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Christmas Cake

Step by step to perfect icing

  • Make a pretty spectacular winter scene

  • The Christmas cake design uses a simple tree template and the pretty liffle bells are piped and left to dry


    10 in/25 cm Chnstmas cake
    8 oz/225g apricot jam
    a little icing sugar and comflour, mixed
    4 Ib/ l .8kg marzipan
    8 egg whites
    4 Ib/ I .8kg icing sugar
    4.6 tbsp/60.90 ml lemon juice
    edible silver colouring powder, silver and red balls to decorate


    Trim top of cake so it's flat. Invert onto board.
    Warm the jam with 3-4 tbsp/ 45-60 ml water and then sieve. Brush or spread jam liberally all over the top and sides of the cake.
    Sprinkle, a flat surface with a little cornflour and icing sugar mixed. Roll out half the marzipan to about a 10 in/25 cm circle. Cut round the base of the cake tin to give a perfect circle and lift onto cake
    Flatten very gently and trim off any excess marzipan with a sharp knife. (If there are any gaps in the bottom edge of the cake, fill with these scraps of marzipan now so the marzipan for the sides will be flat.)
    For the sides roll out 1 long or 2 shorter pieces. Use a piece of string to measure the circumference of the cake and cut the marzipan to this length. Cut another piece the depth of the cake and cut marzipan to this width. Place on gently in one roll. Work the top and side edges together gently. Leave to dry for 24 hours.
    Sieve icing sugar into bowl and gradually add lemon juice and egg white, beating hard all the time, until stiffly spreadable. Take out 3 tbsp/45 ml and soften to a piping consistency. Cover the rest with a damp cloth.
    using the tree template on this page, trace off 2 of each size.
    Place sheets of grease proof over your tracings and pipe the outlines with no 4 plain nozzle and soft icing.
    Do 12 large pieces, 36 medium, and 18 small, plus extra to allow for break­ages! Soften icing a little more. Gently pipe into tree designs and flatten out. Dry for 1-2 days.
    Soften a small amount of icing to give a firm piping consistency. To make the bells, pipe on the same spot firmly with a no 4 plain nozzle, lifting the bag up 2-3 times to make layers and give the ridges. Bring up to a point. You need about 40 of these. Dry for 1-2 days.
    Spoon about one-third of the firm icing on top and spread out evenly. Then, using a firm ruler, pull it gently in one movement from front to back of cake. Repeat to give a flatter top if necessary. Remove any excess.
    Spoon a further third around sides evenly. Then, using a cake scraper or ruler, flatten the sides evenly in 2-3 sweeps. Remove any excess.
    Finally spread a thin coating of icing over the edge of the board if you wish. Leave to dry for 1-2 days.
    When icing is hard, with a small piece of sandpaper, sand down any rough areas or lumps. Give a further coating now if you wish and leave for a day.


  • (allow about 2 hours)

  • With no 4 star nozzle, pipe small rosettes around top edge, placing silver balls on alternate ones. With same nozzle, pipe shell design round base, lifting nozzle to let icing push forward, then pull nozzle back to give a point.
    With plain no 4 nozzle pipe "Merry Christmas" on top of the cake (keep this bag) Colour a little icing silver and pipe over the greeting with the no 2 plain nozzle to give raised effect.
    To assemble the trees, pipe a little icing on the back upright edge of one and attach a second. Pipe the back of a third and attach this. Stand them up­right at an angle of 90" to set.
    Attach 3 pieces to the back to give a full tree shape You will need 8 or more halves of medium size trees for the sides, and for the top, 2 complete large trees, 2 medium and 2-3 small trees.
    When dry attach silver balls with very little piped icing to ends of branches. Attach the trees round the sides with icing and secure on top, in a cluster, with icing.
    Dip the rims of the bells in the silver powder Attach a silver ball in the middle with icing.
    With more icing stick the bells on in clusters of 3 round sides, and in groups of 2 on top.
    Make 8 or 10 small bows and secure with icing above the bells