Sunday, 13 March 2011

A special occasion

It's my Dad's 60th birthday on Saturday and he had asked for a rich fruit cake for his birthday cake. Luckily the request was made well in advance so I was able to make the cake about six weeks ago and give it time to mature. I don't actually feed my fruit cakes with brandy, I just wrap them up in greaseproof paper and then foil and leave them in the cupboard for six to seven weeks. This started mostly because the first time I made my own Christmas cake I didn't want to buy a bottle of brandy just to put in the cake! The fruit is supposed to be soaked in brandy overnight before the cake is made but I used fruit juice and have done so ever since. I've found that the end result is a delicious, moist, rich cake and so I have stuck to the non-alcoholic version!

As the coming week is going to busy I decided to decorate the cake this weekend. This also gives the marzipan and icing a little time to dry out and harden slightly. Some people say you should marzipan the cake and leave it for a few days before icing it but I often do them both together. I use natural marzipan, rather than the coloured variety, so there's no risk of the icing discolouring. It also means only one session of icing sugar mess on the kitchen side!

I have decorated this cake in a relatively traditional way - marzipan, white icing and then a little decoration. I made the numbers by drawing the shapes on paper, cutting them out and then placing them on top of the rolled icing and using a knife to follow the lines. The stars are edible and, I think, add that little extra special touch. There are so many other decorative techniques I wanted to try here but I decided that keeping it simple was a better idea.

Rich fruit cake

I am going to add a silver ribbon (if I can get hold of one I like) just to finish it off and then on Saturday I'll also add silver candles. I'll add another photo of the completely finished cake next weekend. Then it's just a case of hoping Dad likes it!

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