Snow Scene Christmas Layer Cake

A rich almond and vanilla brandy fruit cake is loaded with spice-soaked fruits and sandwiched between gorgeous home made marzipan. This is truly a beautiful Christmas treat to share with your loved ones!

Prep:
30 mins
Cook:
60-90 mins
Serves:
16-20

Ingredients

Cake
  1. 115g raisins
  2. 115g sultanas
  3. 75g glacé cherries
  4. 65g dried apricots
  5. 65g dried cranberries
  6. 2 tsp Queen Madagascan Vanilla Bean Paste
  7. 2 tsp Queen Natural Almond Extract
  8. 2 tsp Queen Natural Lemon Extract
  9. 2 tsp mixed spice
  10. 75ml brandy
  11. 215g butter
  12. 150g brown sugar
  13. 3 tbsp golden syrup
  14. 4 eggs, lightly whisked
  15. 1 cup (100g) almond meal
  16. 225g plain flour
  17. 2 1/2 sachets Dr. Oetker Baking Powder
Marizpan
  1. 285g icing sugar
  2. 175g caster sugar
  3. 450g almond meal
  4. 1 tsp Queen Madagascan Vanilla Bean Paste
  5. 1 tsp Queen Natural Almond Extract
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1/2 tsp orange juice (or lemon juice)
Decorate
  1. 600g Dr. Oetker Ready to Roll Icing White
  2. 6 tbsp apricot jam (smooth and softened)
  3. Dr. Oetker Chocolate Silver Pearls

Method - Cake

  1. Step 1

    In a mixing bowl, mix together all dried fruits and Vanilla Bean Paste, Almond Extract and Lemon Extract along with 45ml (3 tbsp) brandy and mixed spice. Mix well and set aside.

  2. Step 2

    Preheat oven to 150°C. Cut an 18cm circle of brown paper and place in the bottom of a deep 18cm round tin. Lay 2 circles of baking paper on top. Grease the sides and line with two layers of baking paper. Wrap outside of tin with double band of brown paper and secure with bakers twine. Set aside.

  3. Step 3

    In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with the sugar and golden syrup until blended and creamy in texture. Gradually whisk in eggs and stir in almond meal. Sift flour and Baking Powder on top. Carefully mix together until thoroughly combined.

  4. Step 4

    Add fruit and all liquid from bowl and mix together well, then spoon into the cake tin, smoothing the top. Make an indent in the centre to help achieve a flat rise. Bake for about 1.5-2 hours until rich brown and firm to the touch – a skewer inserted into the center will come out clean when cake is cooked.

  5. Step 5

    Put the cake tin on wire rack and remove brown paper collar. Skewer cake about 12 times all over the top and carefully spoon over 30ml (2 tbsp) brandy. Leave cake to cool completely before removing from the tin.

  6. Step 6

    Discard all the wrappings from the sides and base of the cake, and wrap well in fresh baking paper followed by a layer of foil. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks before decorating.

Method - Marzipan

  1. Step 1

    Prepare marzipan up to 2 days in advance. Mix the sugars and almond meal in a large bowl, then add Vanilla Bean Paste and Almond Extract. Make a well in the middle, then add eggs and juice. Cut wet ingredients into the dry with a butter knife. Dust bench with icing sugar, then knead marzipan briefly to a smooth dough. Don't overdo it as the paste can get greasy. Add a bit more icing sugar if it seems too wet. Shape into a ball, then wrap and keep in a cool place until ready to assemble.

Method - Assembly

  1. Step 1

    A couple of days before serving, knead 75g Ready to Roll Icing to soften. Keep remaining icing tightly wrapped in order to prevent it from drying out. Lightly dust bench with icing sugar and roll out Icing. Using assorted sized star and snowflake cutters, stamp out 30 different shapes and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Cover loosely with baking paper allow to dry for 24 hours.

  2. Step 2

    When ready to serve, unwrap cake and discard all wrappings. Using a large serrated knife, carefully cut cake into 3 equal layers.

  3. Step 3

    Gently knead the Marzipan to soften then divide into 3 equal pieces. Lightly dust bench with icing sugar, roll each piece out to form an 18cm round - use the cake tin base as a guide. Brush one side of each portion of cake with apricot jam and lay a circle of marzipan on top of each. Stack cake slices, pushing down gently to secure, neaten the edges as necessary, and then transfer to a serving plate.

  4. Step 4

    Gently knead the remaining Ready to Roll Icing to soften, then roll out thickly to form a circle to fit top of the cake. Transfer to cake top and use finger tips dusted with icing sugar to smooth and neaten edges and top. Arrange stars and snowflakes on top and decorate with Chocolate Silver Pearls.

Tip –

Like all rich fruit cakes, this cake improves with keeping. If well wrapped and stored correctly, it will keep fresh for many months.