My first Christmas Cake- Part 2 Decorating the cake

First of all, I´d like to wish you all a happy New Year. With all the Christmas preparations etc plus the fact that I was very behind schedule with everything, I haven´t had much time to blog. I had decided to make my own almond paste seeing as the city I live in Spain doesn´t sell ready-made roll out marzipan. So I set to work making the almond paste using the recipe from the Dairy Book of Home Cookery. It was actually a lot easier than I expected. Unfortunately, the recipe called for caster sugar but as I didn´t have any (again not easy to buy in the city where I live) I substituted it with granulated sugar, thinking it wouldn´t be much of a problem. How wrong was I! The actual taste of the almond paste was nice but it was really gritty as if it contained grains of sand or salt in it!! I ended up throwing it away and asking my mum to bring the ready made roll out stuff.

I rolled the marzipan out into a circle (my mum hadn´t brought enough to cover the whole cake) and then brushed the fruit cake with apricot jam, then placed the marzipan circle on top of the cake.

After leaving the marzipan to dry out for a day, I made some royal icing using Hannah Miles´s recipe from the Big Book of Cakes and Cookies and my new electric hand whisk (an early Christmas pressie!) and then using a spatula iced the cake as smoothly as I possibly could. It was all very last minute...I think I was still decorating it on Christmas Eve!

After leaving the icing to dry out for about a day, I decorated the side of the cake with a pretty silver ribbon I found, using a tiny bit of saved icing to seal the ends of the ribbon together y voila!

I then dusted the cake with some silver pearl dust and coloured some leftover fondant green. Using a holly shaped biscuit cutter I cut out three holly leaves and with a knife tried to make the veins as realistic looking as I could (which unfortunately wasn´t much!) and with a little water stuck them on top of the cake.Then using some leftover red fondant I formed three little balls for the berries, which I placed in the centre of the leaves. Not too bad for a fairly rushed decorating job and for a first Christmas cake!

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