This cake was created from a disaster where the centre of the cake sunk. However it can be made from a cake cooked in a ring mould.
While the cake is maturing, it is a good idea to start making the decorations for the cake. I like to have all the decorations made and ready to assemble onto the cake as soon it has been covered with marzipan and icing.
As this is a Holly Wreath Cake it will require lots of holly leaves. The cake being featured is an 8″ round and I made approximately 60 holly leaves in three different sizes. I also curved 20 of them over the edge of a chopping board. These will be placed around the curved edge of the cake.
See Making Sugar Holly Leaves for step by step instructions.
I also made a large Christmas Rose to use on the cake to add relief to the holly leaves. See Making Sugar Christmas Roses for step by step instructions.
Once the leaves and flower have been made the cake can be prepared for decoration. The first thing that has to be done is to shape the cake into the ring.
Unwrap the cake and place on a chopping board.
I used the largest plain scone cutter to cut out the middle. Firstly I placed the cutter on the cake and measured to make sure it was central.
I then pressed the cutter down firmly and twisted it gently.
Remove the cutter and using a sharp knife, cut the remainder of the cake out of the centre.
Trim the outside and inside top edges to make them rounded.
Clear up the discarded pieces of cake and tidy up the edges. (The discarded pieces are perfectly edible and can be served with custard as I had intended until I turned round and found my husband tucking into them with a spoon!!!!).
Place the cake on a cake board and cover with a thin layer of warmed apricot jam (a pastry brush is a good tool to use).
Weigh 750 grams marzipan. Use a small amount of this to roll out a piece, the width of which should be slightly more than the depth of the cake and should be long enough to go round the inside of the cake with a bit extra.
Roll this piece of marzipan losely and place in the centre of the cake.
Press gently into place and cut off the excess.
Roll out the remainder of the marzipan on a work surface dusted in icing sugar. Take the cleaned scone cutter, that was used to remove the centre of the cake, and cut the centre out of the marzipan.
Lift the mazipan into position on the cake and gently press into place.
Smooth the marzipan round the edges with a smoothing tool or the flat of the hands and trim the bottom edge.
Leave to dry in a cardboard cake box or other container but do not seal.
When dry weigh 750 grams sugarpaste and knead until soft and smooth. I coloured the sugarpaste light green using a paste food colouring which colours the sugarpaste without adding moisture. It does take a little while to get an even colour, but it really does not matter if it is a little streaked as this will look natural.
Moisten the marzipan with a little brandy or cold boiled water and then using the same method as for the icing, cover the cake in the green sugarpaste. The joins can be smoothed out by rubbing over them with your finger.
Do not worry if the surface looks uneven, this will be hidden by the holly leaves. Leave to dry for at least 24 hours.
Mix a small amount of royal icing and colour it green. Lay out your assortment of holly leaves and starting at the back of the cake spread a little royal icing on the backs of the leaves and place them on the cake, using the curved ones to fit over the edges leaving a small ring at the back centre bare.
When you have placed approximately 8 leaves around the bare patch, put a little royal icing into this patch and lay some thin red ribbon accorss it so that it spreads out over the already layed holly leaves. Place some more icing over the top and gently press in the previously made large Christmas Rose.
Continue to lay the curved leaves around the inside and outside edges of the cake until they are covered.
Then fill in the spaces with the flatter leaves. This is a little like a jigsaw and requires trying different sizes and shapes to fit. Continue until the top is covered and you are happy with the finish. Finally add holly berries in little clusters of 2 or 3 to add relief and colour.
Put a band of red ribbon or cake edging around the side and the cake is finished.
Place in a display cake box and don’t tell anyone it started out as a solid round cake that went wrong.