bought marzipan: honestly, it’s cheaper to buy a slab of marzipan from the supermarket than make your own
- Beaten egg white
- Ready roll sugar paste icing – Regal Ice: again, buy it
- Edible glitter (optional)
- Pastry brush
- Icing sugar for rolling
- Rolling pin
- Star cookie cutters – mixed sizes
Step 1 – an apricot glaze
Coating your cake with an apricot glaze, seals the marzipan to the cake. First stick your cake to a cake board. Mix a little icing sugar and water to ‘glue’ the cake in place. Melt the jam in a pan over a low heat. Don’t boil it and watch because it will burn quickly. Add a little water if you need to thin it. Paint the whole surface of the cake with the melted jam using a pastry brush.
Step 2 – cover with marzipan
Sprinkle icing sugar on a clean surface and roll out your marzipan as thin as you can. Imediately mould it around your cake, avoiding getting any air trapped. Seal the marzipan right down to the base. This layer stops the fruit and alcohol in the cake discolouring the icing. It also helps to preserve the cake. (These are mini cake versions of the main recipe made for gifts – main Christmas cake recipe baked in a square tin and cut into 8 equal pieces before covering and icing).
Leave to dry out for up to one week, but at least 48 hours.
Step 3 – cover with icing sugarpaste
Roll out the sugar paste onto a very clean surface sprinkled generously with icing sugar. Aim for 3-5mm thickness – so fairly thin. Quickly brush a very thin coat of beaten egg white all over the marzipan covered cake. Then mould your sugar paste all over the cake, just as you did with the marzipan. Make sure the icing completely seals the cake to the board.
Step 4 – decorate
This design is simple, but effective. Just roll out your icing again – 3-5mm thickness. Make sure there are no cake crumbs or other debris anywhere near. The icing will easily discolour. Now cut out your shapes. Arrange how you like, and stick to the surface of the cake with egg white, overlapping for effect. You can leave it as a pure white affair – very classy – or you can pick out one or two of the stars, paint with egg white and sprinkle with the edible glitter.
Let everything dry and after a couple of days, it’s ready to serve. It will keep for months in theory if kept dry in a sealed container. A Christmas cake makes a lovely gift, especially if you wrap in transparent cellophane for presentation.
This style of decorating is easy and requires no special skills and the white on white produces an impressive effect. You could just as easily decorate with other shapes such as Christmas trees or holly leaves – the berries shown here are made from colouring marzipan and rolling into small balls. See what cookie cutter shapes you can buy and let your imagination go.
See how we made mini Christmas cakes for more inspiration.