How to Bake a Partridge Golden Pear Cake
Bake a show-stopping Christmas cake this year by taking inspiration from a classic festive tune, sure to wow your guests and take pride of place at the centre of the dinner table. This cake utilises a round cake tin and rice crispy moulding to create a giant pear. Add the partridge design using Renshaw Ready to Roll Icing with the free template!
Prepare your cake board before you start making this project. You will need a 12” round cake drum.
1. Take 200g of navy icing and knead in ½ tsp of tylo powder – this will ensure that the icing sets hard.
2. Roll the icing out in a circle approximately 3mm thick and 13” diameter.
3. Brush the cake drum with water or edible glue and lay the icing flat on top.
4. Use an icing smoother to press and stick the icing to the drum and trim away the excess icing around the edge with a sharp knife.
5. Leave until the icing has set firm before attaching your cake.
Top tip! You can do this a few days ahead!
Rice Krispie Treats:
30g unsalted butter
120g puffed rice cereal
1. Melt butter and marshmallows in a pan over a medium heat.
2. When thoroughly melted, add the puffed rice cereal and stir well to combine. Use whilst still warm.
300g white chocolate, finely chopped
150ml double cream (150g in weight)
1. Put the chocolate in a bowl and the cream in a saucepan.
2. Heat the cream on a medium heat until just starting to steam but not bubbling.
3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and leave it to sit for 5 minutes.
4. Stir well until all the chocolate has melted and you have a smooth and well combined ganache. Leave it to thicken to the consistency of peanut butter before using.
Top tip! You can speed up the thickening process by putting the ganache in the fridge and stirring it at regular intervals – but keep an eye on it or it will set solid!
Ball Cake Ingredients:
280g caster sugar
280g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla extract
400g vanilla buttercream
1. Preheat oven to 170°C/340°F/Gas 3.
2. Cream together the sugar and margarine/butter until light and fluffy – use a stand mixer or an electric whisk for this. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Sift in the flour and baking powder and add the vanilla, mix until the flour is just incorporated.
3. Grease the Wilton ball pans with butter and coat with flour, tip out the excess flour. Place the 2 rings (from the ball pan set) on a baking tray and stand the ball pans up in these. Divide the mixture equally between the tins.
Top tip! Make an indentation in the centre of each tin of cake mixture – this will minimise the wasteful dome of cake that often appears when the cake is baking.
4. Bake the 2 hemisphere cakes in the oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean with no trace of cake batter on it.
5. Turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack and leave until completely cold.
6. To make a flat base for the cake, use one of the metal rings from the Wilton pan set as a guide to cut off a circle of cake from one of the hemisphere cakes. Use the same ring to draw a circle on strong card and cut this out. Use a non-toxic glue stick to cover the card circle with silver foil (both sides) and make a hole through the centre with a sharp pencil.
7. Smear buttercream on the flat base of the cake and attach the card circle.
8. Poke a wooden cake dowel through the hole in the card and into the cake. Flip the cake and dowel so that the cake slides down the dowel and is sitting on its flat base. Put a layer of buttercream (or filling of your choice) on the flat top of the hemisphere cake.
9. Slide the other hemisphere cake down the dowel and sit it on top of the base cake so you have a ball shape with a stick poking out of the top. Cover the whole cake with a smooth crumb coat of buttercream and chill it in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
10. Make the Rice Krispie Treats just before you will use them. Use handfuls of the mixture to build up the shape of the pear around the wooden dowel.
Top tip! Rice Krispie Treats are VERY sticky, so grease your hands with vegetable fat (Trex) before using. When you are happy with your pear shape leave it to stand whilst you make the white chocolate ganache.
11. With a small palette knife, cover the whole cake with a layer of white chocolate ganache smoothing it as best as you can. Put the cake in the fridge until the ganache has set hard.
12. Remove the cake from the fridge and measure it around the fattest part and from bottom to top. Roll out 1kg white icing 5mm thick and a little bigger than your measurements. Brush the cake all over with a little cooled boiled water so that the icing will stick to it.
13. Wrap the icing around the cake and smooth it all over with your palm to affix it to the cake. Trim off the excess at the back and around the base and top. Use an icing smoother or your palms to buff and smooth the icing all over. Leave the icing to dry on the cake for 3 hours or overnight.
14. In a small dish, mix together 2tsp of gold lustre powder with vodka to make a metallic ‘paint’ – add a few drops of alcohol at a time until you achieve the correct consistency – it should be smooth and shiny and not too runny. Working quickly, use a large flat brush to paint the pear all over in one thin layer. When the alcohol has evaporated and the icing feels dry to the touch you can give it a second coat. Leave the cake to dry completely before the next step.
15. For extra depth of colour, use a large fluffy brush to dust all over the cake with dry lustre powder. Brush off any loose powder.
16. Take your prepared cake board and use a paintbrush to splatter the navy icing with the gold lustre paint.
17. For the base cake use your favourite recipe to bake an 8” diameter layer cake that is 5” high. Crumb coat and cover this in 1kg white fondant icing. Attach the cake to the cake board with royal icing. Before the pear cake can sit on top you will need to insert cake dowels to take the weight – insert 4 bamboo cake dowels in a circle near the middle of the cake and cut them all the same height so that they sit flush with the icing.
18. Cover the top of each dowel with a blob of royal icing and sit the pear cake (with the card base) on top of them. Carefully twist and push the dowel sticking out of the top of the pear down into the base cake to help secure it in place. Leave an inch protruding – this will be the stalk of the pear.
19. Print out 2 copies of the partridge motif and use this a guide to cut out your icing pieces. Start with a soft grey colour for the body of the bird – roll this out approximately 3mm thick. Cut out the body from one paper copy of the template – leave the other copy to lay your pieces on. Use a craft knife to cut around the body template. Smooth the cut edges with your fingertip and affix the partridge body to the pear with edible glue.
20.Roll out a long thin sausage of pale green for the branch that the partridge sits on and add some basic leaf shapes – pinch these at one end to give them shape and a 3D effect.
21. Cut out the wing pieces using the paper template, start with the base part (purple), then the mid-section (dark peach) and lastly, the top part (light peach).
22. Continue adding detail with the beak, eye and spots. Thinly roll out a rectangle of green icing 1” x ½“ and cover the dowel at the top of the pear to make the stalk.
23. Melt the green Deco Melts according to the packet instructions.
24. Line 2 trays with non-stick baking paper. Drop teaspoons of melted candy in a row on the tray. Use a 1” wide, flat brush to drag the candy upwards in one stroke.
25. Leave the candy to set or put the trays in the fridge – they will only take a few minutes to harden and will easily lift off the paper. Repeat the process with the purple and lime coloured Deco Melts.
To attach the Deco Melt shapes to the cake, use stiff royal icing in a piping bag and snip off the end or use any small nozzle. Build up layers of alternating colours that wrap around the cake.