I settled on one thing- attempting my first Christmas Cake.
Every year my mum makes me a Christmas Cake, and it's sort of one of those things I know I need to stand on my own two feet on.
I didn't go the whole hog, I didn't cut the ties entirely.
I decided, given I'd only attempted roll icing once before, I would attempt a sponge based Christmas Cake. I really want to bake the boys their 3rd birthday cake in January, so as well as practicing for an aspirational independent Christmas Cake this would also be a bit of a trial-run.
So, after recruiting a helper:
I used my usual sponge receipe, of an equal amount of caster sugar, self-raising flour, and butter to the weight of eggs- and for this I used six. I also included 100g cocoa and 3 tsps of vanilla essence.
At this point I would say I wish I had just stuck with the sponge as I was using new 'topsy turvy' cake pans and I should just change one thing at a time...
Anyway! After baking for 40 minutes (until the skewer is clean) and leaving to cool, I got to deciding how to decorate.
I had lots of ideas, but knew I'd struggle making them look as good on cake as they would in my head.
Renshaw's had sent me lots of inspiration by way of ready to roll icing in white, poppy red, lincoln green and jet black.
And I knew as soon as I had created a base of white that there would need to be a reliance on butter cream to hide the fantastic gap (it transpires this is because I put the sponges the wrong way up!).
At this point I decided to create a holly wreath.
I then remembered the fantastic gingerbread cutters I had from last Christmas and decided to use these to create my Christmas theme.
I love my attempt, because it's given me the confidence to carry on believing (with a little help from a lot more rolled icing!) that the boys 'Mike the Knight' cake might just be a possibility!
Helen and Jenny's Christmas Great Bloggers Bake Off.