What a brilliant response there has been to ‘Part 1‘ of this post – a recipe for the ‘Ultimate Vegan Christmas Cake‘. It seems that quite a few of you have made the cake, and have been eagerly awaiting instructions on how to marzipan, sugarpaste and decorate it – so here goes.
My own cake has been sitting patiently in a tin on top of the fridge, double-wrapped in baking parchment, and being fed regularly with amaretto. Living the dream! The waft of boozy, fruity cake is getting stronger each time I open the lid, in eager anticipation of Christmas.
Of course the way you decorate your cake is entirely up to you – why not browse Pinterest for some festive ideas?
I usually go for plain white icing with fresh greenery and holly on top, but this year have tried something a little different with a pale blue snow scene, which is easy to do and looks quite striking.
If you haven’t yet made your cake, there’s still time – click here for the cake recipe post.
For the decorating stages, you will need:
- Your choice of alcohol (brandy, sherry or amaretto – check they are vegan) – or skip this step for a non-alcoholic cake.
- apricot jam
- icing sugar for dusting
- 1kg ready-to roll marzipan (check it is vegan)
- 1kg ready-to-roll sugarpaste (check it is vegan)
- blue food colouring
- white writing icing (check it is vegan)
Feeding the Cake
Feeding the cake with your tipple of choice is a great way both to keep it very moist, and to add lots of festive flavour. Brandy, sherry or amaretto all work well, (just check that they are vegan) – I’ve used amaretto this year.
- Prick the cake all over with a cocktail stick or skewer – the holes should be just a few centimetres apart.
- Drizzle a few tablespoons of your chosen alcohol over the top of the cake, so that it trickles into all the holes.
- Repeat the process every few days or weekly until you decide to marzipan and ice the cake.
Marzipanning the Cake
4. Use a piece of string or tape measure to measure the cake up one side, along the top and down the other side.
5. On a surface dusted in icing sugar, roll out the marzipan to a large square just a little bigger than your cake measurement, so that it will drape over the whole cake in one piece.
6. Heat 2-3 tbsp apricot jam in a small bowl in the microwave (or a small saucepan), and use a pastry brush to brush it all over the top and sides of the cake. This will act like a glue to stick the marzipan in place.
7. Pick up the marzipan, (draping it over your rolling pin makes this easier), and place it on the cake, smoothing down the top. Trim off any excess at the corners with a sharp knife, and smooth down to create fairly sharp corners. You can buy a plastic smoothing tool (see picture below) for a few pounds which makes this job a lot easier, otherwise just use your hands to smooth the marzipan.
Icing the Cake
8. Cut off a chunk of about a quarter of the sugarpaste and set aside – this will remain white. Add a few drops of blue colouring to the remaining three quarters and knead well until it is evenly distributed and a solid colour.
9. On a surface dusted with icing sugar, roll out the blue sugarpaste to the same cake measurement as you did the marzipan. Brush the marzipan all over with a little of the alcohol you used to feed the cake (or water), which will help the icing to stick.
10. Pick up the icing, draping it over your rolling pin as before, and smooth it over the top of the marzipan. Trim the corners with a sharp knife and use your hands or a smoothing tool to give it a smooth and neat finish all over.
Decorating the Cake
11. Use a piece of string or tape measure to measure right around the edge of the cake. Take the white sugarpaste, and roll it into a very long, thin sausage shape roughly the same length. Use your rolling pin to roll the sausage flat into a strip about 3cm wide. If you run out of space, you can cut it in half and smooth down the join when you stick the two pieces to the cake.
12. Use a sharp knife to trim one of the long edges so that it is as straight as possible, then cut the other long edge into a zig-zag pattern to look like snow-capped mountains.
13. Brush one side of the icing with a little water, then carefully stick it around the base of the cake. Don’t panic if the icing breaks – just use a little water to smooth it back together.
14. Finally, use the writing icing with a fine nozzle to pipe dots in a random pattern all over the sides of the cake, patting each one with your finger just after piping it to smooth down any spikes.
And voilà, your cake is complete! It will store for weeks in an airtight tin, ready for cutting for tea on Christmas Day.
And don’t forget that my new book Vegan in 15 is out now, and available to order on Amazon, (whoop!). Many thanks for your support!