This Christmas has been quite a busy time with Christmas cakes, cake-pops and my very first Gingerbread House.
I'll start with the cake-pop cake with the gingerbread men around the outside. This was for a young family so I knew it had to be bright, festive and fun. I also had to cover the fruit cake with a thick layer of marzipan as that was a requirement. The two candy canes on top of the cake are real and the ones around the cake are fondant. They're really easy to make, take two thin long sausages one red and one white, place them together and nip one end then twirl them round so that they spiral, snip the ends and curl the top and that's it, simple.
The Christmas tree is made of fondant and royal icing which has to dry after every row so it doesn't merge into one and then decorate with little bits of fondant in bright colours.
The snowman and reindeer are cake-pops the only thing I did different this year was I used chocolate covered pretzels to make the antlers, this can get rather annoying as they wouldn't brake where I wanted them to so a big bag of pretzels wasn't quite big enough and I only made 6 reindeer's, oh well.
I made this cake for my dad, every year as part of his Christmas box I make him a fruit cake and go nuts with decorating. Last couple of years I've decorated a round fruit cake with festive patchwork, which I think are adorable but I wanted to try something new and Igloo's popped into my head so it had to be.
The cake was an 8" fruit cake that I cut in half and laid on it's side, the two doorways are fruit cupcakes with a bit sliced of one side and then stuck onto the main cake with some royal icing. I then covered them both with marzipan and white fondant then with royal icing I piped some lines to make it look like bricks of snow, then dusted with icing sugar and a bit of lustre.
The two reindeer's are again cake-pops and the tree and snowman (hiding in the corner) are made of fondant. The reindeer's were meant to be fishing hence the two fish heads but I ran out of time plus they don't have any arms so it would have been near impossible for them to fish.
This small fruit cake was the one I used the patchwork cutters on, it wouldn't be Christmas without them. Its a simple design with stars and candy decorating the outside of the cake and Santa and his two helpers placing a star on an invisible tree :-) on top of the cake.
The cake board was covered in red fondant and then with a holly plunger I replaced some of the red fondant with green holly leaves which makes rather a nice effect and finishes of the cake.
This cake isn't a fruit cake as they don't like them so every year I make them a sponge cake and decorate it with festive paraphernalia, this year it was the turn of the snowman. The cake is covered in jade fondant and white fondant around the bottom to give it a snow look. To finish of the edging I alternated between jade and white fondant balls and the same with the snowflakes jade on white and white on jade.
The snowman and snowwoman are made with cake pop mixture but covered in white fondant not chocolate. Thankfully the bag of broken pretzels came in handy for the arms as they looked like twigs and the hats and scarf's are made of fondant.
The cake-pops are similar to the ones I made last year except they are on sticks and like I said early the antlers are made of pretzels, good idea but you need patience and a steady hand.
Finally we come to my very first Gingerbread House I'll keep saying first because it wasn't as easy to put together as they made out on TV. First a quick note to all novice gingerbread house makers - use caramel to stick the house together not royal icing, it dries in a flash and doesn't take to long to make. It is a bit messy but its not to hard to get the hang of using it. Use the royal icing to decorate with, but do the decorating once the house is glued together or leave it to dry over night if you want to decorate it first.
OK rant over. Once I got over the collapsing roof and sides I really enjoyed decorating and making the house its lots of fun and I'm sure it must get easier with time and practice. I went for kids sweets and hearts for the decorations, I did make some little gingerbread people and trees but they were eaten so I went for chocolate mice much more unique.
That's it, all my festive baking and making in a nut shell all that's left to be said is Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I hope next year will be as fun as 2012 has been.