This Rockin’ Robin is my favorite Christmas Cake I’ve made. I think I’ve got better as each year goes by (you should’ve seen my first 2 attempts)! Each year, my Mum bakes the fruit cakes and she gives one to me. It’s a tradition that we ice them together and I always look forward to this time.

So, I just leveled off the fruit cake at the top with a cake knife, for a flatter surface. Then I got some almond icing and filled any holes that the raisins etc had left. So the icing would have a nice flat finish.  It can be tricky with fruit cake to get a clean finish, but this can help. Then I used apricot jam to smear thinly over the top and sides, for the almond paste to stick to.

I dusted lightly the bench and rolled out the almond icing in to a large round, big enough to cover the entire top and sides. I used the rolling pin to roll the almond paste back over it and carefully laid the icing over the cake so it covered the cake like a blanket. I used my hand to gently smooth the icing down and against the sides (you have to gently mold it down to stick to the sides so you get no creases). Then I cut away the excess from around the base of the cake.

It’s important to leave this layer on the cake for at least 2-3 days (up to a week) to dry out. Marzipan/ almond icing omits some almond oil after being used and if you plop the white icing over the top, it becomes a gooey mess and the white icing slides off and goes yuck. I used the same technique for applying the white fondant icing. You can buy it or make your own:

675g icing sugar, plus extra for rolling

4 egg whites

3 tablespoons liquid glucose – available from good cooking shops.

There are methods on how to make this online.

I use sugar water (boiling water with sugar mixed to a light glue) for brushing over the almond layer, so the fondant sticks.

I’d made the birds in advance so it was quicker on the day (I love making fondant creatures while I watch TV at night).  My 6 yr old daughter made the leaves by hand and we used a knife to make a vein in them and texture to the branches.  She loved this cake which made it well worth the effort.

I got the idea for the cake from the BBCGoodFood site,  but made mine slightly differently (with an icing roll finish around the base).