I guess it's obvious that I love baking (I really do) so the chance to bake for others is one of the things I like most about Christmas. If I had more time (or was more organised) I would do a lot more of it, there were a whole stack of recipes in Annie Rigg's 'Sweet Things' I wanted to have a go at but haven't quite gotten round to (cherry and kirsch fudge is cooling as I type though) and there should be plenty of time in the new year to play in the kitchen so for now the cakes are an end to it all.
There have been a few cakes this year and I've been reasonably pleased with all of them, working out decorative ideas and trying to make them work is another Christmas pleasure. The one with the sugar paste wreath was going to have a simple but elegant ivy leaf design but it became clear that sometimes more is better in that the more I piled on the better it looked. It's the first time I've tried colouring sugar paste so I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it turned out to be.
The cake with the stag on is for new year and will be travelling so I thought a flat design would be better, I've had some gold leaf hanging around for a while so it seemed like a good time to use it. There must be a right way to apply gold leaf to things but I have no idea what it is. I bought a quantity of it a couple of Christmases ago with the idea of covering gingerbread for presents, one failed biscuit suggested it might be an expensive error of judgement. Further experiments haven't made me like working with it any more. I find it sticks to everything you don't want it to (brushes, fingers, tweezers, the packaging it came in) but absolutely doesn't want to stick to what you want it on. It blows about on the faintest draft or breath, jumps about with static, rips, or sticks to itself, rubs off whatever you're putting it on with the lightest of pressure - and generally makes you feel like the best option would have been to stick it altogether in one lump and sell it for scrap value. Plan 'A' had been for something a bit neater, plan 'B' for a less uniform more ragged effect came into play with the first leaf. It will be interesting to see how much remains on the cake as opposed to the side of the cake tin by the time we want to eat it.