How are you decorating your Christmas cake?

(55 Posts)
ChristmasCountdown Sat 17-Nov-12 22:29:17

I'm making a Christmas cake for the first time this year and looking for decoration ideas (that are fairly simple). Any suggestions?

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sat 17-Nov-12 22:31:27

i'm a reasonable baker, but can't ice for toffee, so top mine with nuts and glaze

PigeonPie Sat 17-Nov-12 22:37:10

I haven't decided yet. I usually cover with rolled out fondant (either home made or bought) and then decorate that with something, Christmas trees cut out of green, or one year I made a stacked tree using rolled out bits of icing cutting with different size star cutters and stacking them.

Lindy Smith's Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible is a fantastic inspiration and has loads of useful techniques which are easy to adapt.

ladymariner Sat 17-Nov-12 23:00:39

One year I cut out a Christmas tree from green icing then decorated it with those little sliver balls, that looked nice. This year I'm putting a gold star shaped tree decoration on one that im giving as a gift then wrapping gold sparkly chain round the sides. That actually sounds a bit naff but it's really pretty (she says, hopefully...)
The cake I make for us is the same every year and I wouldn't change it ever....it's got a hunting scene on it, the figures are actually made of lead and are nearly a hundred years old. They belonged to my great-granny and have been on every family cake since she was first given them. I loved them when i was a child and they got passed down to me. When I put them on the cake though, I always put the fox running away whilst the hounds are looking in the opposite direction.....I was the first family member to refuse to go hunting but that is another thread altogether...

KatoPotato Sat 17-Nov-12 23:02:52

I make a very easy chocolate tiffin and cut into squares that I pile up into a mountain and decorate with fake trees and reindeer and dust with icing sugar.

I think it was nigella?

PoppadomPreach Sat 17-Nov-12 23:05:43

Royal icing, spread over then make "waves" by putting flat of knife on icing and lifting off quickly.

Then stick in some tacky decorations (think I may let DC do this this year)

Startail Sat 17-Nov-12 23:05:54

Biscuit cutters are your friends. Nice large simple snow men, snow flakes, stars or reindeer. Add a small holly cutter to add a touch of festive green and red and some nice ribbon and your sorted.

White ice cake, allow to dry over night.
Mix a bit of blue food colouring with some gin. Use a clean paint brush to paint a blue wash in top 2/3 of cake let it dry.
Cut snowman out of white icing. Place over wintertime blue sky.

Accessorise with ready coloured icing. Packets of red, green, yellow and black in your supermarket.
Put a few stars in the sky

Wrap in pretty starry or snowy ribbon.

I happen to have snowman ribbon in icy pale blue, but anything silvery and icy looks good. As does white frosty sparkle dust, if you have a specialist shop.

PigeonPie Sat 17-Nov-12 23:09:24

Poppadum - I have been known to do 'the snow scene'!

PoppadomPreach Sat 17-Nov-12 23:13:12

Pigeon - to me there is no other way - my mum always decorated the cake in this way and I just LOVE recreating it every year. It gives me a lovely warm Christmassy glow!

I'm hoping to give this tree of stars a go this year. I bought small star cutters from eBay that should do the job.

Startail Sat 17-Nov-12 23:26:25

I'd like a go at that, I have a set of star cutters.
However, my DDs tend to want to take over cake decorating.
Hence we got a rainbow reindeer last year

PigeonPie Sat 17-Nov-12 23:37:35

One recommendation with the tree of stars - make sure the icing is quite thick (well, not too thin anyway) otherwise you end up with rather a squat tree!

Clothilde Sun 18-Nov-12 06:36:36

I like white stars and white edible glitter as the children can help and it still looks reasonably tasteful.

After the marzipan and icing is on, I'm going to cut out different sized snowflakes (White icing) then place them around nicely. Then I've got some edible silver glitter I'll use.

ChristmasCountdown Sun 18-Nov-12 07:53:38

Thanks for all these ideas! I've got loads of festive biscuit cutters already, so I can put those to use.

PigeonPie Sun 18-Nov-12 08:24:45

Just one other thing- let the tree components dry before constructing or it will sag and the points might break off.

twinklytoes Sun 18-Nov-12 08:34:34

I've got three different sizes of ivy leaf cutters. I'm going to cut out lots in the three sizes, dry them over crinkled tinfoil (so they dry with some contours to look real), then will assemble them on the cake in a sort of G shape around the top and falling down one side. To finish I'll dust some silver or gold lustre dust on the tips of the leaves.

ChristmasCountdown Mon 10-Dec-12 14:07:07

I thought I'd revive this thread to see if any more good ideas were shared before I actually have to decide how I'm decorating the cake!

redwellybluewelly Mon 10-Dec-12 14:18:07

I usually decorate with marzipan, royal icing and then an assortment of tree figures and some skaters. However this year I am not going to ice it, but will probably do a lace doily effect with icing sugar, after 7 years of marriage DH has told me he likes cakes plain - fair enough!

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Mon 10-Dec-12 14:21:43

White icing with stars sprayed with edible silver spray.

FlyOverTheMistletoe Mon 10-Dec-12 14:23:39

The tree of stars is lovely, I might steal that one myself.

i am going to ice my cake in red, with white snowflakes and lustre with a white ribbon around the bottom.

Lizzylou Mon 10-Dec-12 15:28:05

My cake making skills are fairly good, decorating not so much.
I am going to do the same as the last two years I think here

Though I do vary the shapes and use silver balls normally.

Trumpton Mon 10-Dec-12 17:33:51

woollyback I was already planning to do the tree of stars cake !

TheProvincialLady Mon 10-Dec-12 17:44:54

I'm going for the snow scene with tacky plastic - this year sparkly plastic - figures. Because not only is it traditional, it is also easy to do (and is also the only thing I can do). I don't like fondant icing at all and anything else made with royal icing is too hard.

ChristmasCountdown Mon 10-Dec-12 19:49:58

I think I'm going to go for some kind of snow scene, but might order some figures to go on the top.

How far in advance would anyone recommend decorating the cake?

happygolucky0 Mon 10-Dec-12 20:06:42

one of the above cakes that was posted it says up to a week before. Will be watching as would like to know myself. I have a hectic week at work from the 19th being able to do it before would be handy!

DoubleMum Tue 11-Dec-12 10:05:32

If you are marzipanning (which seems to have somehow turned into a verb) you can certainly do that now, it needs time to dry out before you ice anyway. I'm going to ice mine at the end of the week, it will be fine as long as you've let the marzipan dry out.

ChristmasCountdown Tue 11-Dec-12 12:50:56

Thank you - I didn't realise you had to let the marzipan dry before putting the icing on. How long does that take?

DoubleMum Tue 11-Dec-12 12:52:48

Should be OK after a few days - you'll be able to feel the difference in the marzipan as it will harden a bit.

INeedThatForkOff Tue 11-Dec-12 12:59:13

My mum cuts a large circle out of the icing, then places several tealights on it, filling the remaining space with silver balls. A wide, festive ribbon around the bottom hides any botches.

Though since last year it's more of a kid-friendly affair - snowy royal icing topped with a gingerbread house and Father Christmas and a snowman made from fondant.

moonbells Tue 11-Dec-12 13:01:32

I half did this one

My snowflake was flat not up as it's got to travel 140 miles grin and I did a trail of stars over the edge, but the snowballs round the bottom were fun. Used some fondant with a bit of boiling water to make a thickish glue, and stuck them on. No need to Royal ice the bottom join for once! Nice and simple, and the first time I can honestly say I've wanted to balls up my cake.

LolaLadybird Tue 11-Dec-12 21:41:04

I am curious as to why you need to let the marzipan dry out? I've never done this before (fondant icing goes straight on after the marzipan) and its always been fine.

ChristmasCountdown Tue 11-Dec-12 21:45:42

I've just looked at my marzipan and realised I don't have enough and it does say to leave for 24-48 hours. It says that you should boil and sieve the apricot jam before you put it on - is this really necessary?

DoubleMum Tue 11-Dec-12 21:46:10

The yellow from the marzipan can bleed through, but this perhaps happens more to royal icing. I'm just used to doing it so I do it for fondant too, maybe I don't need to!

HappyAsEyeAm Tue 11-Dec-12 21:55:30

I marzipan and then ice, and I put a decorating set from Lakeland on teh top. I think they're selling it this year too. Its a stile, robin and a winter scene. I know that sounds really naff, but honestly, its lovely.

rhondajean Tue 11-Dec-12 22:02:13

We don't like marzipan or royal icing so I cover mines in buttercream, smooth the sides, and turn the top into an icy scene. I usually put snowmen etc into it but this year, I'd like to try putting some blue buttercream in for a pool and using penguins instead.

One year I did royal icing and just used silver balls mind you.

I also like that sugar glitter, you can sprinkle it on your buttercream and it looks like frost.

fiftyval Wed 12-Dec-12 14:12:59

red icing with white snowflakes. saw this idea in a specialist cake shop last year and liked the Scandinavian feel.

FlyOverTheMistletoe Wed 12-Dec-12 17:15:19

anyone tried the ikea marzipan ? If so is it any good ?

NoHaudinMaWheest Thu 13-Dec-12 00:17:01

I cover with fondant icing and then make a snow scene with well scrubbed Playmobil figures. I (or the DCs) just make a snowman and snowballs from fondant icing which are easy. Sometimes we make a pond with a bit of baking foil and put some Playmobil ducks on it.

Zwitterion Thu 13-Dec-12 05:34:52

Has anyone had any success making a frozen pond/lake?

I was thinking slightly blue glacé icing poured into a dip made in the royal icing. Would this work?

Thanks in advance thanks

janeyjampot Thu 13-Dec-12 06:14:33

I made a frozen pond last year by colouring some fondant icing a very pale blue and rolling it very thin. I just put it on top of my fondant icing top, smoothed the edges so it was level, and sieved some icing sugar over the top.

ChristmasCountdown Thu 13-Dec-12 12:37:26

What about the blue wash mentioned by Startail above for the lake?

ItsIcyOutsideIThinkINeedThorin Thu 13-Dec-12 14:36:57

Glace icing would work for a pond but what I've done in the past is to ice the whole cake in white fondant then cut out a pond shape (cut through the marzipan too). Then colour some fondant blue and roll it out thinner than the white icing. Cut out the blue icing in the pond shape (you can use the cut-off white fondant as a template) and then put the blue fondant into the hole - because the blue fondant is thinner, and you've not got marzipan on that bit, it will appear sunken.

Every year I say I'm going to find time to make this wonderful cake but I never do.

mawbroon Thu 13-Dec-12 14:43:29

Ha ha, I remember the year my mum tried to add some blue to the icing to give it a "whiter than white" look, but she put too much in! Blue christmas cake anyone?

I am attempting royal icing for the first time and if it looks shit then I will get the kidsto cut out shapes from red and green icing to put on top!

Zwitterion Thu 13-Dec-12 19:47:10

Great ideas here, thank you.

weevilswobble Thu 13-Dec-12 19:52:02

I feel soooo inspired! You girls are Goddesses i tell you! grin

4forkssake Thu 13-Dec-12 20:14:49

Here's a good way of making a pond. It's a bit of a faff (& minty!) but really effective.

www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/food/recipes/penguins-and-polar-bear-cake

PigeonPie Thu 13-Dec-12 20:21:39

I've just bought snowflake cutters from the wonderful cook shop in Banbury. My cake will have snowflakes in blue and, possibly, silver this year; I've decided to go for plain and simple this year and at the current rate of production of Christmas things (ie the cards aren't even made let alone written) I might have got it done by Christmas Eve!

DoubleMum Thu 13-Dec-12 20:33:51

ItsIcyOutside I love that cake and aspire to make it too. One day.

Zwitterion Thu 13-Dec-12 20:55:49

4Forks that is brilliant. Thank you.

ChristmasCountdown Thu 13-Dec-12 21:47:46

Thanks for all the suggestions and links everyone! I've gone from having no ideas to too many to choose from grin

Now trying to decide whether to go for smooth icing or the more ruffled royal icing look in that good housekeeping link plus some kind of Christmas scene. I love all the more sophisticated ones with snowflakes and christmas tree shapes too, but lots of visiting children this year so a more child friendly Christmas scene is probably more suitable (even though none of them will probably eat it!).

Thanks again for all the inspiration.

FlyOverTheMistletoe Fri 14-Dec-12 08:19:43

4forks that is great. This week in home bargains I bought a 400g box of ready made icing (69p) it had 100g, of red, white, black and green, perfect fot thelittle figures.

HintofBream Fri 14-Dec-12 09:01:03

Stars seem very popular this year, and I thought I was being rather original. (though admittedly I did see the star tree cake) I covered the cake with white ready-rolled, cut out loads of stars with the three star set, sprayed them gold and stuck them all over. I am very pleased with it.

Suzannejelley Sat 15-Dec-12 16:08:45

I have just ordered a Dottie and Belle Christmas Decoration kit - it looks brilliant - contains all the bits and saved me finding all the lovely bits.

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