Festive fruit cakes from expert baker Juliet Sear
600g ready baked fruit cake
A little apricot jam
600g natural marzipan
1kg white sugar paste
A little stiff royal icing to stick the pieces and decorations together
Ready coloured sugar paste, you can get these in 250g packs in red, green, orange and black
Approx 1 tbsp soft peak brown and black royal icing, in a piping bag with a number 2 nozzle
First make your balls by breaking up the fruit cake roughly, taking approx 80g for the large balls, squeeze this together to compact into a chunk. Then roll between your palms to make circular balls. It is messy but fun! It’s like Christmassy meatballs!
Boil a little apricot jam and brush over the balls to make them sticky with a pastry brush.
Roll out the marzipan to a thickness of no more than 5mm. Cut into pieces large enough to completely cover the large cake balls. Lay a marzipan piece over the top of each ball and press around the sides. Pick up a ball and pinch underneath the base to gather up the excess marzipan. Trim this off. Roll the ball in your palms until smooth. Repeat with the rest of the balls. Roll out the excess and repeat the process with the small balls. Leave to dry overnight.
When ready to cover in icing, brush the balls with a little brandy, vodka or cooled boiled water or do it in your palms to be super quick. Repeat all of step 3 but using the white sugar paste. If you see a little mark or crack where you have trimmed off the excess icing, make sure this is on the underside so it won’t show. Leave to dry—ideally overnight, or for a few hours before commencing any decorating.
To decorate, take some stiff royal icing and dab a little on to the top of each large ball to aid the head sticking. Now place the small balls on top of the large one.
Roll some of the red and green sugar paste out to make a couple of long strips, using some icing sugar. Keep it about 4-5mm thickness so it doesn’t break.
Make their scarves by using a sharp knife or a ribbon cutter to cut a thin piece of sugar paste, about 12cm in length and 1½cm width to make the scarves. Using a little royal icing in a piping bag, squeeze some around the neck area and down on to the body, so you can wrap the scarves over the snowman to give him his warm cuddly sugar scarf. Any leftover sugar paste can be placed in a food bag with a clip to keep for later.
For the hats, take the black royal icing and roll out half of it to about 5mm thickness and use a small round cutter about 4cm—or just cut around something a similar size—to create the bottom of his hat. Attach to the head with a dab of royal icing.
Now roll out the rest of the royal icing into a sausage about 2cm thick, cut into chunks about 2cm high and then, using your fingers, narrow off the bottom and shape into a hat shape. Stick to the hat rim by using a dab of designer icing.
Now add the eyes, mouth and buttons detail by piping little dots of black stiff peak royal icing with a number 3 nozzle in your bag to make the stoney smile and coal buttons.
Using brown stiff peak royal icing with a number 3 nozzle, pipe over his twiggy arms as if he is holding his scarf down over his chubby tummy to keep the cold out.
Finally make the carrot by mixing a small amount of orange sugar paste. Shape small cones with your fingers, give them a twist to add detail and attach in between the eyes and mouth by dabbing a tiny bit of white royal icing. Leave these to dry overnight before displaying or boxing as gifts.
Gorgeous—who can resist these jolly snowmen at Christmas time?
Recipe: Juliet Sear