Winter Wreath

wreath cakeMy Winter Wreath was created for The Telegraph who challenged me to create a bake entitled the Twelve Days of Christmas. Although I referenced a few lines and elements from the traditional carol, albeit tenuously, I focused more on the idea of what 12 could represent. I imagined 12 as 12 o’clock on a clock face, or to be more accurate midnight. For me this is the moment the magic of Christmas strikes and the countdown to Christmas begins. A midnight feast of 12 treats can be found in and amongst the bake with the central component being a chocolate orange and ginger cake in the shape of a wreath. Wreaths are synonymous at Christmas and as well as providing the shape of a clock the assortment of material they’re known for displaying resulted in me creating edible forms of each. From leaves and fruit through to twigs, mistletoe and ‘three french hens’ I made sure each component was captured and where possible combined with chocolate! The biscuit leaves came in a variety of forms and flavours from maple shaped cinnamon ones through to an ivy and birch gingerbread variety. wreath close upMy acorns were made up of brazil nuts cut in half and secured on to the much loved munchie chocolates with chocolate ganache acting as glue. Like everything else on the wreath the chocolate munchies tied in with the fact midnight munchies and munching is deemed mandatory both at Christmas and especially where this cake is concerned. Together with home baked elements I also included shop bought chocolates to emulate parts of the wreath and ones associated with Christmas. A chocolate orange was always part of my stocking as a child so I laid segments of both the milk and dark chocolate variety amongst dried cranberries and gleaming glacier cherries, to create the wreaths fruit. I also made use of the chocolate oranges to create the ganache within the bake, which covered the surface of the wreath enabling everything to stick to it. The chocolate orange flavour continued into the chocolate matchsticks, which together with and mikardo sticks took on the appearance of twigs. This nest like wreath of chocolate and biscuits inspired by nature provided the perfect setting for my snowy owl cupcakes to position themselves in and around. In fact no midnight feast wreath would be complete without a night owl or two and the shape of the cupcakes base fitted perfectly amid the cake and confectionary on show.

wreathsAn assortment of nuts, chocolate and almond pine cones and marzipan tea lights, mistletoe and stars also featured on the wreath. In the case of the stars they were made to sparkle with the help of a silver ball at their centre. Apart from being scattered amid the twigs and leaves the stars were inserted into the top of the mini tree cakes surrounding the wreath. These and the actual wreath itself actually all came about through me having a mishap in the kitchen while re-creating my Winter Snowscene cake. Basically I forgot to grease the tin resulting in some of the tips of the trees getting stuck in the nordic bunt tin, leaving me with a few trees and a base that looked more like a battered and bruised bunt cake, than a magical alpine setting. However after a several minutes and several strong outbursts later baking serendipity set in and the initial cake wreck started to take the appearance of a wreath, abstract if you will?! My nordic cake mould now has more than just one baking end result and can be used to produce mini tree cakes, the original alpine scene or as a wreath with accompanying cut down trees to re-create the bake featured here. In fact I’m starting to think that together with the carol the tin may have 12 different cake creations in it. Let the baking calamities continue and consequently celebrated!