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Simple And Beautiful Christmas Cake Decorating

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Let me show you how simple it is to transform a fruitcake into a Christmas centerpiece with my Simple and Beautiful Christmas Cake Decorating.


Hi Bold Bakers!

A big part of Christmas tradition in Ireland is making a decorated fruitcake — also known as a Christmas cake — and it can taste every bit as extravagant as it looks.

Made with layer upon layer of holiday flavor, from the dried fruits on the inside to the fluffy frosting that adorns it, my Christmas cake is a sight even Santa would be delighted to see. As a child I would peel off the marzipan and frosting and just eat the cake, but now I have grown to love each layer.

I’m going to show you how simple it is to transform a fruitcake into a Christmas centerpiece. What you need for this video is my Aunty Rosaleen’s Christmas Cake (or the fruitcake you already have made or purchased), my Easy Homemade Marzipan, my Rolled Fondant (or my Marshmallow Fondant), and my Royal Icing for Cake Decorating.

When Do You Decorate a Christmas Cake? (or Fruitcake?)

Since a fruit cake is mostly made with preserved fruit and sugar, the cake will keep for ages, and in fact only gets better with time as the flavors combine and develop.

This means that the cake itself — both before and after decoration — will last for months well wrapped, at room temperature. You can decorate your cake with all the bells and whistles a week before Christmas if you wish, and it will keep long after the holiday, making for one of the most decadent and festive leftovers.

Will Christmas Cake Decorating keep it moist?

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Originally, decorating a Christmas cake in this way was to preserve it and keep it moist. From the first layer that touches the cake — the apricot jam — to the last (the thick royal icing), the decorations do keep the cake moist and fresh. This is definitely a part of the tradition of making the cake, as it’s so yummy you’ll want to make sure it lasts through all the family visits and holiday parties.

How do you make marzipan?

Marzipan is the second layer that wraps around the Christmas cake. This layer adds an unmistakable almond flavor and lovely texture. It’s also what really holds the moisture in the cake, sealing it off from the air.

Marzipan is made easily at home by combining, sugar, powdered sugar, egg, ground almond and almond extract. I like to make mine at home as it’s really simple and has no added preservatives. If you don’t want to make it at home you can of course use store bought — but I’ve made the process very easy for you with my Easy Homemade Marzipan recipe!

How do you make royal icing?

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Royal icing is what coats the outside of the marzipan layer and really sets the scene for whatever decorations you’re going to use. My Royal Icing for Cake Decorating is really simple to make and only requires a few ingredients.

The icing also dries in a matter of hours, holding whatever shape you give it — and in this case it really does dry to look like a snowy winter wonderland!

Why is my royal icing too runny/thick?

Royal icing can be made for both cookies and for decorating cakes. My royal icing recipe explains how to make it thick and fluffy, perfect for decorating a Christmas cake.

If your royal icing is too runny, you most likely were using a recipe that was meant for cookies, and using a technique called flooding. If you follow my recipe for making Royal Icing for Cake Decorating, you should get the perfect consistency.

What You’ll Need!

And don’t forget to follow Bigger Bolder Baking on Pinterest for more recipes and ideas!

4.34 from 3 votes
Simple and Beautiful Christmas Cake Decorating Recipe
Prep Time
30 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

Let me show you how simple it is to transform a fruitcake into a Christmas centerpiece with my Simple and Beautiful Christmas Cake Decorating.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Irish
Servings: 12
Author: Gemma Stafford
Ingredients
  • 1/2 recipe Marshmallow Fondant
  • Gold luster or edible gold flakes
  • 1 Aunty Rosaleen's Irish Christmas Cake
  • 1 cup Apricot Jam, heated
  • 2 recipes Homemade Marzipan
  • 1 recipe Easy Royal Icing for Cake Decorating
Instructions
For the Gold Stars
  1. Dust your surface with powdered sugar and roll out the Marshmallow Fondant to 1/4 inch thick. 

  2. Stamp out about 10 to 12 different sized stars. 

  3. Brush the stars lightly with water and sprinkle over the edible gold flakes until the surface is covered. Leave overnight to dry on a cookie sheet (Allowing them to dry means they will stand upright on the cake when decorated).

Decorating the Christmas Cake
  1. Place the Christmas Cake on a serving platter or a cake board (doing this step first is important as it is very hard to move once decorated). 

  2. Brush the cake with the hot apricot jam. This is the glue that the Marzipan will stick to. Set aside. 

  3. Dust your surface with powdered sugar and roll out the marzipan to 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick. Roll out a few inches slightly wider than the surface of your cake for it to cover the sides.

  4. Using the rolling pin, lift marzipan over the cake and carefully unroll. Ease down the sides, smooth the surface and trim the base.

  5. Using a spatula or off set, smear Royal Icing over the cake roughly to give the appearance of snow. 

  6. Stack the stars in the center of the cake. Lean them against each other for support. This creates a lovely 3D effect. Decorate the sides of cake with a ribbon if desired.

  7. Store the decorated cake at room temperature in an airtight container for 4 weeks. 

Watch the Recipe Video!

Recipe Notes

If you decorate your Christmas cake the week before you need it. 

5 from 1 vote
Christmas Cake Recipe
Prep Time
40 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 
Course: des
Cuisine: Irish
Servings: 12
Author: Gemma Stafford
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • 1 recipe homemade Marzipan
  • 1 recipe royal icing for decorating Christmas cakes
  • fondant stars
  • edible gold
  • decorative ribbon

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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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16 Comments

Write a Comment and Review

  1. Chris Naulder on December 23, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Gemma I really like the look of your aunt’s Christmas cake, but, as we are a non-alcoholic family,is there a suitable substitute for the whiskey?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 23, 2018 at 2:11 pm

      Hi Chris! You can always use orange juice as a substitute. Just use the same amount. I hope you enjoy! 🙂

  2. Haley on December 20, 2018 at 8:35 am

    I love the look of the stars on top of the cake

    • Gemma Stafford on December 20, 2018 at 5:17 pm

      Aw thank you! I had so much fun making this cake 😀

  3. Mary Hatch on December 17, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    Some day I am going to try to make this. I have to tell you that I just love you & the way you present things. You make everything so simple! I am a regular email subscriber & you need to know that you are extreeeemly appreciated. Thank you and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    • Gemma Stafford on December 18, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      I am delighted to hear that 😀 Same to you! Enjoy!

    • Donna on December 19, 2018 at 4:25 pm

      It is always worth the time and effort to make a Christmas cake. Just start early so you can brandy it up really good! 😃

      • Gemma Stafford on December 19, 2018 at 9:17 pm

        Yes, i totally agree! Happy Holidays!

  4. Shikha on December 17, 2018 at 10:22 am

    Hi gemma
    It’s Shikha here… loved the recipe… u r extremely talented… I always eagerly wait for ur recipes every week… Thanks for the amazing recipes…
    I would like to suggest you that it would be very very great if u show recipe of making homemade cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese… Many people including me don’t find it here… it will be very very helpful to a lot many people out there… hope you upload a video of it soon…

    • Gemma Stafford on December 18, 2018 at 2:38 am

      Hi Shikha,
      Thank you for your kind words.
      This is a big process, cheese making is a slow thing, very doable, and interesting, but a complex enough thing.
      I suggest you do a little reading up on this, there are some great blogs on this subject, read a few, watch a few videos too, that will tell you if this is for you. I am interested in this, but I am not sure if it is for me, or for other bold bakers. We tend to keep it simple here, as much as possible. However, it is on my list,
      Gemma 🙂

  5. Sharon1234 on December 17, 2018 at 4:36 am

    Hi Gemma,

    How to make bitter cream frosting, or the cream which tastes bitter in truffles

    • Gemma Stafford on December 17, 2018 at 8:53 am

      Hello! I am delighted to hear that 😀 Happy Holidays!

  6. R Woolf on December 17, 2018 at 2:51 am

    All your recipe e mails are reaching me then will not download. I have resend them to myself.
    Yours are the only emails l receive that this happens to.
    Can anyone help?
    Robtw. Xx

    • Kevin Kurtz on December 20, 2018 at 6:35 am

      Hi Rob, It’s Kevin, Gemma’s husband and partner. When you receive the emails, are you able to click on the links and get to the website. The recipes aren’t downloadable but they should take you to the recipe pages. Please let us know what happened and we’ll see how we can help.

  7. Sonali Rai on December 16, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Just amazing today I will definitely try this decoration for my Christmas dry fruit cake. thanks so much for this wonderful recipe….😄

    • Gemma Stafford on December 17, 2018 at 4:02 am

      Hi there,
      Good! I am happy to hear this, thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

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