Mistletoe and joy cake

This gorgeous Christmas centrepiece takes its inspiration from the natural woods, berries & leaves synonymous with this time of year.

Brought to you by Zoe Burmester
Get in to the Christmas spirit with this beautiful mistletoe and joy cake!

This gorgeous Christmas centrepiece by Zoe Burmester from Darcey Oliver Cake Couture takes its inspiration from the natural woods, berries & leaves synonymous with this time of year.

Mistletoe and joy

You will need:

For the cake:

  • round sponge cake: 12.5cm (5in) x 8cm (3in) deep, filled and ganached
  • round double barrelled sponge cake 18cm (7in) x 18cm (7in) deep, filled and ganached

To decorate:

  • 600g (1lb 4oz) The Sugar Paste™ ivory (200g (7oz) strengthened with 1 tsp of tylose powder)
  • 1.3kg (2lbs 9oz) The Sugar Paste™ white
  • Magic Colours Pro Gels, Castle Grey
  • Magic Colours Petal/Lustre Dusts: Pumpkin, Summer Yellow, Aubergine, Forest Green, Royal Gold, Chocolate Brown
  • Sugarflair Edible Dusts: Cream, Dove Grey, Leaf Green, Lustre Snowflake
  • 100g (3½oz) The Modelling Paste™ white
  • 100g (3½oz) Squires Kitchen Flower Paste, Pale Green
  • edible glue
  • confectioner's glaze
  • vegetable fat (such as Trex)
  • white A4 sheets of wafer paper
  • tylose powder
  • rejuvenator spirit or alcohol

Equipment:

  • cake card: 18cm (7in), 15cm (6in) and 12.5cm (5in)
  • bubble straws
  • 1 x 25cm (10in) round cake drum
  • length of coordinating ribbon for above board
  • scalpel
  • cake smoother
  • smooth rolling pin: large & small
  • self healing mat
  • florist wires: 28, 26, 24, 20 gauges
  • florist tape: brown, nile green, white
  • fine-nose pliers
  • assorted food safe brushes
  • grooved flower making board
  • generic leaf veiner (or mistletoe veiner)
  • mistletoe leaf cutter (optional)
  • round circle cutters: small & very small
  • double-sided generic petal veiner
  • cel pad
  • flower former
  • ball tool
  • steamer (or kettle)
  • Sugar Shapers: chisel tool, pointed tool
  • clay extruder: small hole fitting
  • plastic covered garden wire

Method:

  1. Take approx 400g (14oz) ivory sugarpaste, roll out and cover the 25cm (10in) cake drum. Set aside for at least 24 hours to firm up. Once firm, wrap the ribbon around the edge of the cake drum and attach using double-sided tape. Add a little grey food gel to 1.3kg (2lbs 9oz) of the white paste to achieve a pale grey colour. Cover your two cakes and leave to one side. Set aside the leftover paste for later.
  2. Take 26-gauge florist wire and cut it into short lengths. Using fine-nose pliers, bend a small hook in the top of the wire to form a candy cane. Roll pea-sized balls of white gumpaste. Take the prepared wires, dip them in edible glue or egg white and insert into the balls. Repeat until you have about 50 berries. Insert into a dummy and leave to dry.
  3. Once dry, dust about 40 of the berries in cream petal dust, then lightly dust with a little pumpkin and yellow to enrich the colour. Once dry, dip them into confectioner's glaze for a high shine and leave to dry. For the remaining 10 berries, mix a little confectioner’s glaze with snowflake lustre dust and dip them into the mix to make  berries for the mistletoe. Set aside to dry.
  4. Dust the stems of all the berries once dry with a little forest green and aubergine dusts.
  5. One by one add the yellow berries to the stems, attaching with more brown tape. You want approximately 20 per stem.
  6. Repeat until you have two full stems.
  7. Take a small amount of pale green flower paste, knead well and roll over one of the grooves on your grooved flower board.
  8. Now take your generic leaf veiner (or mistletoe veiner if you have one) and press into the paste to create veins.
  9. Using a scalpel, cut a small elongated upside-down teardrop shape to form the mistletoe leaf, making sure the ridge runs through the centre of the leaf.
  10. Moisten a 26-gauge wire with edible glue and carefully insert into the ridge about two-thirds of the way into the leaf. Turn the leaf over, ridge-side down and place on a cel pad. Take a ball or bone tool and gently soften the edges by pressing down on the edges of the leaf. Leave to dry in a leaf former.
  11. Repeat this process making two sizes of small leaf. You will need approximately 20-25 in total.
  12. Once the petals are dry, dust them. Mix a little leaf green and lemon yellow, softening with some cornflour if required. Aim to make the smaller leaves slightly lighter than the larger ones. Dust on both sides and leave to dry.
  13. Once dry, steam all the leaves to set the colour using a steamer or kettle. Leave to dry.
  14.  Assemble the mistletoe by grouping three white sparkly berries and wrapping with nile green florist tape. Repeat this process with the assorted mistletoe leaves. Now take one bunch of berries and attach to a bunch of leaves with green tape. Repeat this process until you have 4 bunches of mistletoe.
  15. Roll out some green flower paste, creating a fine ridge down the centre. Use a small circle cutter to cut out circles, ensuring the ridge goes down the centre. Make about 8 of these. Place under some plastic so they don’t dry out.
  16. Take some 28-gauge wire, moisten with edible glue and insert halfway into the ridged leaf. Repeat with all leaves.
  17. Place in a double-sided petal veiner to create veins.
  18. Now place on a cel pad and soften the edges with a ball tool, then leave to dry on a former.
  19. Repeat this process with two sizes of small leaf, then again with 6 very tiny circles that will form the centre and top of the stem. I folded two of them over to create tightly curled leaves and left the other four, softened in the usual way. You should have enough for two stems, each with 1 curled leaf, 2 tiny leaves, 4 very small leaves and 4 small leaves.
  20. Once all the petals are dry you can dust them with a mix of dove grey, leaf green petal dusts and cornflour.
  21. Steam all the leaves and allow to dry.
  22. Take the three smallest leaves and wrap  them together with some white florist tape onto a 24-gauge wire.
  23. Now work your way down the wire adding the leaves as you go on either side, making sure the larger leaf pairs are at the bottom of the stem. Repeat for the other stem and leave to one side. Brush the stems with the same grey/green dust mix as before.
  24. Take the remaining grey sugarpaste and knead in some tylose powder to strengthen it (use 1 tsp per 200g (7oz) as a guide). Roll it out to an A4 size and brush it liberally with water. Place the wafer paper on top and press in well. Leave for about 10 minutes.
  25. Take your small rolling pin and, with heavy pressure, roll over the wafer paper in various directions until it begins to crack and tear.
  26. Measure the height of your cake and divide this by three. My cake was 18cm (7in), so I cut each panel to a height of 6cm (2½in) and the maximum length I had. Repeat until you have enough panels to cover your cake (I made 9). Leave to firm up.
  27. Brush your cake with edible glue and begin to place the panels on the cake, starting horizontally from the top row.
  28. Work your way around and down the cake until it is completely covered in the panels. Trim where necessary around the back of the cake.
  29. Roll out the ivory paste that you strengthened with tylose powder. Cut three tags, starting by cutting a rectangle of 3x5cm (1¼-2in), then cutting the top angles off.
  30. Using a chisel tool, impress the letter 'J' into one of the tags. Repeat with 'O' and 'Y' on the other tags.
  31. Take a pointed tool and create a hole at the top of each tag.
  32. Mix a little royal gold lustre dust with alcohol to create a paint and, with a very fine brush, paint the inside of the letter indentations. Repeat with all three letters.
  33. Take a soft brush and mix a little brown into some cream dust. Lightly brush the edges of the tags to age them slightly.
  34. Roll out the remaining ivory gumpaste, then cut a very long strip that will wrap around the top cake. Mine was about 1cm (½in) wide. Cut two additional strips at the same width, but at 16cm (6½in) long. One will form the bow, the other cut in half to form two tails.
  35. Attach the long strip centrally around the cake using some edible glue and your ruler for accurate placing.
  36. Fold one end of your bow strip into the centre, securing with edible glue, then fold the other end into the centre to create two bow loops. Secure with edible glue and place on its end to keep the loop shape until dry.
  37. Once dry, turn the bow over and glue the two tails in place.
  38. Attach the complete bow centrally on top of the ribbon strip with edible glue. Hold in place for a few seconds until bonded. Once dry, you can stack this tier on top of the base tier, securing in place with a little royal icing.
  39. Use the clay extruder to make small circular rope from leftover ivory gumpaste.  Cut into three medium lengths.
  40. Loop the lengths through the hole in each tag and fix them to the wood panelled cake tier with edible glue. Start with the 'O', placing this centrally.
  41. Once fixed to the cake, take some royal gold paint (as mixed before) and carefully paint the strings gold. If you like you could also make a very weak gold wash and paint this over the bow on the top tier.
  42. Bring together all your prepared flowers – you should have two winterberry stems, 2 eucalyptus stems and about 4 bunches of mistletoe.
  43. Cut a length of firm plastic-coated garden wire long enough to create a 'U' shape around the front of the cake. You will be attaching the flowers from either end working down to the centre. If the wire isn’t already curved, bend it into a horseshoe shape.
  44. Start with one stem of winter berries, attaching it to the garden wire about halfway down the stem. Wrap with white florist tape.
  45. Next attach a bunch of mistletoe, wrapping tightly.
  46. Work your way down attaching and wrapping a stem of eucalyptus.
  47. Add another bunch of mistletoe and this should bring you to the base of the horseshoe. Now repeat the whole process from the other side, working back down to the centre. Paint any exposed white stem with royal gold paint and, once dry, prop up the wreath against the cake.

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