Just because we don't like fruit cake doesn't mean that we can't have a Christmas cake though. I decided to make a pretty little sparkly iced cake for us to have as a special treat. This is a lemon madeira cake, covered in lemon and vanilla buttercream and a soft white fondant icing, and topped with disco-tastic gold and silver snowflakes.
It looks very scary but it's really simple to make. Here's a few tips... the cake will rise and form a dome when it's cooked. Trim the top with a serrated knife so it's level then turn it upside down so you have a perfectly flat surface for icing. Make your buttercream in advance and make sure the butter is as squidgy as possible - the icing sugar combines much more easily. And use ready rolled icing. It makes the whole process much easier. I tend to unroll the sheet and roll it a few mm thinner - you don't have to do this, but I prefer a slightly thinner icing. If you decide to use glitter sprays, don't wear anything decent - this stuff spreads like wildfire. Cut your shapes out on the sheet of icing plastic & then spray them. Let them dry - this takes 15 minutes - before you attempt to put them on the cake. I also need to clarify that I bought the glitter spray in Sainsburys in Belfast - as far as I'm aware, Dr.Oetker haven't listed it for sale here (sorry to be the bearer of bad news...)
Christmas Snowflake Cake
175g Butter, very soft
175g Caster Sugar
250g Self-Raising Flour
2-3 tbsp Milk
Zest of 1 Lemon, grated
Preheat the oven to 180c/Gas Mark 4. Grease & line the base of an 8-inch cake tin with baking paper.
Cream the butter and caster sugar together until fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add a spoonful of flour with the last egg to stop the mixture curdling.
Sift in the flour & fold into the mixture, together with the lemon zest. Add enough milk so the mixture turns into a soft dropping consistence.
Pour into the cake tin, level the top and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
Lemon Vanilla Buttercream
60g Butter, very soft
220g Icing Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
Beat the butter and HALF of the icing sugar together with an electric whisk until it's fluffy. Add the rest of the icing sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and beat again until it becomes a smooth icing.
Spread the buttercream over the madeira cake, smoothing down the top and the sides. The neater you get this, the cleaner the finish when you top it with the sheet of fondant icing. Chill the cake for 15 minutes before applying the fondant.
Fondant Icing and Snowflakes
1 sheet ready rolled fondant icing
Gold & silver edible food spray
Unroll the sheet of icing, leaving it on the plastic. Roll out until it's 2-3mm thinner, then drape over the cake. smooth out the top first, then bring the fondant down the sides of the cake. Trim it with with scissors about 2cm from the edge of the base and save the trimmings for your snowflakes. Once the top is smooth, start smoothing the sides, trimming as you go. If you've 1-2mm too much icing, you can tuck it under the cake base & tidy it up with a ribbons *cheats tip*
Re-roll the fondant leftovers on the sheet of plastic until they're about 2mm thick, cut out your chosen shapes, leave on the plastic and spray with the edible food spray. The trick is to keep your distance and apply it in layers. Let the shapes dry for 15 minutes before placing onto the cake.