Step-by-step winter wonderland cake
- December 2013
- Makes 1 x 23cm cake
- Takes about 1 hour, plus 24-48 hours drying
Whether you make your Christmas cake, marzipan and royal icing by hand or buy everything ready made, this recipe is all about the decoration. Follow our easy, step-by-step decorating instructions to make this showstopping Christmas cake.
Or, spark your imagination with 10 of our favourite ideas for how to decorate a Christmas cake.
- Roll out the marzipan on a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to make a disc about 35cm in diameter and 4-5mm thick. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the melted jam. Loosely roll the marzipan around the rolling pin to pick it up, then drape it over the cake. Smooth down firmly over the top and around the sides with your hands, pushing out any pockets of air. Trim off the excess with a sharp knife. Leave the cake somewhere cool to dry for 12-24 hours before icing.
- When the marzipan is dry, make the royal icing. Spoon a good dollop into the piping bag and set aside. Spoon the rest onto the cake and use a palette knife to smooth it thickly all around the top and sides. Once it’s evenly spread, use the palette knife to form swirls and peaks to make a snowy scene. Leave somewhere cool to dry for 12-24 hours.
- Meanwhile, to make the Christmas trees, spread the baking paper out onto a flat surface or baking sheet. Use the piping bag to pipe a line up and down to make the trunk of a tree. Then, starting from the top with a steady hand, and trying to keep a continuous flow of icing, pipe the branches of the tree, overlapping the trunk to give it more stability. Leave the trunk extending below the branches so you can push the tree into the icing. Repeat with different size trees until you have used all the icing. (It’s better to make more trees than you need in case some break when you remove them from the baking paper.) Leave to dry somewhere cool for 12-24 hours.
- When ready to decorate, use the tip of a sharp knife to make small incisions in the icing on top of the cake. Carefully peel the trees off the baking paper and insert the trunks into the incisions. You can secure them with a small blob of reserved royal icing at their bases (see tip).
To secure the trees to the cake, save a little amount of royal icing in a bowl in the fridge, covered with cling film, until needed the next day. Or leave some in the piping bag in the fridge.
Make the royal icing only when the marzipan has dried completely (see step 1).
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