How to Decorate a Fruitcake

Decorating a fruitcake. Sometimes cake decorating can seem quite intimidating, and it’s really easy to put it off until the absolute last minute, or even buy a pre-iced cake.

A slice of christmas cake

Hopefully this little post will give you the confidence to try your own cake. I have found that people are generally wowed that you have even decorated your own cake, so any little faults are not even seen!

Firstly, you need your fruitcake. My recipe here is really simple, and very delicious; however, I know that most families have their own fruitcake recipe, passed down through the generations, so of course, that will be fine to use too!

For decorating a fruitcake with the minimum fuss, but with a sophisticated finish, I think that topping your cake with shiny dried fruits and nuts (glazed with apricot jam), is simply beautiful, and your cake will look like a box of jewels.

I would recommend that you make your cake a minimum of two weeks in advance, one of these weeks allowing the cake to mature, and giving you the chance to “feed” it (drizzle it with brandy or whiskey), thus retaining both it’s moisture and longevity.

A close up of a christmas cake


During the week leading up to Christmas (or whatever even you’ll need the cake for!), you can marzipan it, and cover it in fondant icing, and leave that, quite happily, in a tin, until you’re ready to decorate.

I sometimes find the leadup to Christmas a bit overwhelming, so having completed some of these tasks earlier, makes the decorating part more fun, and less of a chore (hopefully!).

So, to cover the cake, you will need to buy a pack of marzipan, and a pack of fondant icing. Depending on the size cake, you may need to buy two packs of each, just to ensure a decent coverage. These coverings conceal the bumpy texture of the cake, giving you a perfect canvas to create on!

Firstly, you need to roll out your marzipan. I use bought as it’s just easier. Make sure it is at room temperature, so that it’s easier to roll. Dust your work top with icing sugar. Roll out your marzipan to about 3mm, so that it’s about twice the size of the cake. Alternatively, you can cover your cake in two halves, the top, and then the sides, as I did below. I did this more for space purposes. I don’t have a lot of workspace to roll out large swathes of marzipan!

Melt a couple of tablespoons of apricot jam in the microwave (will take only a few seconds), and brush over all your cake. This will be your “glue” for the marzipan.

Drape the marzipan carefully over your rolling pin, and then drape over your cake. Gently smooth down over your cake, pressing it into the edges (if it’s a square cake), and work out any air bubbles. If you have any excess left at the bottom of the cake, simply trim it off with a paring knife.

Royal Icing

You can now leave this until you want to cover with the fondant, or you can do the fondant now, following the same process as for the marzipan, except you don’t need to use the apricot jam.

a closeup of an iced christmas cake

Again, you can then place your iced cake in a tin, until you are ready for decorating, or go ahead and decorate straight away.

Decorating your Cake!

Pinterest is such a wealth of inspiration, and I was inspired by a post by Wilton Cakes, and decided to make a snowy forest scene using multiple nozzles and different shades of green tinted icing.

My icing is far from expert, I am definitely a novice with the icing bag, but I really enjoyed it, and the overall finish was really impressive, and has motivated me to work on my skills into the new year. I would recommend having a little practice with your nozzles on a wipe proof surface before going straight onto your cake. I didn’t and there are a few less than refined piping areas!

A close up of a plastic deer on a christmas cake

You might prefer to put a simple festive ribbon around your cake, or do a lovely design using edible silver balls. The most important thing is to just have fun with decorating your fruitcake!

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