Sparkly bauble cake

Sparkly bauble cake

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(1 ratings)

Prep: 2 hrs Cook: 3 hrs, 15 mins plus overnight soaking and drying

More effort

Serves 15 - 20
This bright and kitsch design is a modern way to decorate a traditional Christmas fruit cake for a showstopping centrepiece

Nutrition and extra info

  • uniced

Nutrition: per serving (20)

  • kcal777
  • fat25g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs121g
  • sugars110g
  • fibre2g
  • protein9g
  • salt0.3g
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Ingredients

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
    Eggs

    Egg

    egg

    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 225g plain flour
  • 2g ground mixed spice
  • zest 1 small orange
    Orange

    Orange

    or-ange

    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • 85g pecans or walnuts, toasted, then roughly chopped
    Pecan nuts

    Pecan

    pee-kan

    Related to the walnut, pecans are native to America, and grow enclosed in a glossy, browny-red…

For the fruit

  • 150ml cloudy apple juice
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
    Maple syrup

    Maple syrup

    may-pul sir-rup

    The rising spring sap of a number of varieties of maple tree

  • 5 tbsp dark rum
  • 800g mixed dried fruit (the kind that includes mixed peel)
  • 175g dried cranberries
    Cranberries

    Cranberry

    A tart, ruby-red coloured berry which grows wild on shrubs throughout northern Europe and North…

To feed the cake (each time)

  • 2 tbsp dark rum
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
    Maple syrup

    Maple syrup

    may-pul sir-rup

    The rising spring sap of a number of varieties of maple tree

To cover and ice

  • 4 tbsp apricot jam, warmed and sieved
  • icing sugar, sifted, for rolling out
  • 750g natural marzipan
  • cooled boiled water or colourless alcohol
  • 750g white sugarpaste (fondant) icing

To decorate

  • small round cutters in different sizes (or you can use the ends of large piping nozzles)
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted, plus a little extra
  • 1 large egg white
  • assorted gel food colourings (I used purple, yellow, pink, green and black)
  • coloured sugar balls (you can buy a mix of colours online)
  • disposable piping bag
  • about 120cm/48in matching ribbon

Method

  1. Start with the fruit. Pour the apple juice into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the butter, let it melt, then take off the heat and add the syrup and rum. Put the mixed fruit and cranberries into a large bowl, pour over the hot rum mix, then cover tightly with cling film and leave overnight.

  2. The next day, heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease and double-line a 20cm round, deep cake tin with non-stick baking parchment. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and pale, then gradually beat in the eggs until light and fluffy. If the mix starts to split or look lumpy, add 1 tbsp of the flour and keep beating. Sift in the flour, spices and 1/4 tsp salt, and fold in using a large spoon. Fold in the orange zest, nuts, soaked fruit and soaking liquid.

  3. Spoon the batter into the tin, level the top, then make a slight dimple in the middle using the back of the spoon. Bake for 1 hr 30 mins, then reduce oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1 and bake for a further 1 hr 45 mins or until it has risen, is a dark golden colour and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Put the tin on a cooling rack and leave until warm.

  4. To feed the cake the first time, use a cocktail stick to poke all over the top of the warm cake. Stir together the rum and maple syrup, then slowly spoon over the cake. Cool completely, then remove the baking parchment, wrap loosely in clean baking parchment and store in an airtight tin. Feed the cake every week to 10 days until you decorate it.

  5. Now you're ready to cover and ice your cake. Sit the cake on a large flat plate or board and brush a thin layer of apricot jam over the top and sides.

  6. Dust the work surface with icing sugar. Lightly knead the marzipan until pliable, then roll out in one direction, turning the marzipan 90 degrees every few rolls and keeping the pressure even. Keep it in a circular shape, reshaping it if needed as you go. When large enough (about 35cm across for a 20cm cake), lift over the cake. Smooth the top and sides with your palms and trim with a knife. If you have time, leave to dry overnight.

  7. Clean the work surface and rolling pin. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the sides with cooled boiled water or alcohol, then cover with the sugarpaste icing, rolling it in the same way. Lift onto the cake, then work your way gradually around, smoothing out any folds with your palms to avoid wrinkles forming. Polish the icing with the palms of your hands (or a proper cake smoother) for a smooth finish. Trim with a sharp knife.

  8. Using the cutters, cut out shapes in the icing, pressing down as far as the marzipan, then removing the middles. To make teardrop and bird shapes, use a small sharp knife to cut points above and below or to the sides of the circles.

  9. Mix the icing sugar and egg white to make a thick but flowing icing. Split it roughly between five pots – leave one white, then colour the others. Flood each shape with a different colour, then add some coloured balls and leave to set. A pair of craft tweezers will help if you want the balls to be in a design rather than just scattered over.

  10. Add a dab of black colouring to the remaining white icing to make it grey, and add a little more icing sugar to thicken it. Spoon into the piping bag, snip off the end, then pipe on the strings, bows and stars or snowflakes. Tie the ribbon around the base of the cake and leave to dry.

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