Christmas Snow Globe Cake

christmas dinner

I can be immodest this Snow Globe cake is such a cute idea for a Christmas cake. This Snow Globe Cake is a simple enough idea: a cake layer on the bottom holding up an upside down fish bowl with a snowman and a Christmas tree inside. The cake was an easy enough mud cake flavoured with peppermint as that's a little bit of a theme here with the hot or iced peppermint chocolates. I iced it with ganache (not very well but I was having a serious moment in this heat).

Then the chocolate plastique modelling chocolate layer struck. I had faced it before during a Daring Bakers Battenberg cake challenge but I determined to find a way to make it work. After almost giving up again I realised my error-not putting enough glucose syrup into the mix. I thought back to the Daring Bakers challenge and it was either a love or hate relationship. You either got an icing that looked like dried dog poo or the proper icing. If you don't add enough syrup, then it's mostly hard poo-like chocolate once set so you really need the syrup to make it pliable. Once I got it, I loved the icing and it's truly one of the easiest to make once you get the ratio down. If the icing is just too much to contend with make extra ganache and spread it over the top of the cake. It won't have that glossy wooden look to it but I don't think anyone will notice x

Snow Globe Cake

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 1.5 hours

Cooking time: 1.5 hours

For chocolate peppermint mud cake

  • 300g/10.6ozs butter

  • 200g/7ozs chocolate (milk or dark)

  • 2.5 cups/550g/19.4ozs caster or superfine sugar

  • 1 1/3 cups/325ml/11.5flozs water

  • a few drops peppermint essence

  • 2 cups/300g/10.6ozs plain all purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 2 eggs, beaten lightly

  • You will also need two tins, one slightly smaller than the other. I used a 19cm and a 22cm cake tin.

For chocolate ganache

  • 350g/12.35ozs dark or bittersweet chocolate

  • 90ml/3flozs pure cream (not light)

For chocolate plastique modelling chocolate*

  • 400g/14ozs dark or bittersweet chocolate

  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup corn syrup or glucose syrup

  • Please note: is best made a day or a few hours ahead

To decorate

  • A clear fish bowl (don't ditch your fish for this, you can buy them at discount stores for about $15)

  • 100g/3.5ozs white fondant for snowman

  • a tiny amount of orange fondant for his nose

  • A rainbow sour for his scarf (you can also use fondant)

  • I also used extra modelling chocolate for his eyes, hat (brim was made using a chocolate melt)

  • 1 ice cream cone

  • A small quantity of buttercream (or butter if you don't have buttercream ready!)

  • Desiccated coconut

  • Green food colouring

  • A bird. A bit random but I wanted something colourful under the snow globe and it sort of fit proportion wise (sort of)

  • Sugar for snow inside globe

Step 1 - First of all make the figurines as they, particularly the snowman, will need to set. Make the snowman by rolling two large balls of white fondant and securing them together with a toothpick. Use the sour leather as a scarf and shape a little carrot nose out of orange fondant and use the chocolate modelling fondant for the hat and a chocolate disc for the brim (these can be done later once the modelling chocolate has been done). Make the tree by spreading an ice cream cone with butter. In a ziplock bag mix the desiccated coconut with green food colouring, seal and shake. Then roll the buttered cone in the coconut (please note, if it is very humid like it is in Australia at the moment, do this at the last minute as the cone may wilt).

Welcome to our Vintage Christmas!

Step 2 - Preheat the oven to 170C/340F. Line the two tins on the base and sides with parchment. In a saucepan, melt the butter, chocolate, sugar and water over low heat until melted and smooth. Cool for about 15 minutes and whisk in flour, baking powder and eggs. Add peppermint essence according to taste.

Step 3 - Divide into tins-I put two thirds of the batter in the larger tin and the remaining third in the smaller tin. Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes for the smaller tin and about a total of 1 hour 30 minutes for the larger tin. Cool in tin and wrap in cling wrap once completely cooled. When ready, trim the tops of the cakes which will have crunchy edges.

Step 4 - Make the ganache by melting the chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwave on 60 second 50% power bursts. Stir in the cream until well combined and if necessary, refrigerate until spreadable. Spread the ganache on the bottom cake filling in any crevasses and then place the second cake on top and spread ganache over this one too. Refrigerate and allow ganache to set (about 30 minutes or so). Then take a clean angled palette knife dipped briefly in warm water and smooth again using firm strokes to give the ganache a glossy finish. Refrigerate until needed.

Step 5 - To make modelling chocolate, melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwave on 60 second 50% power bursts. Stir in the glucose or corn syrup-it will become grainy and pull away from the sides of the bowl which is good. Place in a zip lock bag at room temperature for at least two hours. Knead with your hands as the heat will make it soft. I've also put it in a mixer with a dough hook and that works too although hands are better albeit messier.

Step 6 - Tear out a large sheet of baking parchment and roll the modelling chocolate into a ball. Roll out as thin as you can get it without it breaking-it's a large cake but you don't want to go too thin. Gently turn the parchment with the modelling chocolate on it upside down and ease it over the cake. With clean hands gently massage the modelling chocolate-it moves and melts easily under the hands and trim away any excess pieces. Make sure the edges are cut away and what's left is tucked in.

Welcome to our Vintage Christmas!

Step 7 - With a plain water spray set on the "mist" setting, spray inside the fish bowl on the sides and top leaving a space unsprayed as this is where the front of the snow globe will be and where everyone will see your figurines. Sprinkle with white sugar and allow to set. Place figurines on top and carefully lower the bowl onto it. Place a ribbon on top if you like. Fall asleep on the couch while guests arrive and prop yourself up from exhaustion with a glass of peppermint hot chocolate while vowing never to host Christmas again. Until next year of course...

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