Brrr. This morning was 7 degrees F (-14 C). Had to drag out the snow pants to walk the dogs. Winter is definitely upon us as we’ve had 2 snow storms since Christmas. We were spoiled last winter with little snow and reasonable temps. I think we would be pushing our luck to get that again this year!
Once you’ve baked the Christmas cake it is time to prepare it for decoration. For the next few weeks the cake has to be “soaked” prior to decoration. To start cut slits in the top of the cake.
What I did was alternate between orange juice and spiced rum. I did make a rookie mistake in how I did the slit and ended up doing this.
So I learned to take a dinner knife, insert it, and hold it open a bit to pour the liquid down the slits. Just a bit at a time. I did it every few days for 3 weeks. One day with juice then the next time with rum.
A couple of days prior to eating I start the decoration. I do the marzipan holly leaves and berries the day before. I cut out the shapes and form them and put them on forms or a cookie sheet. For the berries I just round into balls. Then I dusted the pieces with pearl dust.
The next day (and last!) I start putting it all together. I spread apricot preserves on the top and sides of the cake.
Then I roll out marzipan to cover the cake. I made the mistake of using a less expensive marzipan to roll out vs what I used for decoration. Next time I’ll get the good stuff as the cheaper stuff didn’t roll out very well so it looks like a patchwork quilt.
Now is the time for the Royal frosting. Take 3 egg whites and a tablespoon of lemon juice, blend together in the mixing bowl. Gradually add 1lb 4oz of icing sugar.
Blend until smooth. It needs to be spreadable. It does call for a bit of glycerine but for the life of me I couldn’t find any. It came out ok though so I didn’t have any issues. Pour onto cake. It won’t pour quickly as it is thick. A trick my mum taught me is to dip your knife into hot water as you go to help smooth the icing.
Place the holly leaves and berries as you wish around the cake. I spread a bit of icing on the back to act as a bit of glue.
I then had to hold the cake in for a 2 1/2 hour drive over mountains and windy roads. We got to my sister’s in one piece!
I think the trickiest bit is not knowing how moist you are making the cake. I think that will take practice. My family enjoyed it though I may have made it too moist. Just a smidge over the line. But I will definitely make this again.