Cake Decorating Ideas for Christmas

13/12/2010


I know that there are probably a hundred and one million things on your Christmas To-Do list...I know I have! But I think there has to be room for just one more...and that is decorating your Christmas cake!

 

We have some amazing Christmas cake decorating ideas to help turn the final part of your Christmas Day menu into a surefire winning centre piece.

 

And I can guarantee that they won't take you ages at all! What could be better than some effortless, elegant and showstopping cake decorating ideas? Well I can think of one thing better and that is eating them! Or watching all your friends and family enjoy eating them.

 

To save even more time, you could even buy the cake ready made from your local supermarket, deli or bakery, then simply pick the cake decorating idea that you like the best and get stuck in!

 

Fondant Icing

A favourite of Delia Smith's, here is a simple recipe for Fondant Icing to ice an 18cm square or 20cm round cake:


INGREDIENTS

  • 450g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons liquid glucose

TO ROLL

  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour

DIRECTIONS

Sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl and making a well in the centre.

Put egg white, vanilla and liquid glucose into the well and stir with a wooden spoon, gradually incorporating the icing sugar until it is too stiff to stir any more.

Use your hands to form the icing into a ball before turning out onto a clean, smooth, dry surface and knead for about 5 mins until completely smooth (if the icing is sticky, knead in a little more icing sugar, or if it is dry, run a little cold water over your fingers).

Roll out the icing onto a clean surface dusted with a mixture of icing sugar and cornflour, giving it quarter turns between each roll. Once rolled to the right size, cover the cake as soon as possible.

If necessary, it can be kept tightly wrapped in the fridge for 3 days.

 

Chocolate Ganache

For all you chocoholics out there, this ganache will surely satisfy any sweet tooth:

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 227grams dark chocolate cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup thick/whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (optional...but it is Christmas!)

DIRECTIONS

Put the chocolate in a medium sized bowl and set to one side while you heat the cream and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.

Bring it just to the boil, then immediately pour the cream and butter over the chocolate and allow it to stand for a few minutes.

Stir well until smooth and glossy. Add the brandy if required. Leave to cool before icing your cake.

 

Glazed Nut Topping

For those of us who don't like the extra sweetness of icing, this is a wonderful alternative:

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 45 pecan nut halves
  • 15 whole Brazil nuts
  • 16 walnut halves
  • 1 heaped tablespoon apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • DIRECTIONS

    Preheat the grill to the highest setting for 10 minutes and lightly toast the nuts. Watch them carefully so as not to burn!

    While cooling, put apricot jam and brandy in a small saucepan and heat them gently, whisking until thoroughly blended.

    Use a brush and paint some of the mixture all over the surface of the cake. Then arrange the nuts however you like.

    Finally, brush all the nuts with lots more glaze before storing the cake in a tin or polythene box until it's needed.

     

    Marzipan

    Fantastic for icing, filling, glazing and modelling for all your cake needs, marzipan is a delicious option. Here is a recipe for uncooked homemade marzipan:

     

    INGREDIENTS

    • 500g sifted icing sugar
    • 450g ground almonds
    • 2 egg whites
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla flavouring
    • 1tsp lemon juice 

    DIRECTIONS

    Sift icing sugar into a bowl along with ground almonds, then add the rest of the ingredients to make a stiff paste and knead until smooth.


    Buttercream Icing

    Mostly used on cupcakes and carrot cakes, a Buttercream Icing would make a surprising change to the normal Christmas cake decorating. Or if you are making biscuits and other desserts, you could use a Buttercream Icing on them:

     

    INGREDIENTS

    340g icing sugar

    85g butter, softened

    1-2 tbsp milk

    1 tsp vanilla

    (food colouring - optional)

    DIRECTIONS

    Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, then add the softened butter, milk and vanilla and mix really well.

     

    Scenes/Designs

    You can get really creative with your Christmas cake decorating ideas if you like, and create a little scene or design on top of your cake. Different food colourings will be most useful here, as well as some marzipan to model figures.

    Great shapes and designs for Christmas are stars, Christmas trees, angels, snowflakes, perhaps a Santa hat or a reindeer.

    You could even tie a ribbon around the cake to make it extra special and perhaps even splash out on some cake accessories!

    You can get most of your cake decorating supplies at your local supermarket, or if you are doing something a little more specialised, there are some great cake decorating shops in your area.

     

    Good luck! And don't forget to send us your cake photos, we would love to see the results of your hard work.

     

    Merry Christmas!