This design works perfectly with any cake recipe that has a buttercream or cream cheese frosting. To create more of a night-time Christmas scene, you can also use dark chocolate ganache. You can design this cake as a single-, double- or triple-tiered sprawling town – depending on how many people you need to feed!
As usual, all the decorations can be vegan.
- 1 spiced carrot and walnut cake, baked and cooled (see https://foodies.co.uk/kim-joys-spiced-carrot-walnut-cake/ for recipe)
- 1 quantity cream cheese frosting (as above)
- Salted caramel (as above)
- Gold and silver edible paint (optional)
- Red sugarpaste
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- 150g salted butter
- 120g dark Muscovado sugar
- 2 tsp black treacle
- 2 tbsp beaten egg
- 2 tbsp ground ginger
- ¾ tbsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 225g plain flour
- Royal icing
- Dark green sugarpaste
If using cream cheese frosting as your filling, just cover the top and sides of the cake and smooth, then chill in the fridge or freezer. No time? You can also just leave the cake semi-naked(just crumb-coat) for a more rustic feel.
Make the Christmas houses. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Place the butter, sugar and treacle in a stand mixer (or use a handheld electric whisk) fitted with the balloon whisk attachment and mix on high speed until fluffy. Add the beaten egg and spices and mix briefly. Add the flour and combine into a ball with your hands. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out to the thickness of a coin. Either use shaped cutters or go freehand to cut out your houses, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Bake for 10–12 minutes until just beginning to colour. Leave to cool for 10 minutes on the sheet, then gently transfer to a rack to finish cooling. Use royal icing and pipe details onto the houses to give them character.
To make the Christmas trees, dust a fir tree mould with cornflour, then firmly press the green sugarpaste into all the grooves and smooth the back. Turn the mould upside down and slowly and carefully peel away the mould. Try lightly painting these with edible gold and silver paint for added variation in colour.
Roll tiny red balls of sugarpaste between your palms to make ‘berries’.
Arrange the houses and trees around the edges of the cake. Also arrange different-shaped buildings and trees on the top of the cake. Add the red ‘berries’. Transfer some leftover white buttercream to a piping bag, and use to pipe dots on the side of the cake to resemble snow falling. Use icing sugar to create the path on top of the cake. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar.
You can add little touches to this cake to make it your own! Try making tiny snowmen out of white fondant or some Christmas elves, or even Santa sneaking around.
From Baking with Kim-Joy (Quadrille, £18.99) Photography © Ellis Parrinder