So we have made our fruitcake. And to be perfectly honest you can have it just as it is; slice it up and into generous fruity doorsteps and nosh it down with a mug of steaming Darjeeling or Earl Grey on a Sunday afternoon while you relax with an old ‘Columbo’ or ‘Murder She Wrote’… However, you are forgetting one thing; this is Sad Biscuit, and here we simply do not know when to stop….
What we are going to do today is to decorate our fruitcake. Not with marzipan and fondant because that’s boring, and I personally don’t really like the taste of fondant icing. It’s useful if you want to make pretty shapes, but I think it tastes like soggy plaster. What we’re actually going to do is make a bejeweled fruitcake, and that is going to taste absolutely blooming heavenly.
Trust me, it’s going to be the badger’s bum! That means ‘good’ – it’s a new phrase I’m trying to popularise so the young people will think I’m cool and with it…. Do you think it will catch on?
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- A sturdy pan
- A stiff heat proof spatula
- A heatproof silicone pastry brush
- A large plate or cake decorating turntable
- One Pre-made fruitcake
- Assorted nuts – whatever you have in your cupboard
For the sugar glue:
- 200 grams of sugar
- A splash of water
- 1 tablespoon of marmalade (no bits)
For the caramel glaze:
- 100 grams of sugar
- A splash of water
- 2 tablespoons of golden syrup
IMPORTANT SAFETY ADVICE – PAY ATTENTION:
With this recipe, we are going to be working with some pretty hot stuff (and I’m not just talking about the guy I see in the bathroom mirror every morning – RAWR!!!) What I am actually talking about is hot, melted sugar. It is VERY dangerous. Usually in cooking it is always a good idea to taste your creation as you cook; but if you do that with hot sugar then your tongue will hate you forever. Melted sugar is the kitchen equivalent of napalm; if you get it on your skin it will stick and it will burn deep. So keep your fingers and your dangly bits at a respectful distance.
If you do burn yourself then the best thing to do is to get the affected body part under some cold, cold water immediately (the colder the better), and keep it there even when the cold gets too much to bear. If the burn looks especially scary, seek the advice of a medical professional.
That’s the Health and Safety out of the way; let’s get on with the fun stuff.
Bring out the fruitcake you made by following my recipe Leftovers Fruitcake and unwrap the tin foil and cling film. Place the cake on a large flat plate or cake decorating turntable and set it aside; but make sure it’s close by because once the sugar syrups are ready you will need to move quickly:
Look through your cupboards and gather some nuts; a good mixture of sizes and textures would be ideal. I managed to collect together a heaping plateful of blanched almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts and pecans. Whatever you have, make sure it is gathered together in one place and close at hand…
In a sturdy pan place 200 grams of sugar, a splash of water and a heaped tablespoon of no bits marmalade. Stir over a medium heat until all the ingredients are dissolved and then turn the heat down low and let the mixture simmer for about four or five minutes until you have a thin syrup:
Using a silicone pastry brush, spread the thin orangy syrup liberally all over the fruitcake:
The syrup will start to set quite quickly, so you will need to work just as quickly. Arrange the nuts onto the syrup glue into a pretty pattern:
When you have a nice arrangement, seal the nuts into place by applying more of the orange syrup. If the sugar glue has thickened int the pan then you can place it back onto the heat for a minute until it melts and becomes workable again:
Leave the jewelled cake aside in a cool dry place for a couple of hours or overnight until the sugar glue has solidified into a frosty crust:
Now for the finishing caramel varnish. Get your pan out again and this time place into it just 100 grams of sugar and a splash of water. Stir the sugar over a medium heat until it is dissolved:
Turn the heat down low and let the sugar simmer until it is caramelised. Whatever you do DO NOT take your eyes off the sugar; do not even blink. Watch it as intently as if you were gazing wistfully at a beautiful woman you have spotted across the room at a party. Your want to go up to her and ask her out, but you dare not for fear of being burned:
Do not stir the sugar as this may make the caramel crystalise and go gritty. Instead just lift the pan away from the heat and swirl the sugar around from time to time. Do this very gently; sugar syrup is a fiery and unforgiving love. You may notice an accumulation of sugar crust on the sides of the pan. Don’t worry about it; just leave it where its is. It will melt and dissolve back into the syrup by itself as the sugar heats gradually and starts to caramelise:
Once the syrup has reached a light golden brown colour it is ready for the next stage. Add two tablespoons of golden syrup and then return to the heat until the syrup becomes a deep amber like a well brewed cup of tea:
Working quickly but CAREFULLY, brush the syrup all over the jewelled fruitcake until you end up with a oaken varnished nut brittle gleaming atop the cake. Leave the syrup to harden for a couple of hours:
And now, just because I’m a sad old tart, let’s finish it off with a bit of edible gold glitter. You can never have enough sparkle in your life: