Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Icing my Christmas Cake

Ta-dah!
As promised, here are the photos of my Christmas cake!  This is the first time I've actually done the whole marzipan and white icing thing - usually I just enjoy my fruit cakes plain.  But I've really, really wanted to try the proper white Christmas cake thing for ages, so I finally bit the bullet this year and did it!

Let's have a look at the steps I took.  (N.B. This is not intended to be a prescriptive how-to guide, just a record of how I did it).  I did a double layer of icing - one of marzipan, one of that rollable white icing.  I used the standard supermarket packets, but I guess if you were so inclined, you could go to a gourmet shop and get yourself an expensive brand.  If that makes you feel better.  But I don't think anyone actually eats the icing anyway - blergh - so I don't see the point.

Here's the cake... it's interesting that after a couple of weeks all wrapped it, the top got a bit smoother than when it was first baked.

I think you're meant to slice the top flat, but I didn't want to lose any cake, so I left it as it was.  (You'll see that the finished product at the top is a bit bumpy, but I didn't mind).  I filled in some of the holes with little balls of marzipan...


... rolled out the marzipan...


...and draped it (rather messily) over the cake.  I wonder if having a bumpy layer of marzipan defeats the purpose of having marzipan at all.  Oops.


I let it dry out overnight, and then draped a layer of the white icing over the top.  You're meant to dust the work surface with icing sugar, but I was doing it at my parents' house and they didn't have any, so I used castor sugar.  It actually gave the finished cake a sparkly, shiny effect, like snow!

And as I was only doing an 18cm cake, there was quite a bit of leftover icing...
Cutting out shapes
The only festive cookie-cutters that my mum has are a bell, a Christmas tree, and a mini gingerbread dude, so I used them, attaching the shapes to the side of the cake with a little water.


And that was it!  I let it dry out for a bit longer, and we had the cake for dessert at our family's Boxing Day turkey dinner.  (To be blogged soon!)  My niece said the cake looked cute, not like one of those "classy cakes" that you'd be afraid to slice into, hehe.

Here's what it looks like on the inside...


The cake was good, not great.  I found it very sweet, and slightly too fruity.  I prefer my Christmas cake to have a bit more crumb to it.  (I do realise this is in direct contrast to my comments on our Christmas pudding this year, which I thought was too cakey and not fruity enough!)  I guess I like my cakes and puddings to be true to their original nature.

Even though I can't say I'm a huge fan of Nigella's classic Christmas cake, I'm glad I tried it once.  Next year I am definitely going back to Nigel Slater's wonderful Christmas cake.

3 comments:

Hannah said...

Gorgeous! This reminds me of being in Year 10 and making and decorating Christmas cakes (mine was a bright red and green stocking by the end :P), and how I spent ages filling in all the crevises and smoothing over bumps with marzipan. We never ate my cake, though, so already yours is doing better than mine! :D

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah! I love your Christmas cake. I also made it this year, I've chosen Nigella's prunes and chocolate one (the one you put everything into a pan and mix on the hob) and was happy with it! I iced it like you did for the first time too and my parents and relatives ate the icing too because the cake wasn't so very sweet. I found it hard to do a proper icing, it was all bumps! Anyway, great job you did! Ciao! Claudia

Frances Tyrrell said...

Hello, I have just discovered your delightful blog.
I like your marzipan cut-outs going around the cake, an orginal touch with a Hansel-and-Gretel fairy tale look.