Takes 11/2–2 hours to decorate, plus overnight drying
Icing sugar, for dusting
1kg pack ready-to-roll white icing
1 cooked carrot cake (see recipe)
3 tbsp apricot jam, warmed
800g natural marzipan
500g pack royal icing sugar
Empty 500ml clear water bottle
1 white tealight
How to make christmas ice castle
1. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper. Dust a long, sharp knife with icing sugar and cut thin slices, about 3mm width, from the pack of icing until you’ve sliced off about half. Place on the trays and leave for 2-3 hours to dry out slightly.
2. Cut each slice of icing into thin shards, dusting the knife with icing sugar so the icing doesn’t stick, and adjusting the angle of the knife slightly with each cut to give the shards pointed ends. (The shards look most effective when they’re all irregular widths and lengths). Leave overnight on the trays to harden.
3. Put the carrot cake upside-down on a flat white or glass plate that’s about 7-10cm larger than the diameter of the cake. Brush the jam over the cake. On a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, roll out the marzipan to a 33cm round. Position over the cake and ease to fit around the sides, pressing out any creases to create an even thickness. Trim off the excess around the base.
4. Make up the royal icing following packet instructions. Spread a little on the top centre of the cake and press the bottle base securely onto it (see tip). Put a dot of icing inside the base. Remove the tealight from its case and press into the base. Spread a little icing around the outside of the bottle. Secure plenty of icing shards around the bottle, varying the lengths as you go. (Make sure the shorter lengths extend above the top of the bottle). Spread more icing over the cake’s top surface with a palette knife.
5. Use the remaining royal icing and shards to decorate the sides of the cake. Work on a 10-15cm section at a time so the icing doesn’t dry before you decorate it. To get extra height, press the pointiest shards into the icing around the top edge and then press more shards around the base.
6. To store, place in a large airtight container or if you don’t have one, carefully cover with cling film and leave in a cool place until Christmas or for up to 2 weeks.
Tip: If you prefer a more traditional cake, use the walnut and whisky Christmas. You don’t have to roll out or smooth the icing for this cake, as the ice-like shards are cut directly from the slab and left to harden before securing around the rough-iced cake. For the tealight holder, use the base of a 500ml clear water bottle, cut to a 3cm depth – make sure it has a flat base and straight sides. Although you only need half the 1kg pack of icing to decorate the cake, this size makes shards of the right depth. The excess can be kept in a cool place for a few months. The ice castle cake can be made up to 2 weeks in advance.