Having baked for the likes of Prince Harry, Bob Geldof and Kate Moss, you could say she knows a thing or two about show-stopping bakes and this edible Christmas centrepiece is no exception. Prepare to drool!
This has to be my top favourite way to decorate a Christmas cake this year, I’m obsessed with making wreaths both sweet and savoury, and this idea is SUPER cute.
You can use any 8” round cake you wish, even a shop brought one will work if you prefer just to decorate and not bake, or if you love baking, try my chocolate orange truffle brownie cake below, it is HEAVENLY!! If you are a fruit cake fan, look out for my recipe on This Morning on 15th November!
I love making little fruit cakes like this for presents too, my family all expect a fruitcake for Christmas!Juliet Sear
The fun thing about this idea is that you can do it either SUPER simply by covering your piped wreath base in brightly coloured treats like smarties for lights, chocolate sweet balls rolled in edible metallic shimmers etc for baubles, or Christmas sprinkles, OR if you fancy getting a little more creative, you can use ready to roll icing and stamp out little Christmas icons like trees, baubles, stars, hearts, gingerbread people, whatever you fancy like the one I have made.
Whatever cake you want to use, cover it in white sugar paste or white buttercream as a base, then add a circle of icing as described to give you a 3d base and then pipe the wreath over the cake around the edge with a leaf nozzle (or use my top tip/hack for this with just a pair of scissors and a piping bag). I love making little fruit cakes like this for presents too, my family all expect a fruitcake for Christmas!!
My decorations were made using various colours of sugar paste, you can do ANY you like, using mini cutters, moulding cute pine cones or doing the candy canes like I’ve showed on my IGTV video.
This recipe below will last for up to two weeks if kept wrapped and cool, so it’s a good one for making a little ahead too although not as early as a fruit cake if you are doing one on Stir Up Sunday!
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees fan.
- Grease, base and side line 2 x 8” round cake tins
- Melt the chocolate gently in a microwave or on a bain marie and set aside to cool
- Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest in a stand mixer until pale and fluffy
- Add the eggs gradually, beating one at a time
- Pour in the cooled melted chocolate with the beater still going on slow
- Lastly add the flour and gently mix through
- Divide equally into the tins and bake, make sure to bake the cake a little fudgy, when tested with a knife it should come out pasty and have a little wobble. It’s a fairly brownie like cake so you will see there is a little crust on the top. Allow cooling in the tins for 10 mins then turning out, removing paper and leave to cool on wire racks.
- Make the filling, sandwich and crumb coat and decorate as shown in the picture
Ganache & Buttercream:
- First off, make the ganache by boiling the cream and pouring over the chocolate. Cover with a large plate to trap the heat and leave to melt for 2 to 3 minutes, then use a wooden spoon and stir in the centre to bring the ganache together. Set aside covered with a clean tea towel.
- Beat the butter, orange zest and icing sugar together well in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat until pale and creamy.
- Beat in the cooled ganache on slow until all mixed well.
To fill and assemble
- Place the first large bottom layer onto your 8” cake drum add a splodge of chocolate orange frosting to stick it in place, making sure the side that was in the bottom if the tin is stuck to the drum and the crust side is upwards.
- Spread over with a generous layer of frosting, about 300g.
- Add the second cake layer, turn it over crust side down and bottom up and place on the top, make sure they are all nicely in line.
- With a palette knife, dollop on the rest of the frosting on top, spread in a side to side motio to coat the top, then spread the frosting all around the sides of the cake to coat. Use a gentle pressure against the side of the cake with the palette knife and use a back and forth spreading motion to spread the costing over the sides.
- Use the palette knife and go around the cake again to smooth off the covering, spreading it until you are happy that its nice and neat.
- Use a side scraper if you have one to get it super neat by sweeping it around the edge and neatening the top.
- This is a crumb coat that seals in the crumbs, sets the cake and will allow for a second coat to be really neat. Put it in the fridge to completely firm up, before you cover in your choice of white ready to roll icing. For an 8” round cake you’ll need about 800g of ready to roll icing to cover the top and sides. If you decide to do a fruit cake, cover in marzipan first, allow to set overnight then cover again in white icing to finish. Find a great video over on my YouTube channel.
To create the wreath base
- Roll the green icing into a sausage long enough to go around the top edge of the cake for the wreath base
- Pipe spiky foliage all over the icing to create a green leafy design
- Place all your decorations around the wreath to finish!
- If you wish to make any little Christmas sugar shapes, you can do this the day before or even a few weeks before and leave in a cake box until needed.
- Roll these out and cut out shapes, leave to dry overnight. The pine cones are made by simple hand moulding. Roll little pieces into a cone shape and snip over with small scissors to make spikey. Leave to dry.
- I’ve also made some little pears, I love pears they are very wintery, these are hand moulded by making a tear drop shape, then pushed a little tool into the top to make a hole for the stem (you can also do this with a cocktail stick). I used some red colouring dust to add the colour shading. I roll a teeny sausage of brown icing and push this into the pear for a stem.
- For the candy canes, roll two small long sausages of different coloured icing on the table, place next to each other and pinch together at one end . Twist together to create the candy cane effect then roll again to seal together. This is a fab decorating idea, you can even make huge ones and do a candy cane heart on the top of any cake.
- Add additional details like bows on the present, colours on the baubles, fluff on a stocking with royal icing in any colour you wish.
Competition Time: Comment on this post to be in with a chance of winning a signed baking book from Juliet Sear!
Find Terms and Conditions here