Gingerbread man christmas cake

  • Total Time

    4h 30m
    • Prep Time

      30m
    • Bake Time

      4h 0m
  • Serves

    16
  • Skill Level

    Intermediate
  • Dietary Needs

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Traditional Christmas fruit cakes don't always have to be decorated in the same traditional style. We think that these gingerbread decorations will give your cake at lovely modern feel this year. The kids will also have great fun decorate with the sugar paste characters.

Method

  1. Put all the mixed dried fruit into a large mixing bowl and add the rum, orange juice and the zest of both the orange and the lemon. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave for 24 hours, shaking occasionally.

  2. Line a round 23cm cake tin with three layers of greaseproof paper. You will also need a double layer of brown paper to wrap around the outside of the tin.

  3. Preheat the oven to 150°C (130°C fan, 300°F, gas mark 2)

  4. Rinse the cherries carefully in warm water. Dry and cut into quarters.

  5. Sift the flour and mixed spices together.

  6. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the eggs, one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the flour mix after each addition.

  7. Fold in the remaining flour, ground almonds, cherries and the soaked dried fruit.

  8. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the top with the back of a spoon, making a slight well in the middle of the cake.

  9. Wrap the brown paper round the cake tin and tie with string. Bake the cake for 1 hour, then reduce the oven temperature to 140°C (120°C fan, 275°F, gas mark 1) and bake for 3 hours or until a skewer in the centre comes out clean. Cover the top loosely with foil if the cake is browning too much.

  10. Remove the cake from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack (leave the baking paper on).

  11. When cool wrap the cake in foil and store carefully. To feed the cake pierce the cake a few times with a skewer. Drizzle over 2 tbsp rum, re-wrap and store. Repeat a few times.

  12. To marzipan the cake, warm the apricot jam in a small pan or in the microwave, until melted and just warm. Remove all the paper from the cake and place on a cake board.

  13. Lightly knead a small piece of marzipan and use this to fill in the gaps between the cake and the board. Brush the warm jam over the top and sides of the cake.

  14. Lightly dust the work surface with icing sugar and roll out the remaining marzipan into a circle or square large enough to cover the cake (about 35cm for a 23cm diameter round cake or 20cm square cake). Using the rolling pin, lift the marzipan and lay it over the cake. Ease it down the sides with your hands ensuring there are no air pockets.

  15. Trim excess marzipan off the sides with a kitchen knife. Dust your hands with icing sugar and rub the cake lightly with your hands to ensure a smooth finish. If possible leave the marzipan to set and dry for 1 to 2 days at room temperature.

  16. To ice the cake, brush the marzipaned cake lightly with a little alcohol or boiled water. Lightly dust the work surface with icing sugar.

  17. Lightly knead the icing and roll to thickness of 5mm thick and 35cm circle or square. Using the rolling pin, lift the icing and lay it over the cake. Push it down the sides with your hands ensuring there are no air pockets and gently easing out and folds or pleats.

  18. Trim off the excess icing around the base with a sharp knife. Lightly dust with icing sugar then, using the palms of clean hands, make a polishing action over the icing to smooth the surface as much as possible.

  19. Using your brown sugar paste icing, roll out to a 5mm thickness and using the gingerbread man cutter stamp out two gingerbread men shapes. Brush the bottom of the shapes with boiled water and stick to the cake.

  20. To make the candy cane roll out the red and white sugar paste icing into a thin sausage shape then twist together. Shape into a candy cane and brush with water to secure to the cake.

  21. To make the border roll small balls of red and white sugar paste icing sugar and stick to the cake alternating. Finish with a festive Christmas ribbon.

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