The Impressive-Looking Christmas Cake Anyone Can Make
• 8-in. 3-layer cake, frosted with buttercream
• Marshmallow fondant
• Red and green modeling chocolate
• Vegetable shortening
• Light corn syrup
• Fondant smoother
• Wax paper
• Striped template
• Pasta roller and fettuccine attachment*
• Razor blades
• 1½-in. holly leaf cookie cutter
2 Tbsp vegetable shortening, plus more for coating
1 1-lb pkg mini marshmallows
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
¼ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
2 lb confectioners' sugar, sifted
1. Using 1 Tbsp shortening, grease a rubber spatula and a large microwave-safe bowl.
2. Place the marshmallows and 2 Tbsp water in the prepared bowl and microwave on high, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture is completely melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Add the corn syrup, salt and vanilla and mix to combine. Add half of the confectioners' sugar (about 4 cups) and stir to combine.
4. Pile the remaining confectioners' sugar in the center of the work surface and place the marshmallow mixture on top of it. Fold the confectioners' sugar into and on top of the marshmallow mixture; continue folding to incorporate the sugar, then knead to form a pliable, smooth ball (you may have up to ¼ cup confectioners' sugar that won't incorporate).
5. Knead in the remaining 1 Tbsp shortening. Form the mixture into a ball and lightly coat in shortening. Cover with 2 layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate in a resealable plastic bag overnight or for up to 1 week.
1½ oz light corn syrup for the green chocolate
1½ oz light corn syrup for the red chocolate
10 oz green candy melts
10 oz red candy melts
Cornstarch, to dust
1. Line 2 small baking sheets with plastic wrap. In a small microwave-safe bowl, warm 1½ oz corn syrup for 10 seconds.
2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the green candy melts according to package directions.
3. Using a rubber spatula, gently and slowly fold the warmed corn syrup into the green candy melts using no more than 20 strokes (overmixing can cause the candy melts to separate).
4. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and gently press until ½ in. thick. Gently press once with paper towel and leave uncovered for 30 minutes. Repeat this process with the remaining corn syrup and red candy melts.
5. Trim away any white wax on the surfaces of the modeling chocolate and gently knead each until they form smooth balls. Shape each into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and store in a tightly sealed container or plastic bag for at least 4 hours or freeze for up to 1 month.
*Instead of using a pasta roller, you can roll out the modeling chocolate by hand and cut stripes using a quilter's ruler for accuracy.
Place the cake on a cake board. Run a warm metal spatula over the frosting to create a smooth finish. Refrigerate until ready to use. Make Marshmallow Fondant and Modeling Chocolate (recipes on slide 1).
Lightly dust your work surface with cornstarch. Roll out fondant to 1/8 in. thick (the piece should be at least 22 in. round; if the fondant sticks, dust with additional cornstarch as necessary). Gently lay the fondant over the cake. Dust your hands with cornstarch, then gently shape the fondant over and along the sides of the cake, pushing out any air bubbles. Using a sharp knife, cut the excess fondant away from the base of the cake. Using a fondant smoother, smooth the top of the cake. Place a piece of wax paper on your work surface and lightly dust with cornstarch. Flip the cake upside-down onto the cornstarch.
Using the fondant smoother, rub the fondant against the cake down toward the work surface to create a very smooth and even surface and give the top of the cake a sharp edge. Gently turn the cake right-side up and refrigerate.
Dust the work surface with cornstarch. Slice off a piece of red modeling chocolate and knead until soft and pliable (it will be crumbly, but will come together as you knead). Roll out the red modeling chocolate to 1/16 in. thick or use a pasta machine at thickness 3 to create a thin sheet. Using a pasta machine fettuccine attachment,* cut the red chocolate into ¼-in.-wide stripes. Repeat to make more stripes.
Trim the template so it is the same height as your fondant-covered cake. Tape the template to the counter. Lay a piece of wax paper on top, lining up the straightest side of the paper with one long side of the template (the wax paper can be larger than the template on the other three sides); tape it to the counter. Lightly brush vegetable shortening over the wax paper. Lay the stripes on the wax paper, lining them up exactly with the template. Using a sharp blade, cut the ends of the stripes so they are the same height as the template, being careful not to cut through the wax paper.
In a bowl, combine 1 Tbsp each light corn syrup and water. Using a paintbrush, brush the stripes with the syrup mixture. Cut the tape off the wax paper. Line up the bottom of the wax paper with the bottom of the cake. Holding the sides of the wax paper, lift the paper, pressing the stripes against and around the cake, making sure that the bottom of the paper is flush with the counter and bottom of the cake. Lightly press on the stripes to make sure they are completely attached. Starting at one corner, carefully peel the wax paper away from the cake (if the stripes start to lift, brush them with the syrup mixture and press onto the cake). Repeat with the template, wax paper and red stripes until the entire cake is covered in stripes. Use a razor blade to gently adjust and straighten stripes immediately after they're placed on the cake.
Make the holly leaves and berries. Slice off a small piece of green modeling chocolate and knead until soft and pliable (it will be crumbly, but will come together as you knead it). Lightly dust the work surface with cornstarch. Roll out the green modeling chocolate to 1/16 in. thick. Using a small holly cookie cutter, cut out leaves. Using a wooden skewer, lightly score a line down the middle of each leaf. Using red modeling chocolate, roll small ¼-in. balls to form berries.
Lightly brush the back of two holly leaves with corn syrup. Place on the top edge of the cake, gently pressing to adhere (use the row of leaves to cover the seam on the cake where the stripes meet). Repeat with the remaining leaves, overlapping them slightly and working your way down the cake. Lightly brush one side of each berry with the corn syrup mixture and press onto the leaves to adhere.
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