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Christmas Wreath Cake Recipe (+alcohol free version)

Chocolate festiveness

So this marks week 2 of my festive baking, this week I was approached by Renshaw Icing, who asked if I would like to be part of their Christmas baking extravaganza. Of course, I said, YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU! I was wrecking my head trying to come up with a fun way to use Renshaw icing, when I remembered last year I had made a Wreath Cake, but it wasnt so exciting and didn't really taste so good. I re-jigged the recipe and made it much more exotic. (example: I added alcohol) I think it turned out pretty well. The video is also on Renshaw Icing's website if you fancied a look. 

Ingredients

Buttercream

350g Butter

700g Icing Sugar

1/2 tbsp Whisky**

2-4 tbsp Milk****

Cake

250g butter

300g sugar

200g plain flour


50g cocoa powder

Extra Icing

250g Green Renshaw icing

250g Red Renshaw icing

250g White Renshaw icing

100g dark chocolate

50g Soured Cream* 

3tbsp Whisky**

1-2 tbsp milk***

2tsp Baking Powder 


*100g Soured Cream (Alcohol Free Version)

** Don't add whisky (Alcohol Free version)

*** Add 2-4 tbsp milk (Alcohol Free version)

**** Add 4-6 tbsp milk (Alcohol Free Version)

Method

Lets start by pre-heating the oven to 190ºC

Take 250g of butter and cream together with 300g of sugar, whisk in 3 eggs and one yolk one at a time. Then add 200g of plain flour and mix in with 50g of cocoa powder. Add in 100g of melted dark chocolate (around 74%) and 50ml of soured cream.

Add 3tbsp of whisky. Have a wee nip to yourself as well. 

Mix in and then add 1-2 tbsp of milk so you reach a thick cream like consistency. Add in 2 tsp of baking powder. 

Now take a 23cm bundt tin and grease thoroughly. Then scoop in your mix and even out the top, making it all flat. Cover with tinfoil (if you wish) and bake for 45mins to 1 hr until a knife comes out clean. 

Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack.

While this is cooling, prepare your decoration. For the buttercream take 350g of butter, add in 350g of icing sugar, blend this in until combined, then add a further 350g of icing sugar. Keep mixing this in until it becomes a really stiff consistency, A good buttercream should be thick enough to hold its own shape, but still be able to pipe. Now add in 1/2 to a full tbsp of your whisky. Thats right! MORE WHISKY! If the buttercream is still quite thick, then add 2-4tbsp of milk until you reach the desired viscosity. 

Now take some food dye and dye it green. Scoop into a piping bag, with a large star shaped nozzle on the end and leave to one side. If you are keeping it in the fridge, be sure to take it out again to warm up to room temperature before you pipe as it may be too solid to pipe when cold.

Now take 250g of green Renshaw icing dust your counter lightly with icing sugar, and roll out flat, around 3mm if not slightly thinner. You will be using this to make some large holly leaves. To make them, you can either use a pre-bought cutter, or do them free hand. With a knife, cut out a leaf shape, around 5-7cmmaking sure its wide across the middle. Then slice a curved edge in on either side to give the sharp holly prickles. Adjust the top and bottom to neaten up if you need to. Then with the back of the knife point, draw a line down the centre, with two lines coming away from your centre line towards the points. do this top and bottom. It may look a bit crude now, but when it all comes together, it works. Make 24.

Now, for your bow, take 250g of red Renshaw icing, dust your counter lightly with icing sugar, and roll into a sausage, then roll flat to 3mm thick into a long flat strip. Take a 30cm ruler and cut a long strip the same width as the ruler. cut the strip in half. Take one half, fold the ends over to meet in the middle, turn over with your join on the bottom and pinch where the join is, flattening where they meet slightly. Cut a small strip from the end of the remaining icing, about 1cm wide and flatten ever so slightly so its longer. Then placing into the flattened middle part of your bow, use this to wrap around to create the knot. Tuck underneath. 

Take the other half of your strip, and cut in half. Cut out triangles from one end of each of the mini-strips, this will create the ends of your ribbon. Then cut the other end to look slightly tapered. this should look like a basic arrow now. Take the ribbon ends, and place your tapered points underneath where the knot on your bow is, making sure they are coming out at angles away from each other, to look like a finished bow. Finally, with your thumbs, press lightly on either side of the knot of your bow to create creases to look like the ribbon is being cinched slightly. To create a further effect, you can push little balls of left over icing under the edge of the bow to open up the curls. 

Take a 12”/30cm cake board and cover, using 250g of white Renshaw icing. Dust your counter with icing sugar. Roll it out flat to about 2mm, then lift off and place on the board, stick it down using some water.

Take some of your buttercream and spread a circle on the icing. Place your now cooled chocolate cake onto the board and get ready to ice. Take your buttercream, and pipe small ‘gems’ to the cake, starting from the outside bottom edge and working your way to the top. When you reach 3/4 of the way up, stop. Then go to the inside of your cake, and pipe in the centre, working your way up to the top again. Pipe ‘gems’ all around the top of the cake to finish off. 

Now take your holly leaves, and place on the top of your cake in groups of 3 or 4, with them coming together at one end, and spreading out like a star away from each other. Place them everywhere but one end of your cake, this is where the bow will go. 

take your bow and place gently into the space you have left, making sure the forked ends of the ribbon sit down the side of your cake. 

Now the finishing touches, take the left over red icing, and make small balls, place these into the centre of where your green icing holly leaves meet to create the berries. If you feel extra fancy, use a cocktail stick on the bow and 1mm from the edge, create small dots, simulating a ribbon edge. 

Take a real ribbon, and wrap around the base of your cake board (attached with double sided sticky tape). This decorating tip is insisted upon by SheWhoBakes. She does a wide range of classes in making cakes, from which I learned so much. I highly recommend going to see her. 

Eat and enjoy! 

I hope you enjoy making this, feel free to get as creative as you wish with the decorating. Tweet me your creations @colinshow

Thank you very much, see you soon. 


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