A Christmas Pudding Cake

When my mother-in-law asked me to make a Christmas cake it was difficult to decide on how to decorate it. There are so many possibilities with Christmas cakes and generally traditional ones are decorated with dazzling white fondant. However, this year I decided to try something slightly different and make a cake that looks like a Christmas pudding.

To start, I made a traditional fruitcake around a month ago and kept it topped up with brandy since then. It should be made even earlier really, so next year I'll probably do this step around September/October. 

Then, when ready to ice the cake, I carved the top slightly to give it a little more of a dome like shape:

Christmas Cake Carving

Before icing a fruitcake the best thing to do is brush it with boiled and strained apricot jam. However, in this instance I didn't actually have any apricot jam at hand and replaced it instead with a layer of amaretto - perhaps not quite as sticky, but it'll do the job just fine! 

I covered the cake in a layer of marzipan, then a layer of fondant and, since it's Christmas, I added a dusting of edible bronzing powder for an extra shine:

Now the next bit was the fun bit - making it look like an actual pudding. I rolled out a piece of white fondant and hand cut it to look like a big splodge for the top, followed by a sprig of fondant holly:

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But, of course, no Christmas pudding would be complete without a penny stuck in for luck! Thankfully this is edible too so there should be no emergency dentist trips on the day:

Merry Christmas everyone! I'll be back baking and writing in the New Year!

Where the forest meets the sea

A friend asked me to make a surprise wedding cake for her sister's surprise wedding - so many surprises! Like the happy couple, the cake needed to combine an eco-warrior wowing woodland theme with a sailor-suitable navy theme, which certainly provided a challenge for design. Fortunately my friend was at hand with lots of advice and we managed to find a combination for the cake which we think suited the couple to a tee. 

We decided that it would be good to surround the cake with flowers in the wedding colours and with lots of little woodland animals. I can only hope that real animals smile as much as these fondant chaps:

Woodland creatures need some nice wildflowers to play in. It's just cruel otherwise. Fondant roses are fun to make, but a little more complicated than normal flowers.

For both you need to do a bit of palette mixing, kneading up some nice colour combos into your fondant. Flowers are perhaps worth their own post at some stage...

Once the cake (a Victoria sponge) was baked and iced, I placed it on an iced cake board and got to work on the nautical element. I started by hand drawing anchors on the icing:

Using a light brown fondant, I made lots of small pieces of fondant rope to write 'Congratulations Rosie and Mike'. Basically that meant making two thin cables of fondant and twisting them together, pretty much like a real rope. But not as suitable for actually rigging up a yardarm, obviously.

Then I went round the edges, adding some woodland features - blades of grass that climbed up the side of the cake, wildflowers and animals. I was going for that disorderly, natural vibe. Here's the final result:

So congratulations again to Rosie and Mike, and I hope you enjoyed the cake! Big thanks also to Emma for asking me in the fist place and for helping with the secret plans (mwah ha ha!), and to Rachel for carrying it all the way back to Yorkshire!