Everyone likes a snowman at Christmas, whether it's in real snow or a fantasy, as in Raymond Briggs' wonderful story. I made these little cakes some years ago as table decorations for our local gardening club Christmas party - about 70 of them! Everyone loved them so I thought I'd share them with you. Great fun for the children and grandchildren!
So to start - the ingredients:
1 slab fruit cake
1 pack marzipan
1 pack white fondant icing
Coloured fondant icing – black, orange, yellow
4 tablespoons boiled jam, sieved of lumps
Icing sugar (to dust)
Small dish of water
NB fondant icing is available in mixed colour packs which is useful, or you can colour the white with food dyes. ( wonderfully messy!)
You will also need:
Ruler and card (a postcard is fine) Rolling pin
Skewer or chopstick
And now - how to make them. I've added a few photos which I hope will help you put these cute little snowmen together!
1) Cut the cake in half lengthways and then into rectangular chunks roughly 1in wide. You will get around 12 snowmen from a 6x2 inch cake.
2) Measure the circumference of your cut rectangle of cake and make a template. (see diagram) Dust your work surface with icing sugar. With the marzipan at room temperature, roll it out to approx. 1/8“. Cut out several rectangles using the template. Keep the off-cuts for the heads.
3) Spread apricot jam over the sides of the cake rectangles and wrap the marzipan around sealing the join.
4) Dust the board with icing sugar again. Roll out the white fondant icing to a rectangle a little larger than the marzipan rectangle, to allow for the extra girth and to press over a little on the top (neck). Moisten with water and wrap around the marzipan cake, with one long edge exactly lined up (base) and one slightly higher (top). Seal the edges with a little icing sugar - this makes the join miraculously disappear. Make sure it stands up and press the top over gently, to round off ready for the head. (Always keep any fondant you are not using wrapped up in cling film or foil as it dries up very fast)
5) Roll a piece of the marzipan off-cuts into a small ball for the head, moisten and cover with a thin piece of white fondant. This is the head and it will take judgment as to a suitable size – a bit of trial and error! Moisten the top of the cake, dab on a little jam and press the head on firmly but gently.
6) Beret - Take a small piece of black fondant and roll into a ball flatten to a disc of suitable size and put aside. Eyes and buttons - Roll another piece into a thin sausage, slice into tiny chunks, roll into balls and set aside to dry.
7) Nose - Take a small piece of orange fondant, roll into a thin sausage, slice into tiny chunks and roll into suitably sized carrot shapes. Set aside.
8) Scarf - Roll out the yellow (or any other colour you fancy) fondant thinly, into a rectangle roughly one and a half times the length of your template and slice into strips approx. ¼" wide. Nick the short ends to create a fringe.
9) When the fondant eyes etc are hard. Take a blunt skewer or chopstick. Holding the snowman gently in your hand, make holes for the eyes, nose and buttons. Dip a small paintbrush in water and moisten the holes.
10) Push the “coal” into place for the eyes and buttons. Push the “carrot” noses gently into place. If these are not dry your snowman will suffer from nose droop! In this case leave them to dry for longer.
11) Moisten a scarf strip with water and wrap around the neck, crossing at the front and pressing gently to secure.
12) Finally, moisten the top of the head and attach the beret at a jaunty angle. Et Voila – Le Snowman!!
Sieve over some icing sugar for added authenticity! For novelty place settings cut up squares of card, cover with baking foil and attach to the base with a little jam.
And depending on how many you are catering for in your family - you have a little parade of snowmen!!
You can then sit back and relax with your dog (or cat, or any other pet or even a person) and admire your handiwork.