Gingerbreadman Christmas Cake Tutorial

Saturday 16 December 2017

I wanted to show you all a simple and easy way to decorate your Christmas Cake this year.  You can seriously have it done in about half an hour.  It truly is easy peasy, and I think it is really, really cute, don't you?

First you will want to assemble all of your ingredients.  You will need one baked fruit cake. Mine is 8 inches in diameter.  You will also need some ready rolled marzipan and ready rolled fondant icing.  Don't worry if you cannot find it ready rolled, you can either buy the stuff un-rolled and roll your own, or make your own from scratch.  I am going to give you the recipes below to make both the marzipan layer and the fondant.  You will also need 3 TBS of apricot jam, warmed with 1 TBS of water or Brandy and pushed through a sieve to make it smooth and take out any bits.  I have used three gingerbread cutters.  One largish man and two smaller ones, a boy and a girl.  But you can use any combination that you have in your house.  You will also need some ribbons to decorate the edges around the cake or a paper frill, and some candies, etc. to decorate your gingerbread men. 

Once you have everything assembled it will go like wild-fire!  
It is really very, very easy!

Fasten your cake to the centre of a round cake plate/board.  I used a dab of marzipan to hold it in place. If you don't want any lumpy bumpy surfaces, you can go to the trouble of filling in any holes with some extra marzipan, but I am not really bothered myself.  Brush your cake all over with the seived apricot jam mixure. Take your marzipan and roll it over a rolling pin to move it without tearing it.  Place it gently on top of your cake, smoothing it over the top and down the sides. Smooth the paste over the cake using the palms of your hands, then trim with a sharp knife around the bottom edge of the cake all around. It is recommended that you wait 24 hours to let it dry, but because you are going to be cutting shapes out of the top you won't want to do that. You don't really want it too stuck to the cake when you  lift the shapes off. 

Now you want to brush the marzipan all over the top and sides of the cake with more of the apricot jam mixture.  Roll the fondant icing over the top of a rolling pin to transfer it and then layer it on top of the marzipan, covering the cake completely and smoothing it out with your hands pressing it down gently around the sides also.  Trim off any excess from the bottom and discard.  Now place your cutters to where you want them on top of the cake.  Press your cutter/s through the fondant and marzipan layers and remove the icing with the cutter still inserted to help give a cleaner outline. Add the gingerbread man features to the cut out shape using either cut out and shaped pieces of white fondant or fondant water icing placed in a piping bag. Marzipan shapes and sweets can be added on to and around your gingerbread man shapes for extra decoration.

I used some white piping icing to make lines and then little red balls for the eyes and buttons, which I also used some of the white piping icing to help stick them on.  I cut a bow tie out of a red glace cherry for the larger gingerbread man! 

He looks rather dapper don't you think!  Then I used halved glace cherries and some slivers of green cherry to add some other decorative touches  It doesn't quite look like holly, but I think it looks nice anyways.

I cut some ribbons and placed them around the sides of the cake.  I used ball headed pins to hold them in place.  Just remember when you go to serve your cake that they are there! 

*Vanilla Marzipan*
Makes enough
to cover an 8 inch cake

Easy to make.  You can also add flavours to this if you want to experiment. 

175g golden caster sugar (scant cup)
280g icing sugar (2 1/4 cups)
450g ground almonds (5 1/4 cups)
the seeds from 1 vanilla pod
2 medium free range eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp orange or lemon juice 

Mix the sugars and almonds in a large bowl, then rub in the vanilla seeds until even. Make a well in the middle, then tip in the eggs and citrus juice. Cut the wet ingredients into the dry with a round bladed knife. Dust the surface with icing sugar, then knead the marzipan briefly with your hands to a smooth dough. Don’t overdo it as it can get greasy. Add a bit more icing sugar if it seems too wet. Shape into a ball, then wrap and keep in a cool place until ready to cover the cake. Can be made up to 2 days in advance. 

When you are ready to use, dust your work surface with more icing sugar, then roll the marzipan into a circle about 40cm/16 inches across, dusting underneath the marzipan with more icing sugar and turning it a quarter turn after every few pushes of the rolling pin. You should also have prepared your cake by brushing it all over with apricot jam which you have gently warmed and then put through a sieve. (About 3 TBS should do it. I sometimes add a bit of brandy.)

Flip the top of the circle back over your rolling pin so you can see the underside of the marzipan, then lift the pin up and lift the marzipan over the cake. Stop once you can see that the edge of the marzipan nearest you is about level with the bottom of the cake. Flop the front of the marzipan down. Smooth the paste over the cake using the palms of your hands, then trim with a sharp knife. If any cracks appear, simply pinch the paste back together and smooth. Leave to dry for at least 24 hrs, or up to 3 days, before covering with icing.

*Rolled Fondant Icing*
Makes enough to
cover a large cake
 You could buy this ready rolled, but just in case you can't find it, here is a recipe to make your own. 

1 sachet gelatine
60ml cold water (1/4 cup)
125ml glucose syrup (1/2 cup +1 TBS)
1 TBS glycerine
2 TBS butter
1 tp vanilla
1 KG icing sugar (2.2 pounds) 

Combine gelatine and cold water. Let stand until thick.  Place in the top of a double boiler and heatuntil dissolved.  Add the glucose and glycerine. Mix well together and then stir in butter. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Cool the mixture until it is lukewarm. 

Place half of the icing sugar in a bowl and make a well in the centre.  Add the lukewarm gelatine mixture, stirring it in with a wooden spoon. Mix in sugar a little more at a time until the stickiness disappears. Knead in the remaining icing sugar until the mixture is smooth and pliable and does not stick to your hands.  If it is too sticky, add a bit more sugar.  If too dry add a few drops of water.  Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge.  Bring to room temperature prior to using, and knead again until soft.

I think it turned out really cute!  I wanted to show you the neat cake carrier I have to store it as well.

Its one of those Lock Top ones.  I got it quite some time ago.  You put the cake on the insert part, which has handles for lifting. Then you lift your cake and put it into the cake holder and the lid clips on air tight. There is even a handle for carrying it around, out to the car, into the kitchen, etc.  If you don't have one of these you might want to put it on your christmas list!  I got mine at a local cook shop, but I think you can get them online at various places. 

In any case I hope you enjoyed seeing our Christmas cake for this year! Bon Appetit and Happy Holidays!


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