If you’re short of time it’s good to have a quick and easy idea up your sleeve for your Christmas cake. This quilted version is more a technique than a design and although I’ve just used almond paste (marzipan) you can do it in just the same way with a Christmas cake covered in both almond paste and ready to roll icing.
If you’re looking for something different I have loads of Christmas cake decorating ideas just take a look here – there’s lots to choose from.
You will need:
500g almond paste (marzipan)
Gold of silver dragees (ball sprinkles)
Let’s start! Set your cake (right way up) onto a cake board or card, it can be the same size as your cake if you want to put it onto a serving plate or a larger board that will act like a plate.
From baking paper cut a long thin rectangle template that measures the same size as the height of the sides of your cake and long enough to wrap all the way around plus 2″.
Form your almond paste into a long sausage and roll out so that it is slightly bigger than your template.
Lay the template on top and cut around it with a sharp knife or a pizza roller type cutter.
Brush the sides of the cake with a little apricot jam.
Carefully lift the almond paste and wrap it around the side of the cake, making sure that the bottom edge is flush with the cake board.
Cut the almond paste neatly at the join and lightly press the seal together.
Mark intervals on your paper collar template 1″ apart all the way along to the length.
Attach the paper template around the cake, securing it at the back with a cocktail stick.
Using another cocktail stick prick marks at the top and bottom of the 1″ marks so you have marks at the top and bottom edge of the almond paste collar.
Remove the paper template.
Now for the quilting! Using the edge of a palette knife, or the thin back of a long kitchen knife mark the lines – working around the cake in one direction join a bottom prick mark to a top prick mark 2 marks along to the right. Press the palette knife edge gently into the paste to mark the diagonal. Continue around the cake.
Now to repeat the diagonal marks this time working from a bottom prick mark to 2 dots along to the left on the top.
Now the almond paste should be quilted!
Lightly press with the wrong end of small paintbrush in the positions that 2 lines intersect.
Working in just a few spots at a time add a dot of water or edible glue to the intersection and press in a dragee (ball sprinkle). Repeat until all the intersections are decorated with a dragee.
Gather together the offcuts of the almond paste and roll out on the worksurface. Cut out plenty of star shapes and set to one side to dry a little.
Mix together 2 tbsps of apricot jam with 1 tbsp of brandy and brush this over the top surface of the cake to seal and glaze.
Finish the cake by adding the almond paste stars around the top edge, using the glaze on the top of the cake to hold them in place.
Quilted Christmas Cake
Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire