Fancy making an impressive Christmas cake this year? Want to take your cake decorating skills to the next level? You should try making this Arthur Christmas cake. With our step-by-step guide, you'll have made your very own masterpiece in no time...
Fancy making an impressive Christmas cake this year? Want to take your cake decorating skills to the next level? You should try making this Arthur Christmas cake. With our step-by-step guide, you’ll have made your very own masterpiece in no time. The kids will love this bright-coloured, vibrant cake which is full of funky green sponge and topped with Arthur and Bryony from hit animated film Arthur Christmas. Learn how to model your very own cartoon figures and how to make a delicious eggnog infused Christmas cake.
To make Arthur and Bryony you will need:
- 463g ready-to-use gum paste (pastillage)
- Clear vegetable shortening
- Wooden skewers or lollipop sticks
- Decorative sugar pearls
- Corn syrup or piping gel
- Black gel food colouring
- Bright white gel food colouring
- 125g ready-made brown fondant
- 125g ready-made green fondant
- 125g ready-made black fondant
- Wilton pink colour powder or pink powdered food colouring
- Fine-tipped artists’ brushes
- Leaf green gel food colouring
- Peach gel food colouring
- Primary yellow gel food colouring
- 56g primary blue fondant
- 56g primary yellow fondant
- 56g primary red fondant
- 230g white fondant
- Standard size decorator piping tip
- Plastic drinking straw
- Edible black glitter
- X-acto knife
- Wafer paper
- Rubber stamp with script or handwriting motif
Psst! Flick through to find out how to make the delicious eggnog Christmas cake…
Arthur Christmas is released on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD & UltraViolet on Nov 19th 2012
To create sugar sticks, roll the gum paste into long skinny toothpick-like sticks. They will dry very hard and are helpful with assembling the figures. Make about 10 in different lengths and allow them to dry completely before using.
Knead a 60g piece of gum paste with a little of the vegetable shortening. Tint it with a drop of peach gel colouring and yellow gel colouring.
Knead until a consistent colour is achieved. Tear away 1/3 of the the gum paste and reserve for the ears, neck and hands.
Place this piece in plastic wrap or in a zip-top bag with the air removed. Press remaining piece of gum paste on the end of a long skewer or lollipop stick.
Arthur has a long face and bulbous nose so press the gum paste into a slight kidney shape; pinch and pull the centre of the gum paste face to form the nose.
If gum paste begins to dry, rub a little vegetable shortening over the surface.
Press both thumbs into either side of the nose. This will contour the face and create the eye indentions.
Press two sugar pearls on either side of the nose, where the thumb indentions created the eye contours.
Use a toothpick to score around the eyes, creating eyelids.
Make an upward curving impression with the toothpick under the nose to form a smiling mouth.
Form two ears out of the reserved gum paste. You can do this by flattening a small ball of paste, and then cut it down the centre with a small plain-edge knife.
Hold the ears up to the head to judge the size and trim accordingly. Arthur has prominent ears, so don’t make them too small!
Place two sugar sticks into the ears and return them to the plastic or zip-top bag so they don’t dry out.
Using a very fine-tipped artist brush and undiluted black gel food colouring, paint two black circles onto the sugar pearls.
Carefully paint the inside of the mouth impression, giving it definition.
Allow to dry for a few minutes, and then place the head in a zip-top bag with the air removed while you make the hair.
Cut two pieces of pre-coloured ready-made brown fondant for the hair. Cut the first into a ‘B’ shape and place it on a work surface with the two rounded portions pointing upward. Make multiple vertical cuts along the two rounded portions creating fringe.
Cut the second piece into a half oval and make several vertical cuts along the widest portion creating a fringe. Gently separate and pinch the ends to create points on the end of each strand.
Pull some of the fringe on the ‘B’ shaped piece forward, then roll the second piece onto itself and adhere sideways on the first ‘B’ piece of fondant with a bit of corn syrup.
Place hair piece across the top of the head, using corn syrup or piping gel to adhere. You can also press a piece of brown fondant across the back of the head, or you may choose to paint it brown using undiluted brown gel food colouring.
Press the ears into the head piece, just under the hair. Press on two small pieces of fondant for the eyebrows, adhering with the vegetable shortening or corn syrup.
You may also choose to paint on the eyebrows with undiluted brown gel food colouring. Brush pink colour dust on Arthur’s nose using a dry artists’ brush.
Tint 85g of gum paste with a dot of blue gel food colouring. Roll paste into two thin 9-inch pieces and press two toothpicks into one end. Allow these pieces to dry overnight.
Roll a piece of the reserved flesh-tinted gum paste into a tube-shape between the palms of your hand and trim to create the neck.
Thread the neck piece onto the skewer. Adhere with corn syrup or piping gel if necessary. Tint 85g portion of the gum paste with the leaf green gel food colouring.
Roll the piece out slightly into a rectangular shape with a small fondant roller or other rolling pin. This piece will the back of Arthur’s jumper.
Make two large cuts down the long sides of the piece to form the sleeves of the jumper. Roll the sleeves and middle of the jumper a little wider to create an over-sized look.
Tint another 85g portion of gum paste with leaf green gel food colouring. Create a mound of gum paste in the centre of the jumper using some of the gum paste.
Adhere the mounds of paste to the sweater piece with corn syrup or piping gel if it doesn’t stick naturally.
Press the head and skewer or lollipop stick into the gum paste. Press the paste around the stick and flatten slightly.
Attach the legs to the jumper piece using corn syrup, and then cover them with a little more of the green gum paste. Allow these assembled pieces to dry completely
Roll out a thin 56g rectangular piece of green pre-coloured ready-made fondant and cut as before when making the back of Arthur’s jumper.
Drape fondant piece over Arthur’s chest and arms and trim fondant as needed so it’s evenly matched with the back jumper piece.
Remove fondant front jumper piece to a work surface for embellishing.
Roll out a small amount of blue, red, yellow and light blue ready-made fondant.
Cut circles in the jumper using a decorator piping tip and drinking straw.
Cut circles of fondant out and fill the corresponding holes. The most defining element of his jumper is the large ornaments in primary colours on the front.
Be sure to execute these as pictured, the rest of the ornament colours can be less discriminate. If you don’t have a decorator tip, most any marker or ink pen lid will work too.
When all the holes are filled, gently press and roll entire piece with a rolling pin to flatten and secure fondant pieces.
Create texturing across the top of the jumper with a toothpick or small folded piece of paper.
Apply the corn syrup or piping gel with an artists’ brush all around the inner edge and over the entire sweater back. Press sweater front onto the sweater back gently but firmly.
Cut a I/4-inch wide strip of red ready-made fondant and apply it just under the texturing with corn syrup – across the chest and across the top of both arms. Trim as needed.
Remove some of the reserved gum paste and roll into two small balls. Flatten them and then cut four vertical indentions into one side. Gently separate into fingers and taper ends by pinching them with your fingers.
Roll two long thin pieces of red and white fondant and carefully twist them together.
Place a toothpick into each of the newly fashioned hands at what would be the wrist area, and wrap a piece of the twisted dough around each wrist. Secure with a dot of corn syrup if it doesn’t naturally adhere.
Press toothpick under fondant sweater and press up until hand is in place.
Wrap remaining red/white twisted fondant around the bottom of the sweater and around the neck of the jumper. Adhere with corn syrup or piping gel if the fondant doesn’t naturally adhere.
Use undiluted white gel colouring and a fine tipped artists’ brush to paint white squares on the red jumper trim. Also paint light reflections on the ornaments. Use undiluted black gel to paint the on the ornament strings.
Divide in half 2 oz. of brown pre-coloured ready-made fondant. Roll them into ovals and striate with a tooth pick to create a hairy appearance. Press a finger into the top of the slipper to make a long indention in the top, flattening the oval slightly.
Roll some of the white fondant into four balls that will be the eyes for the reindeer slippers.
Press them on using corn syrup or piping gel to adhere.
Mix a little of the leftover brown fondant with the white fondant to create light brown fondant for the nose and antlers.
Roll some of the light brown fondant into two small balls and place on the front of the slippers using corn syrup to adhere. Use the remaining light brown fondant to create 3 ‘F’ shapes, and place on the back sides of the slippers, again using corn syrup or piping gel to adhere. Paint black circles in the middle of each white eyeball using undiluted black gel food colouring and an artists’ brush.
Allow all elements to stand for several hours before assembling and placing on the cake.
Knead a 56g piece of gum paste with a little of the vegetable shortening. Tint it with a drop of peach gel colouring and yellow gel colouring.
Knead until a consistent colour is achieved. Tear away 1/3 of the gum paste and reserve for the ears and hands. Place this piece in plastic wrap or in a zip-top bag with the air removed. Press remaining piece of gum paste on the end of a long skewer or lollipop stick.
Shape into a ball with a long tapered neck. Bryony has a round nose, so roll a small piece of the reserved paste into a small ball and press into the middle of the face. Use shortening or corn syrup to adhere if it doesn’t want to stick naturally.
Press your thumbs into the head next to either side of the nose, contouring the face and creating the eye sockets (as before with Arthur). Bryony’s eyes are wide-set, so place two sugar pearls far part on either side of the nose.
Fashion two slightly triangular ears out of the reserved gum paste. Make an indention with a toothpick on each ear piece following the pointed edge of the ear. Use a tooth pick or sugar stick to adhere the ears on either side of the head.
Paint two small black circles onto the sugar pearl eyes using undiluted black gel food colouring and a fine-tipped artists’ brush. Paint a small ‘u’ shaped smile just under the nose.
Paint on two eyebrows with undiluted brown gel food colouring. Using a dry artists’ brush, apply colour dust the nose, cheeks and inside the ears creating a rosy complexion.
Cover the top and back of the head using a small piece of ready-made black fondant. Adhere with corn syrup or piping gel. Use an X-acto knife to cut away a small triangular piece of the black fondant. Cover the entire piece of black fondant with corn syrup or piping gel.
Dip corn-syrup or piping gel-coated hair piece into edible black glitter. If you can’t find edible black glitter, you could also use chocolate jimmies or brown or black sanding sugar.
Knead a small piece of yellow fondant with a tiny piece of brown fondant and shape it into a small triangle to create Bryony’s blond spike.
Adhere it with corn syrup or piping gel and striate it with a toothpick, creating the look of hair.
Cut a small square of ready made pre-coloured black fondant for Bryony’s vest. It should be about 1/2 inch in thickness to accommodate being threaded onto the skewer.
Gently press some of the black fondant around the neck area to create a collar.
Loosely knead together about 142g of black ready-made fondant and 142g of green ready-made fondant to achieve a camouflage print for her pants and sleeves. Reserve ¼ of the black and green fondant for her sleeves. Use the rest to make a small rectangle about ½ inch thick.
Cut the rectangle in the centre ¾ of the way up to create the pants. Press two toothpicks into either leg of the pants and then press the pants into the vest.
Attach the arm pieces with sugar sticks and a little corn syrup or piping gel. These arms will be trimmed shorter when the hands are attached, so they don’t have to be too perfect at this point.
Use more of the pre-made black fondant to make Bryony’s boots. Press fondant onto the work surface to create the ‘sole’ of the shoe. Coat the toothpick ends that stick out of the camouflage pants with corn syrup or piping gel and then press the shoes onto the toothpick ends.
Stand Bryony upright to even her stature. This will ensure she can stand upright on her own when the figure is dry. Lay her back on the work surface with a dowel or rolling pin against her feet to make sure the shoes rest on an even surface.
Create her gloved hands by rolling two small flesh colored balls and two black. Flatten them and make four cuts in one end of the flesh coloured circle to create fingers (as before with Arthur). Place the flattened black circle on top of the hand.
Attach the hand to a sugar stick, and using more of the ready-made black fondant, create the arm portion of the black glove. Trim as necessary and insert the black glove on the sugar stick into the trimmed sleeves.
Attach small dots of blue, red, yellow and green across the front of Bryony’s vest. Let assembled figure to dry for several hours.
After several hours the figure will be dry on the front. It will still be pliable from the back.
Make a small roll of green ready made fondant wrapped in black ready-made fondant about 2.5 inches in length. This is Bryony’s wrapping paper carrier.
Use corn syrup or piping gel and a small sugar stick pressed through the middle of the holder to attach to Bryony’s back.
To make the eggnog Christmas cake you will need:
- 113g unsalted butter, melted
- 268g granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 260g all-purpose flour
- 2tsps baking powder
- 1tsp salt
- 266ml prepared eggnog
- Leaf green gel food colouring (optional)
Method for the eggnog cake:
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
- Grease and flour two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans, set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Add vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk well to combine.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with the eggnog. Begin and end with the flour mixture.
- Add the leaf green food colouring if desired, and mix until a consistent green colour is achieved.
- Pour batter into the two round baking pans. Bake for 25-30 mins or until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 mins in the pans, and then turn cakes out onto wire racks to cool completely.
To make the eggnog icing you will need:
- 250-350g icing sugar
- 226g unsalted butter, softened
- 120ml prepared eggnog
- ¼tsp grated nutmeg
- 463g ready-made white rolled fondant
Method for the eggnog icing:
- Cream butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
- Add icing sugar and beat on low speed until the sugar is incorporated. Beat on high speed for 2 mins.
- Add the eggnog and nutmeg, and beat again on low speed. When eggnog is incorporated, beat on high for 2 mins. The icing should be stiff. If it seems lax then add the remaining icing sugar.
- Level cakes with a serrated knife or cake leveler.
- Frost cake evenly and refrigerate until icing is set.
- Knead fondant well on a lightly powdered sugared surface and roll out to about ¼ inch/0.5 cm thickness. Cover cake and trim edges.
- Smooth fondant surface with spotlessly clean hands or fondant smoothers if you have them.
- Transfer cake to a same-size cake plate or a cake stand.
For how to assemble your cake, click to the next slide…
Use the remaining white fondant to create Arthur’s stacks of Dear Santa letters. Divide the fondant into 2-4 pieces and shape into tall rectangles. Use a toothpick to striate the sides of the fondant pieces to mimic stacks of papers.
Insert a toothpick into the bottom of the stack and repeat with remaining pieces. Let stand while you finish the other cake elements.
Brush undiluted black gel food colouring across the rubber stamp and apply to the edible wafer paper. Repeat until the entire sheet is covered.
Allow paper to dry for several minutes.
Carefully cut wafer paper into small letter-sized pieces. Gwen”s envelope can be made from lavender wafer paper, or you can cut it from a piece of gum paste that has been rolled flat and tinted pinkish-purple. Paint and ‘X’ on the envelope with undiluted black gel food colouring.
Place Arthur upright in his slippers. The figure should be dry and the gum paste parts completely hardened. Gently place Arthur on top of the cake. Have long skewers hand in case he wants to wobble. You can anchor him with one or two long skewers behind his back. You can further anchor him around the slippers with toothpicks.
Press the fondant paper stacks into the back edge of the cake, and litter the top of the cake with wafer paper letters. You can also place one in Arthur’s hand, adhering it with corn syrup or piping gel.
Place the finished Bryony figure on the cake with Arthur.
A wrapped present makes a cute cake stand, and that’s how we chose do display this cake! Just be sure the wrapped package has enough weight inside to keep the cake very stable.
Arthur Christmas is released on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD & UltraViolet on Nov 19th 2012