I painstakingly cut out and dried hundreds of these little icing flowers from ready made fondant icing that I tinted in pastel colours, and in the end used very few, but as they have dried out very well I am going to use them to decorate cup-cakes!
For the cake itself, I made a 10" rich fruit cake in February, which gave it a chance to mature beautifully, dosing it with brandy a couple of times in the early days.
Here's a photo of the cake before it was put on the tea table. I was disappointed to find that Royal Doulton had stopped making the Beatrix Potter figurines, because I love the china figure of Hunca Munca and her cradle of babies for a Christening cake. However I was able to use these china alphabets from Border Fine Arts, which worked well with such a short name! You can see how few icing flowers I used.
Here is my recipe for a Rich Fruit Cake:-
For a 10” round cake or 9” square
4oz glace cherries, quartered
4oz mixed chopped peel
4oz blanched almonds, chopped
grated rind of two lemons
3 tablespoons brandy
11oz plain flour
1½ level teaspoons mixed spice
¾ level teaspoon ground nutmeg
3oz ground almonds
10oz soft dark brown sugar
10oz soft stork margarine
1½ tablespoons black treacle
6 large eggs
Put all the fruit, lemon rind and nuts into a large bowl, add the brandy, cover with clingfilm and leave to soak for a while, overnight is good, at room temperature.
Prepare your cake tin, I like to use silicone paper.
All the other ingredients, at room temperature, except the ground almonds, are put in a large mixing bowl and beaten together until properly amalgamated. I do have a heavy weight mixer which makes it less of an effort.
Then stir in the fruit and ground almonds. Do not beat it now.
Bake the cake in the middle of your oven at gas mark 1 or 140° C for 3 hours. This is quite a shallow cake, and three hours is usually long enough in my oven. If you want a deeper cake use a smaller tin, cooking for longer, testing after 3 hours, to check when your cake is cooked, whatever size tin you use. By the time it has been marzipanned and iced the 10” size pleases me. Cool the cake in it’s baking tin.
I like to store this cake for about 3 months. I might give it a tablespoon of brandy once a month for the first two months. Wrap it in greaseproof paper, then aluminium foil, make sure the foil is not in contact with the cake itself. Put the whole lot inside a polybox and leave it in a cool place.
A week before it is needed cover it with marzipan, which I admit I buy ready made these days, and then 3 or 4 days after the marzipan use a good ready made fondant icing. I can still remember all the horrors of royal icing we used to use!