It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ...
Christmas is creeping steadily closer, and preparations are well underway at Chez Cakelaw. Even though I go to my mother's for Christmas, I have for the past few years been making Christmas treats for my friends, which takes some planning to ensure that there is no last minute rush on, say, the depleted condensed milk isle or the dried apricots at my local grocery store.
On Sunday, just for fun and to get me into the Christmas spirit, I attended a half day Christmas cake decorating course at Black Pearl Epicure. As you can imagine, in such a short time, we are not going to be creating the Sistine Chapel of cakes, but our teacher, Judy C of Cakes by Judy C, showed us three simple designs. The first was simply sticking lustre dusted Christmas shapes and silver cachous on the cake; the next was creating a holly wreath around the edge of the cake; and the third, which I chose, was a candle design.
Here is my finished cake:
The hardest part was actually icing the cake itself, not the decorations. To make the candles, we just rolled up sausages of rolled fondant of different sizes, hollowing out the top of each with our fingertip to imitate a "burnt out" look. The candles (and all other decorations) were stuck to the cake with water. We then cut out holly leaves using a holy shaped cutter and green rolled fondant, marking leaf markings with a knife, which we stuck on in a twisty way at the base of the candles. The little holly berries are balls of rolled red fondant. Next, using royal icing, we piped on dripping candle wax and the candle flames, then finally, highlighted the piping with silver lustre dust and put a glow around the flames using gold lustre dust.
The ferns were painted on using a dab of Wilton green gel colouring which had been diluted with water to make a paint, while the non-edible ribbons were stuck on last using dabs of royal icing.
I think the cake is simple but effective, and Judy C was certainly a good teacher.
I hope your own Christmas preparations are going well!