How to Make a Festive Bear Christmas Cake [Mich Turner MBE]
I have been hosting my annual Christmas Masterclasses in London for over 15 years and every year comes the challenge of designing the Christmas Cake for the class to recreate. The Masterclass is a highlight of the year with many of my attendees coming back year after year. This year I have taken inspiration from the German Christmas Markets. The cake is decorated with a hand-piped garland and hand finished decorations. I have set the cake on an iced board that has been decorated to resemble a wood effect with a hand-piped message. The festive bear on the top has been made from chocolate sugar paste complete with Santa hat and gingerbread lebkuchen heart. — Mich Turner
You Will Need:
- 6″ CHRISTMAS CAKE COVERED IN MARZIPAN AND WHITE SUGAR PASTE
- 10″ Square board
- 1kg Chocolate sugar paste (I used Satinice fondant)
- 1 kg Vanilla sugar paste (I used Satinice fondant)
- Chestnut, ivory and egg yellow gel colours
- Rolling pin
- Woodgrain impression mat
- Glue stick
- Ribbon (15mm wide) for the baseboard and around the base of the cake
- 50g Each of green, red, white and brown fondant mixed 1:1 with gum paste (I used Satinice)
- Small Christmas cutters or templates cut out of card
- Red and white royal icing
- No. 2 piping nozzles
- Dowelling rod and cocktail stick
- Blade and cone modelling tool
Method – For the Base Board
1. Knead equal portions of vanilla and chocolate sugar paste separately until pliable. Roll these into two sausages and lay them next to each other. You will not need to use any additional icing sugar at this stage.
3. Knead the log by rolling into a long log and then bringing the two outer ends into the centre as shown. It is imperative to ONLY knead the paste in this direction and continue to roll out and bring the 2 outer ends into the centre. Repeat until you have an interestingly coloured, striated log.
4. Cut the log into smaller sections (approximately 10cm long and 2cm diameter).
5. Roll the small log out by rolling down the length of the log to create the wood strip effect. Lay the piece into position on the baseboard which has been moistened with a pastry brush and a little cooled boiled water. Trim the edge to be met by the next piece of paste so it is straight, and repeat until the board is fully covered with chocolate wood strip pieces. (You will see I have cut some of these strips across so they even better resemble a wood strip effect.)
7. Press the impression mat into the paste while it is still pliable to achieve the woodgrain.
Method – To Decorate
1. Fix the cake into position on the baseboard using royal icing to hold in place. (I have placed mine slightly to the back of the board to allow the message to be positioned in front of the cake.) Fix a length of ribbon around the base of the cake held in position with royal icing.
3. For the Christmas decorations, I made these beforehand to allow them to dry. Each was cut out using a mixture of fondant and gum paste for extra strength. They also allowed me to roll them finer. I added hand-piped detail to each of the decorations and allowed them to dry.
4. Each decoration has been fixed into position on the cake using a little royal icing.
Method – To Make the Festive Bear
2. Shape paste to create a head, two arms and base legs, and fix these into position as shown.
3. Add the muzzle and ear and use the cone tool and blade tool to add the details.
4. Make a Santa hat and fix this in position with cocktail sticks.
6. Roll out a piece of chocolate sugar paste, lay a sheet of clingfilm over the top, and cut out a heart. This will create a pillowy shape which can be hand decorated and held in position with royal icing.
TOP TIP: The paste is quite tacky so only needs a little moist water (use a paintbrush) to fix the elements into position. I used royal icing with the heart for extra security. Use a palette knife to carefully lift the festive bear into position on the top of the cake.
Method – Hand-Piped Message
2. Fix this into position on the baseboard in front of the cake, moistened with a little water.
“Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!” — Mich Turner MBE
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