Tag Archives: fondant

Let Sleeping Dragons Lie – Christmas Cake 2016

It’s an exhausting business protecting your castle ruins…
but it’s good to keep a hoard of snowballs at the ready while you take a nap…

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It wasn’t difficult to choose a theme for my Christmas cake this year – I’d spent November writing a first draft of my next novel dragon post-apocalypse fantasy, and over the past few months I’ve been making dragons and castle turrets in pottery, plus a secret piece of art involving dragons, and putting together my book of dragon short stories… It’s funny, really, that I chose dragons, lol.

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© Lisa Shambrook

I made a vegan cake, as Bekah’s been vegan for about a year now. It meant using vegetable fat and switching eggs for an egg substitute. Last time I used the egg supplement, I made a chocolate cake which tasted amazing, but crumbled straight away. This time, it worked better, the fruit cake held together, but I didn’t risk moving it around too much before covering with marzipan and fondant. It may still be a bit crumbly when we cut into it!

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© Lisa Shambrook

I had to slightly alter my design when I realised I’d thrown out my deep 7” cake tin, and only had a shallow 9” tin. I had wanted to create a turret all the way round the sides of the cake with a door in the side, but I think I prefer the ruins my dragon’s ended up with.

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© Lisa Shambrook

My dragon is based on the sleeping dragon I made in pottery class, and I added the ruined wall, a broken wooden door, a log and snowballs. After all, defending with flames will just melt the snow and my ice dragon enjoys the fun of winter, so it’s snowball ammunition!

let-sleeping-dragons-lie-christmas-cake-2016-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

I’m hoping for snow this Christmas, not really had any for a few years, and I’m looking forward to my feet crunching through the white stuff, building snowmen, and breathing dragon smoke in the frost…

What’s decorating your Christmas cake this year?

I hope you all have a great Christmas!

Button Christmas Tree Cake

This year’s Christmas cake hits all the right buttons! After polar bears, penguins, robins and melting snowmen…I was looking for a new idea. I found this pretty scrapbook Christmas card on Pinterest and inspiration hit!

Button Christmas Tree Cake decorated by Lisa Shambrook

This is how I put it together:

  • Marzipan and then cover the cake in white fondant icing.
  • Roll a narrow trunk from chocolate fondant icing and roll thin branches, six each side, stick them to the iced cake by brushing on water with an artist’s soft paintbrush.
  • Use whatever colour fondant icing you desire for your buttons. I wanted natural coloured buttons, so mixed white fondant with brown and added a couple of lilac buttons.
  • Follow instructions here to make your buttons (Pinterest is so useful!) In case the post is ever removed…roll fondant then cut out buttons using a tiny circle cookie cutter or the end of icing tips, add the holes using a cocktail stick, then decorate pressing the star end of icing tips against the buttons, or pressing a fork onto them, or indenting with whatever pattern you like.
  • Add your buttons to the tree.
  • Add small twigs, rolled from chocolate fondant. Gently mark the trunk to make it bark-like.
  • Add silver balls.
  • Add green sugar strands, use tweezers to pick them up and a cocktail stick to gently manoeuvre into place.
  • Make Royal icing and spread across the bottom of the cake and down the sides to make a snowy base, and add whatever sprinkles you wish. I added shop bought sugar snowballs, ice, silver balls and snowflakes.
Button Christmas Tree Cake decorated by Lisa Shambrook
Thus…a lovely Button Christmas Tree cake.
I always decorate the cake on my own and we have a small family competition to guess what they’ll find on top. The children made guesses, and came close, but this was pretty original!
In case you’re interested, these are the past years cakes…now to start pinning ideas for next year on my secret Pinterest board!
Polar bears, robins, penguins and melting snowmen cakes decorated by Lisa Shambrook
How are you decorating yours?

Melting Snowmen Christmas Cake…

So, it’s Christmas again…and the challenge of decorating the cake came around…
Private Photo (Do Not Use)
We have a tradition in our family, where Dad makes the cake with the help of the children. See above for 2001 photograph, many years ago, now it’s pretty much Caitlin who helps (she’s the baby in this one!) 
After the cake is made, it’s left to me to marzipan and decorate. Up until a few years ago the cake was always roughly marzipaned and then slathered with stiff, peaky royal icing and then I plonked a couple of Christmas cake winter ornaments on top and that was it! We were happy, but a couple of years ago I was inspired by Kirsty Allsopp and used her idea of polar bears on the cake. 
Not knowing if I could duplicate the said polar bears, I disappeared into the kitchen on my own and created… it worked! See here for the result! 
Last year I made Penguins…
Ever since I have cordoned of the kitchen during the decorating process and banned anyone from seeing anything until it’s finished.
It’s even turned into a competition to see if anyone can guess what I might do each year!
This year it was melted snowmen…inspired by trulycustomcakery cake’s Pinterest pic of melting snowmen cookies, and I decided to use her marshmallow technique to put them on top of my Christmas cake! 
Photo by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without crediting)
The cake was covered in marzipan and iced with fondant icing, then I put a layer of stiff royal icing to make snow. I added more water to the royal icing to make three icing snowman puddles on top, which I loved as it ran down the sides of the cake! 
Then came the marshmallows…that was the experimental bit…
Place a marshmallow on a piece of silicone or greaseproof paper and place it in the mircrowave. The instructions are not to walk away and watch at all times, as it swells (puffs up) take it out…somewhere between 8 and 15 seconds. Do not let it double it’s size or it’ll just be a gooey puddle. 
Taking them off the paper wasn’t easy either. The original poster recommended covered your fingers with grease to take them off. I covered a palette knife with oil and tried, I did get sticky and I did use way more than three marshmallows, have plenty spare! 
Then I made chocolate fondant arms, orange fondant noses and black fondant eyes, and obviously sugar silver balls became buttons…and there you have it a melting snowmen Christmas cake! 
Photo by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without crediting)
How do you decorate yours?