How to decorate a Christmas cake with cake lace
Transform your Christmas cake into a masterpiece of pure-white snowy finery with our easy-to-follow guide.
Have a browse through our Christmas cake recipes, then get creative and make your own pretty festive lace.
You will need:
- 20cm Christmas cake (we used our spiced rum butter mincemeat cake)
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
- Icing sugar to dust
- 500g natural marzipan
- 750g white fondant icing
- A little vodka or gin for brushing (see tip)
- 100g cake lace mix (see Know-how)
You’ll also need…
- Cake lace mat in a design of your choice (we used Wonder Cakes Snowflake Lace Mat, £29.50, from cakecraftshop.co.uk)
- 23-25cm cake board
Useful to have…
- Cake decorating turntable; cake smoothers; Blu Tack
This recipe serves 12. Hands-on time 1 hour, oven time 10 min, plus setting and 1-2 days drying.
The decorated cake will keep in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.
Food team’s tips
Clear spirits such as gin or vodka are useful to stick the icing to the marzipan without leaving a mark or dampening it too much (step 4), but you could use a little freshly boiled and cooled water, sparingly, instead.
Cake lace mix, available from specialist baking shops or online at Cake Craft Shop, is a ready-to-mix paste that sets into a pliable lace design when baked in a specialist silicone mat. We used it to create a simple, elegant decoration for our Christmas cake.
1. Put the Christmas cake in the middle of the cake board. If you are using a turntable, put the cake board on the turntable, securing it at the base with a little Blu Tack or a pinch of fondant icing.
2. Mix the apricot jam with a little boiling water, sieve to get rid of any lumps, then then use a pastry brush to coat the whole cake with jam. On a surface dusted with icing sugar, knead the marzipan for a minute or so until soft and pliable, then roll out to a large circle (about 40-45cm in diameter). Use the rolling pin to help you lift the marzipan and carefully drape it over the cake, making sure the centre of the marzipan circle is positioned on the centre of the Christmas cake.
3. With your hands, carefully smooth the marzipan over the cake and trim any excess from around the base with a sharp knife. Leave the cake in a cool dry place for a day or two to dry out before covering with fondant.
4. When you are ready for the next stage, knead the fondant icing on a clean surface for a few minutes until soft and pliable. Sprinkle the surface with a little icing sugar and roll out the fondant icing to a large circle, about 45-50cm in diameter. Brush the marzipan-covered cake all over with a little gin or vodka (see tips). Use the rolling pin to help you lift the fondant icing and carefully drape it over the cake, making sure the centre of the fondant icing is positioned in the centre of the Christmas cake.
5. With your hands, carefully smooth the marzipan over the cake and trim any excess from around the base with a sharp knife. Use cake smoothers to smooth out the fondant icing as much as possible.
6. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Make up 100g cake-lace mix according to the packet instructions. Use a small, angled palette knife to smooth a few spoonfuls of the lace mixture into the lace mat, making sure the mould is well filled and scraping away any excess mixture.
Transfer the mat to a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 8-20 minutes, according to the packet instructions (the time will vary depending on the brand of cake lace mix used).
7. Cool the baked cake lace completely, then gently peel away from the mat, being careful not to break any of the design’s delicate pieces.
8. Using a clean pastry brush, brush a small amount of freshly boiled and cooled water straight on to the fondant icing on the cake, then carefully but firmly press the lace designs onto the cake. You can spray them with a little edible gold or silver lustre first if you like. Allow the lace to set on the cake for 30 minutes before slicing (see Make Ahead).