Dec 19, 2010

Super simple fondant icing for super simple too easy Christmas Cake…


As a follow on from my post about the ‘Super simple too easy Christmas Cake’ here is how I decorated it with marshmallow fondant, made the snowflakes and text template and finally the ribbon and bow... (apologies now for the long lengthy post… can you tell I love talking???)

Firstly I decided that I wanted it to be fairly simple and have a snowflake design on it with a short but sweet Christmas quote. I settled on two snowflakes and the words ‘Peace Love & Joy’ because I love all the feelings of warmth the saying conjures up.

In my word program I did up a basic template, which you can find in pdf form later in this post.

I printed it out and lay it over the cake to get a bit of a visual…


Now, you’ll notice that the snowflakes on the above picture are different to the finished product… I wanted an easy and quick cake decoration and honestly the above snowflakes were just a little too fiddly and my patience led to a much more basic but still impressive design.

Now the fun begins… I started off just levelling the top of my cake using a sharp long knife so that I had a nice flat top to work with.

Totally optional, but I chose to do an almond flavoured buttercream layer to the top of the cake (I didn’t realise till just now but I totally neglected to take any photo's of this step). I didn’t do the sides because they were already nice and smooth but I wanted a really flat, smooth cake top with a gentle curve where the sides meet the cake top.

Buttercream recipe (Beware I am the queen of approximates and this is my lazy method of making buttercream which I only use if its going UNDER fondant…)

Approx 185gms vegetable shortening (SOLITE)

Approx 2 cups icing sugar (confectioners powder/sugar)

About 1tbsp milk

Melt shortening in microwave until liquid (here in Australia I use ‘Copha’ vegetable {coconut derived} shortening which I think may have slightly different properties to the American style veg. shortening) ***UPDATE - I now use a product called SOLITE - Awesome stuff!!!***

Mix in icing sugar – you can use a mix master but I sometimes just do it by hand… the heat from the copha helps get a smooth consistency… and add in the milk until it is a nice firm but malleable texture.

Spoon onto top of cake (and sides if you wish) and using a hot spatula spread and smooth making a nice base for the fondant.

Marshmallow Fondant
385gms white marshmallows

4 cups powdered sugar

2tbsp water

*Place water and marshmallows in bowl and microwave for approx 1 minute – the marshmallows will get all puffy and soft – remove from microwave and stir till smooth, then mix in all icing sugar.

DSC07685 The mixture will get very sticky and hard to stir (normal) and some of the sugar wont be incorporated but that’s fine.

DSC07687 Turn out onto a well powdered board or work surface and knead like bread until the mix is soft, smooth and no longer sticky (takes a few minutes)

I like to line my bench with freezer film that I tape down on the edges – makes clean up so much easier.

Use a rolling pin to roll out fondant to about 4 – 5mm in thickness (make sure your surface is well powdered prior to this otherwise you wont be able to lift it off the bench without it sticking and tearing)

* Prep cake for fondant by either brushing lightly with milk or special bonding liquid – I used a little milk.Using the rolling pin (and maybe even your arm… whatever works for you) carefully lift the fondant and place centred over the cake.

***I apologise for the lack of photos for the next few steps… it was getting late and I honestly thought I was taking photographs but it seems I merely imagined it!***

Gently shape the fondant over the corners and sides then using a sharp knife trim away the excess (don’t trim too close the the cake base or you might find that once you cut off the excess the lack of weight holding the sides down will cause the icing to ‘shrink’ up the side a little – I tend to allow an extra 5 –10 mm).

Now rework the excess into a ball and roll again (if its getting a little firm I find that about 10sec in the microwave will help soften it up again but don’t zap it for too much more than this or it will ruin).

Xmas snowflake ‘Peace Love & Joy’ template is here.

I lightly sprayed my snowflake template with cooking spray so that it would not stick to the fondant and then placed it on the fondant and used a pin to prick through the outline into the fondant creating a guide line to then cut the snowflakes using a small sharp knife (you can get specialised tools for this but a knife does the job too). After cutting the snowflakes I gently smoothed and shaped the edges.

Brush the back of the snowflakes with almond essence and lay onto the cake.
I also made a couple of holly leaves and berries using some of the extra fondant and food colouring.

For the writing I used the same technique as for the snowflakes but lay the template directly onto the cake and used a pin to prick the icing gently leaving a guide line that was then covered when I completed the words with coloured icing. Oh, and I added some silver cachous balls to the snowflakes to make them a little more special.

DSC07693For the ribbon I used a metallic type wired ribbon in red and green. I cut 2 x 3 different lengths of each (each about an inch shorter than the last).

This will give you 12 pieces.

Fold the ends of each piece in towards the center so the ends overlap by about 1 cm.

Beginning with the shortest length of ribbon, double over as detailed in the previous step and then pass a pin through each layer working in a criss cross pattern from shortest to longest (click on the picture for an enlargement). I ended up re-pinning the bow with a red sparkly craft ball to start with… seemed to make it look a little more finished (check out the final pictures).

Measure out enough ribbon to go around the cake and using a couple of pins (sterilised dressmaker pins with only the little metal head do the job well) secure the ribbon around the cake.

Fluff up the bow a little (I found just scrunching it a little worked well because of the wired ribbon) and use a pin to attach bow over the ribbon join…. TaDaa…. DONE… time for a little victory dance around the kitchen!

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