How to Make a Caravan Christmas Cake
Is this not the most impressive Christmas bake you’ve EVER seen?! Combining a deliciously festive fruit cake with layers of marzipan and Renshaw Ready to Roll Icing, you can create your very own structural masterpiece that tastes delicious, too! Follow the instructions below by Baker Lucy Bruns, and make your very own modern, festive caravan camping scene.
Fruit cake 10” x 7”
Fizzy belts sweets
Puffed rice cereal
3 tbsp warm water
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp treacle
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp each of cinnamon and mixed spice
125g butter, cold and chopped into small chunks
½ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda »
260g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
To bake the Gingerbread
1. Put the water, sugar, spices, treacle and golden syrup into a saucepan and bring slowly to a simmer, stirring regularly. Do not let it boil furiously or stick to the sides of the pan.
2. Once it’s all combined, take it off the heat and add in your chopped butter, stirring continuously until it has all melted in. Allow the mixture to cool slightly. Sprinkle the bicarbonate of soda into the bottom of a large bowl and pour the warm mixture on top. Use a wooden spoon to thoroughly mix in the bicarb and then stir in the flour. You will end up with a nice ball of gingerbread dough, but if it feels too wet, add in a little bit more flour but don’t let it get too dry or crumbly.
3. Place the ball of dough on top of a piece of cling film and shape into a rough rectangular slab. Wrap in completely in cling film and chill the slab of dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
1. Use the camper template to cut the basic shape from the fruit cake.
2. Measure the depth of the cake and roll out a long strip cut to the same depth and long enough to wrap around the whole cake – you may need 2 strips.
3. Brush the side of the cake with warmed, sieved apricot jam and stick the strip/s in place and trim away any excess. Roll out the rest of the marzipan and cut out 2 shapes slightly bigger (5mm) than the template – cover the top of the cake with one piece and then flip the cake over to cover the other side. Use an icing smoother to smooth the marzipan all over the top and sides.
4. Leave the cake on a piece of greaseproof paper for 3 days, flipping it over every day to allow the marzipan to harden.
5. Take your gingerbread dough and roll it out on a floured surface to a thickness of 5mm and cut out 1 front piece then flip the template to cut the reverse side. Remove the door and window from the front piece. With the remaining dough cut out a door piece and 2 wheels.
6. Put the pieces on baking trays lined with non-stick paper and chill in the fridge for half an hour before baking. Bake at 180°C for 15-20 minutes for the larger pieces – less for the smaller pieces. If you find that the gingerbread has expanded in the oven, particularly the window and door apertures, then use the template to trim the pieces with a sharp knife whilst they are still hot from the oven. Leave all the pieces to cool on a rack completely before decorating.
7. Whilst the gingerbread is cooling its time to make the trees. Take the non-stick paper and cut out a 10” circle then cut this in half so you have 2 semi-circles. Curl each semi-circle into a cone and secure with tape on the outside of the cone. You can cut different sized circles to get different sized trees.
8. Melt 200g of green Candy Melts and stir in 100g of puffed rice cereal, making sure it is well coated. Fill each cone with the green rice mixture, ensuring that you pack in as much mixture as possible to eliminate any gaps in your tree. Stand the cones upright in cups or glasses and put in the fridge for half an hour to set.
9. Unroll each cone carefully to reveal your tree. Decorate with sweets or sprinkles.
10. To make a tiny wreath for the camper door, stand a piping nozzle on a piece of non-stick paper and arrange a dessertspoon of the rice mixture around it in a wreath shape. Decorate with as desired with sprinkles.
11. To decorate the gingerbread panels, roll out the duck egg blue icing approximately 3mm thick and lay over the front piece. Trim to fit the top third of the panel and stick it to the gingerbread by brushing the back of the icing with a little cooled, boiled water.
Roll out the white icing to do a strip across the middle of the panel and duck egg blue at the bottom. Score lines in the white icing using a ruler and Dresden tool or a blunt knife. Cover the back panel and door with the blue and the wheels with circles of black icing.
12. Affix the gingerbread panel to the cake with a thin layer of Royal icing.
13. It’s now time to stand the camper up in its upright position. Stick the back panel of gingerbread on the reverse of the cake. You can affix the cake directly to your cake board with royal icing as it is or you can elevate the cake slightly so that it looks like it is resting on the wheels. Use a block of polystyrene the size and shape of a pack of playing cards and glue this to the cake board, then cover it with melted white Candy Melts. Stand the cake upright on this mount and insert 4 bamboo skewers into the top of the cake straight down into the polystyrene to hold it in place. Trim the skewers so that they are flush with the marzipan.
14. Use more Royal icing to affix the wheels in place and attach the wreath to the door. Use 2 cocktail sticks pushed into the cake behind the door to make the door stand open slightly and fix everything in place with plenty of Royal icing.
15. Roll out a long strip of duck egg blue icing long enough to cover the rounded edge of the camper. Stick the strip to the marzipan with cooled, boiled water and trim to fit.
16. Mix together a pea sized amount of teddy bear brown icing with the same of chocolate brown until the 2 colours are marbled together. Shape into a short tree trunk and affix to the base of 1 tree with green Candy Melts. Stick this tree laid down to the top of the camper. Roll a very long thin sausage of grey icing to make the trim – this will hide the joins between the duck egg blue and the white.
17. Roll a third of the white flower paste 3mm thin, take the bark impression mat and use the rolling pin to press it into the icing to give it a wood grain appearance. Cut fence panels using the picket fence cutter and leave the panels aside to harden for 2-3 hours or overnight.
18. To make the campfire use pretzel sticks stuck together in a pile using Royal icing. Use scissors to cut out yellow/orange/red ‘flames’ from the fizzy belt sweets.
19. Cut a length of baker’s twine and drape it around the top of the camper for the string of fairy lights. Attach it in place with dots of Royal icing. Roll out tiny lightbulbs from coloured icing and attach at regular intervals to the twine with Royal icing. Add a red bow to the door wreath.
20. Cover the entire cake board with white Candy Melts for snow and attach all the elements in place – the campfire, fence panels and trees. You can further enhance your scene with icing presents under the tree and a furry friend!