Learn how to transform a simple Christmas cake into a bright and colourful festive wreath in this Christmas cake tutorial by Rob Baker-Gall, in association with Renshaw Academy.
This cake is perfect to round off your celebrations this Christmas. What's wonderful about this design, in particular, is that all of the decoration is focused on the front, so as long as you cut from the back it'll continue to look great through the festive break!
Wreath Christmas cake tutorial
- Two 7in deep traditional fruit cakes (levelled and sandwiched together, with apricot jam)
- 1kg Renshaw Marzipan (to cover cake)
- 1.5kg Renshaw Extra Ready to Roll Icing
- 180g Renshaw Modelling Paste
- Rainbow Dust ProGel in Red
- Rainbow Dust ProGel in Leaf Green
- Rainbow Dust ProGel in Caramel
- Rainbow Dust Sugarcraft Essentials Edible Glue
- Rainbow Dust Edible Glitter in Gold
- Rainbow Dust Edible Glitter in Golden Yellow
- Piping gel
- 12in round cake board
- PME Veined Holly Leaf Plunger Cutter
- PME Tapered Cones 5/6 Star Tool
- PME Multi Ribbon Cutter
- Rolling pin
- Cornflour pouch
- Round pastry cutters in 9cm and 15cm (if available)
- A selection of foam pads
- Polystyrene dummy (for drying)
- Kitchen knife
- Cocktail sticks/toothpicks
Not sure where to start with sugarpaste? Read Renshaw Academy's guide to sugarpaste before you get started with the tutorial.
How to make a wreath Christmas cake
1. Once your cake has been assembled and covered with Renshaw Marzipan, brush the cake with a little cooled, boiled water and cover the cake with 1kg of Renshaw Extra Ready to Roll Icing in white. Trim off any excess, and reroll this to cover the cake board. Once these have had time to dry, place the covered cake on to the cake board, set slightly towards the rear.
2. Divide the Renshaw Modelling Paste into two equal halves and use the Rainbow Dust ProGel in Caramel to colour half, before placing in an airtight sandwich bag to rest.
3. Colour the remaining half of the Renshaw Modelling Paste with the Rainbow Dust ProGel in Red, again placing it in an airtight sandwich bag to rest.
4. Use the Rainbow Dust ProGel in Leaf Green to colour the remaining 500g of Renshaw Extra Ready to Roll Icing, wrapping it tightly to prevent it drying until you're ready to use it.
5. When you're ready to begin working on your cake, begin by splitting the caramel coloured modelling paste in 7-8 equal portions (around 12-13g each) and roll these into balls. Cut some cocktail sticks in half, dipping the cut edge into the Rainbow Dust Sugarcraft Essentials Edible Glue, before inserting each one into one of the ‘baubles’. Insert the other end of the cocktail stick into a polystyrene dummy and set aside to firm up.
6. Taking around a quarter of the red modelling paste, roll small balls, before impressing the top of each one with the 5-star end of the PME Tapered Cones Tool. Set these aside to dry.
7. Roll out your green Renshaw Extra Ready to Roll Icing to around 1cm thick and lay a piece of clingfilm over the top. Using your two pastry cutters, cut the paste into a doughnut or wreath shape.
8. You should find that the cling film ensures the cut paste ends up with a rounded softened cut edge. If you don't have larger pastry cutters in these sizes, your wreath shape can also be hand cut with the kitchen knife (without using the clingfilm), but you'll need to ensure you soften the cut edges by smoothing them with the softer part of your palms. Set your wreath aside to firm up slightly on a foam pad.
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9. Recombine the remaining green Renshaw Extra Ready to Roll Icing and roll it out again to a thickness of around 2mm. Using your holly leaf plunger cutter, cut around 40-50 holly leaves and set these aside to firm up slightly on another foam pad.
10. Returning to the baubles, combine the two pots of Rainbow Dust Edible Glitter together in a small bowl and mix to combine. Brush each ‘bauble’ with a thin layer of piping gel, before rolling in the glitter to coat them completely. Return them to the polystyrene dummy to dry.
11. Finally, make the bow. Begin by rolling out the red Renshaw Modelling Paste to around 1-2mm thick, before cutting into thick strips using the ribbon cutter or a sharp kitchen knife. Trim these into 14cm lengths and fold two over some rolled up kitchen paper or clingfilm to form a bow loop. Concertina fold the cut ends of each bow loop into an ‘M’ shape and set aside to dry.
12. With another strip of red paste fold in the long edges and brush the back with edible glue. Place the two bow loops end to end and wrap this new piece around the cut edges, trimming off any excess at the rear. You can use a modelling tool to add in some extra creases and folds to the ‘knot’ of your bow. Use any remaining red strips to create the loose flowing parts of the bow and set these aside also.
13. When you're ready to begin assembling your cake, brush the rear of the green wreath shape with a little edible glue and gently press it against the front of the cake, holding it in place until it feels secure. Brush the entire thing with more edible glue and begin adding the holly leaves. Start with one vertical leaf at the top before overlapping 3-4 leaves on each side to hide the majority of the green ‘doughnut’ form underneath.
14. Continue to add leaves, working from the top down and beginning at the inner and outer edges. Overlap these to create a fairly natural-looking finish, trying to ensure that the entire green ‘doughnut’ form is covered.
15. Next, add your berries by dabbing these with a little edible glue and pushing them into place. These can be useful for hiding any spots where the green ‘doughnut’ form is still visible. The baubles can be added by simply pushing the cocktail sticks through the wreath and into the cake. Please ensure that anyone eating the cake is aware that the baubles contain non-edible parts as these could otherwise be a choking hazard.
16. Lay the loose part of the ribbon against the base of the wreath before placing the bow on top to conceal the tops of these. If your bow has had sufficient drying time, you should find that you're able to attach it in place with a little edible glue. However, if it's still slightly soft, you can support the edges with some rolled up kitchen paper or clingfilm until it's dried completely. If you have any remaining holly leaves and berries, why not use them to add an extra decorative sprig to the top of your cake as the perfect finishing touch?
Top tip! Once completed, you may wish to use a large, clean, fluffy dusting brush to clean up any patches of excess cornflour. Alternatively, you can use a cake steamer to remove any imperfections but you'll need to make sure your cake is completely dry before doing this, otherwise your sugar pastes may soften and distort before drying.
Add a ribbon in a complementary colour around the edge of the cake board to add that final professional-looking finish to your cake!
A primary school teacher by day, Rob Baker-Gall is the cake artist, baker, writer and YouTube creator behind Mr Baker’s Cakes. Since arriving on the cake scene around six years ago, Rob has become well known for his fun-packed sculpted cakes, winning several awards at Cake International and making regular appearances in both the print media and on television.