- 1 20cm-wide Christmas cake (see 'goes well with' for recipe)
- 200g icing sugar, mixed with enough water to make a smooth runny icing, plus a little extra for rolling
- 4 tbsp apricot jam
- 500g pack marzipan
One of mankind’s oldest sources of sweet pleasure, marzipan needs to contain only ground…
- 1½ kg ready-to-roll white fondant icing
- brown and red food colouring
- edible gold balls
You will also need
- 20cm cake board or cake stand
- 7cm gingerbread man cutter
- icing bag and thin nozzle or plastic sandwich bags
Make sure your cake is completely cooled, remove from its tin and peel off the baking parchment. Spread a little icing over a cake board or cake stand, then invert your cake onto it, so the bottom now becomes the top.
On a clean surface lightly dusted with a little icing sugar, roll out the marzipan to a circle large enough to cover the cake – use a piece of kitchen string to help you check. Melt the apricot jam in a small pan with 1 tbsp water, then sieve and brush a little all over your cake. Cover the cake with the marzipan, smoothing it over the surface. Trim the edges.
Brush the marzipan all over with the remaining apricot jam, then roll out 1kg of the fondant icing and, using the same method as for the marzipan, cover your cake with the icing. Trim the edges. (See our step-by-step guide on how to cover your cake, above.)
Split the remaining icing into 3 equal lumps. Dye 1 ball of icing bright red and another gingerbread brown. Cover the icing tightly with cling film until needed. Roll out the brown icing and, using your cutter, stamp out 5 gingerbread men. Use a little of your runny icing to glue the gingerbread men to the top of the cake in a circle.
Roll your red icing and white icing into 20cm sausage shapes, squeeze them together, then continue rolling, twisting the sausage as you roll to give you a candy-cane effect. Use a piece of string to measure around the base of the cake, then cut a candy cane-coloured strip long enough to run around the base and stick it with a little runny icing. Roll the remaining candy cane-coloured icing out a little thinner, then cut into 5 short pieces and bend the ends over to make candy canes. Stick 1 of these between each gingerbread man.
Pour the remaining icing into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle, or a sandwich bag and snip off the end – if the icing is a little runny, thicken it with extra icing sugar first. Use the icing to pipe a smiley face, eyes and 2 dots in the middle of each gingerbread man – stick edible gold balls on the dots to make buttons.