The christmas cake is back and its……….. . well, it’s decorated. I know I said I was going to do the marzipan/icing thing and make it look like a wrapped christmas present but several things have happened since then. Like, for example, I have had my camera ripped off twice (hence, why I haven’t been able to blog properly for over a month). It’s a long story and one which I’m sure I’ll laugh about one day but not right now. The other thing is that people generally don’t tend to like marzipan or icing or both and it does seem a little perverse to encase something really quite dark, rich and beautiful in it’s own right in layers of unecessary sugar. The other drawback to the traditional icing method at this point in the year is time. We’re all utterly knackered/hungover/stressed/all of the above so anything that saves time is a winner. Decorating my cake took under half an hour and if I do say so myself, it looks beautiful. The toasty nuts nuts, jewels of plumped up apricots and cranberries with a bit of pizazz by way of the golden balls manages to look somehow traditional and modern at the same time.
Here’s what I did; I chose some nuts (pecans, brazils and almonds) and some dried fruit (cranberries and apricots). I toasted said nuts lightly on an oven tray for between 5 to 8 mins, depending on the size of the nuts. Keep your eye on them, they go from nutty, warm wonderfulness to burnt in the blink of an eye. With the dried fruit I plumped it up in a bit alcohol – damson vodka for the cranberries and amaretto for the apricots and placed it all on a piece of kitchen towel to remove the excess. Then, in a deprature from tradition I used some Rose’s Lime & Lemon marmalade (about half a jar) melted down gently with two tablespoons of water as a both glue and glaze. I firstly brushed some onto the board and stuck the cake to it and then brushed the whole cake thoroughly with it. For the final stage I put the nuts and fruit into a bowl and poured the remaining glaze over, turned it to make sure everything was coated and then piled it in big handfuls on top of the cake. You’ll find that however it falls, it looks fabulous! To finish off I scattered a few gold decorating balls around – not too many – and then left it at that. I didn’t even put the ribbon on that I’d bought for it. A friend turned up just as I was finishing it and pointed out that it was nice to actually see the cake instead of covering it. She was right, the beauty is in the simplicity.
See here for how to make the cake.