To decorate 1 large cake
1 large (23cm) iced Christmas cake
250g defrosted or fresh cranberries
250g granulated sugar
150ml cold water
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. Place the cranberries, the granulated sugar and the water in a large saucepan over a gentle heat. Simmer for 10 mins until the sugar has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl to cool, then chill until cold.
Place the caster sugar on a large plate. Drain the cranberries and roll in the sugar, coating each completely by shuffling the plate from side to side. Transfer to a lined baking tin and dry out in the preheated oven for 10 mins. Allow to cool.
Make up some thick icing by mixing together the icing sugar and ½ tsp of cold water, then transfer to a piping bag with a thin nozzle. Place the iced Christmas cake onto a serving dish and pipe a thin line of icing around the base of the cake, then fix cranberries all around the edge, piling a few cranberries up at uneven intervals to produce an irregular, natural look. Sprinkle the middle of the top of the cake with ½ tsp cold water, then pile half of the cranberries on top. Serve straightaway.
This decoration is made no more than two days before it is to be displayed as the cranberries will start to leach their pigment after this time.
Other natural cake decoration recipes from our Christmas 2015 issue:
• Christmas wreath
• Florentine topping
• Snow cake
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