Here we are…the finished article! As you can see, I decorated my Christmas cake at the weekend and, though I say it myself, I think it looks pretty good.
I’m not very good at Royal icing; in fact, I don't think I've flat iced a cake in my life. (I can do you a rough snow-scene with the obligatory plastic robin to complete the effect, though!) I don’t much like ready-to-roll fondant type icing, it always reminds me of children’s playdoh in both appearance and taste, so I went for a layer of marzipan with a topping of nuts and apricots with an apricot and brandy glaze; easy but effective.
1 18cm square rich fruit cake
a little icing sugar
3 tbsp apricot jam
1 tbsp brandy
soft dried apricots
whole pecans or walnuts
Make the glaze by heating the jam and brandy gently in a small pan until the jam melts, then rub the mixture through a sieve with the back of a spoon. Using a pastry brush, paint the top of your cake generously with the glaze; roll out the marzipan to a depth of about 0.5cm on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar and cut to size using the base of your cake tin as a guide. Lay the marzipan on top of the cake and brush with more glaze.
Arrange the fruit and nuts on the marzipan, pressing them in lightly (I’m sure you’ll be more artistic than me!) and brush again with the apricot glaze.
Tie a ribbon around the outside of the cake, stand back and feel dead chuffed with yourself!
Store in an airtight tin until needed.