How To Decorate A Classic Christmas Cake

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Making your cake is one of the first things you need to do at Christmas and I’ve been inspired by Mich Turner, who I met last February, to make this year’s look amazing. By Kirstie Allsopp

This time, I want to learn to decorate the most Christmassy Christmas cakes ever. I want more glitter, I want polar bears, I want candy stripes. I want the whole thing.

With the festive season upon us, I couldn’t think of anyone better than Mich to teach me how to give my cake a Christmassy twist - because when it comes to decorating festive fayre, she really is in a class of her own.

  • Plain white iced cakes to decorate (you can buy cakes ready iced, or do it yourself with ready to roll icing)
  • Ribbons
  • Petal paste
  • Edible glitter
  • Piping bag with nozzle
  • Rolling pin
  • Star-shaped pastry cutters
  • Sieve to dust the glitter...
  • And a steady hand.

Skill

Easy. And you can always eat the bits that go wrong!

Budget

Around a fiver for the decoration. Petal paste costs approx £3-£4 per 250g and edible glitter approx £2.50 per 1.5g tub.

Time

A couple of hours.

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Step One: A Simple Iced White Two Tier Cake

First you need a cake to decorate. This is going to be a classic cake: it has two tiers - one cake on top of another - and it's iced with a layer of plain white sugarpaste icing.

Traditionally, your Christmas cakes will be made a month in advance, on Stir Up Sunday. This might seem quite early, but Christmas cakes need topping up with alcohol each week until they get their fully festive flavour.

But if you haven’t made yours yet, don’t panic! You can buy pre-iced Christmas cakes in the supermarket.

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Step Two: Add Ribbons and Pearls

After wrapping the base of each cake in some Christmassy ribbon, we’re using royal red, green and white royal icing to pipe tiny pearls all over the cake.

Hold the icing bag like a syringe - you'll probably need both hands to keep it steady - and dot the little pearls on like Christmas lights. Stop squeezing before you bring the nozzle up, so that the pearls stay round.

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Step Three: Edible Tree

We’re assembling our Christmas tree using rolled out petal paste, which you can buy online or in cake-decorating shops. Petal paste is like sugar paste but it's much stiffer and dries much firmer. It'll help the tree to stay straight once it's on the cake!

Once the petal paste is rolled out, use pastry cutters to cut out different sized stars. Stack them up - larger ones at the bottom, smaller as they go up - and decorate with more icing pearls.

Then you can get the glitter out!

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Step Four: All Done

With more sparkle than you can shake a sieve at, the tree’s ready to take centre stage.

Decorating your Christmas cake really does get you in the mood. So put your Christmas music on, grab a glass of mulled wine and enjoy yourself!

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