Saturday, 19 October 2013

Tutorial for a simple Christmas Cake part One

I not saying I am an expert but I have had a bit of cake decorating practise, so I thought I would share with you.

1. Cover your Cake!

Ok so if its a Christmas cake you will need to cover in marzipan first. You would start by brushing the surface of the cake with apricot jam. One that is really cheap is the best as you need it to be smooth. If it does have bits then run it through a sieve first to get rid of them.

Cake bushed with jam

Set the cake to one side and grab your marzipan. If you are going to use roll out fondant which can be bought in any store these days, you can use any marzipan. If you are going to use royal icing (only attempt this if you are brave or more experienced ) do not use the golden type. This contains oil which can effect your icing colour. Try to keep your marzipan fairly thick and even as you will get a better result .Grab your cake and check there are no little dips or fruit fall as its called. If there is take a little marzipan and fill in the holes. You can also do this around the bottom of the cake if you need it . Put a little icing sugar or corn starch on your hands and smooth the top . Gently work your hands down the sides of the cake but stop before the bottom. Cut off most of the spare marzipan but don't go in too close at first. Then you can start to smooth your sides. If you are getting any folds gently lift or tent the marzipan then smooth. If you take your time it works really it does. once this is done you can cut close to the cake.
Then set the cake to one side in a box or keep it covered for about 24 hrs this allows the marzipan to dry.
If you was making a sponge or Madeira you would not need to put marzipan on first.

Marzipan on cake

If you have made any cake other than fruit you would need to do a couple of different steps.
Start by splitting your cake into two or get your two parts ready for your filling. It could be butter cream or really any filling that you would like. With butter cream you would then go over the surface of the cake but not too heavy and get as smooth as you can. I am not going to lie this is a skill that takes time but it does get easier. It does not have to be perfect really as you are going to cover the cake in fondant. Once you have put this first coat on chill in the fridge for about an hour to set the butter .

Ok so next step cover your cake in fondant. This is easy to buy in any store these days and you can also make your own if you enjoy doing that. There are lots of recipes on the net but I can find one if anyone is really interested. Put icing sugar or corn starch on your work top and open your fondant. Make sure you have plenty as its better to have a nice thick layer rather than thin. You will have to knead it for a little while until it is smooth and soft and ready to use. You can roughly measure your cake with your rolling pin or with a tape measure to get an idea of how much you need. Try to roll out even and keep moving and checking you have powdered sugar under or it will stick. When measuring always add a few inches to allow you to smooth and fit to the cake.
When it is the right size you need to move to the cake. Now every one has their own way to do this. I like to either put it over my rolling pin or get my arms under and lift like that. You will find your own way and this is another reason for not making too thin.
Once its on get a little powder sugar on your hands and start  smoothing the cake and about 1 inch down from the top. Cut off most of the spare fondant but remember not too close to the cake. If you have a item called a smoother then that would be great. Its a really simple little tool  which is not expensive to buy and really useful. If you don't have one use your hands but make sure you remove any rings first.

Then like the marzipan you work down the cake in the same way. Be careful with this layer as it will be seen and it is so easy to mark ( I know I have done it many times ) and catch. If you do not feel happy with the look of your fondant you could make up some stiff royal icing and put on in peaks like snow, covers up everything .

Sorry could only find a picture of my round cake,
but square would look the same

Cover again and leave over night before we move onto tutorial two,  Decorating your cake.


  1. So glad you are sharing your tips Jill. I will be using your tutorials for sure xxx

    1. Thanks em you said I should do it lol xxx

  2. Beg to differ Jill, you are an expert! Great tutorial, I would love to give it a go but I'm still trying to perfect the cake let alone icing it! I hope you do some more posts like this xx

    1. No Lou far from expert but learning more everyday. Would love to see what you make xxx


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