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Image of Snowman

250 g (9 oz) butter
250 g (9 oz) caster sugar
5 eggs, beaten
150 g (6 oz) plain flour
240 g (8 oz) self-raising flour
Grated rind and juice of 1 orange


150 g (6 oz) granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
325 g (12 oz) butter, cut in pieces
100 g (4 oz) white chocolate


900 g (2 lb) ready-to-roll fondant icing
Blue, black, brown, green, yellow and red food colouring
Cornflour, to dust
225 g (8 oz) almond paste
225 g (8 oz) icing sugar


568 ml (1 pint) and 1.1 litre (2 pint) pudding basins
6 sheets kitchen paper
25 cm (10 inch) round silver cake board
3 x 15 cm (6 inch) wooden skewers
6 cocktail sticks
Holly leaf cutter


1 Grease the base and sides of the pudding basins. Beat together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually stir in the beaten eggs. Sift the flours together and fold them into the mixture. Fold in the orange rind, together with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the juice. Spoon two-thirds of the mix­ture into the large basin and the remainder into the small basin.

2 Place in a preheated oven, 160˚C (325˚F), Gas Mark 3, for 1 ¾ hours for the large basin and 1 ½ hours for the small basin, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack.

3 To make the buttercream: put the granulated sugar into a heavy­bottomed saucepan with 6 table­spoons (90 ml) water and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and boil steadily for about 5 min­utes, without stirring, until the tem­perature reaches 110˚C (225˚F) on a sugar thermometer, or until a small amount dropped into a bowl of ice-cold water forms a soft ball. Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl until they are pale and thick. Gradually whisk in the hot syrup and continue whisking until the mixture is cool and thick. Then gradually whisk in the butter until smooth. Melt the white chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water and then whisk it into the egg mixture. Chill.

4 To decorate the cake: colour 225 g (8 oz) of the fondant dark blue and roll it out to a circle about 5 mm ( ¼ inch) thick. Scrunch some kitchen paper into a dome and mould the fondant over it to form a hat. Pinch the brim to flute. Roll 50 g (2 oz) of the white fondant into snowballs. Leave to dry.

5 Slice both the cooled cakes hori­zontally into 3 equal layers. Using a palette knife, sandwich the layers of each cake together with a quarter of the white chocolate buttercream. Cut a thin slice from the top of both cakes to level the surface. Holding the cake layers in place, trim away the sides of each of the cakes to form a rounder shape.

6 On a surface lightly dusted with cornflour, roll out 250 g (8 oz) of the white fondant and use to cover the cake hoard. Use a little of the butter­cream to fix the large cake (the body of the snowman) to the board. Push 3 skewers halfway into the body and push the smaller cake down on to them.

7 Take 2 pieces of almond paste, each 75 g (3 oz), and roll them into 7 cm (3 inch) sausage shapes for the arms. Halve the remaining almond paste and roll into 2 balls for the feet. Use 2 cocktail sticks to fix each arm to the body, and 1 cocktail stick to position each foot.

8 Lightly beat the buttercream to return it to a spreading consistency. Spread the buttercream all over the cake, smoothing it with a palette knife. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours, until the buttercream becomes firm.

9 Spoon all but 1 tablespoon of the icing sugar into a sieve and dredge the snowman. Using a small knife, pat the icing sugar on to any uncovered areas.

10 Colour 75 g (3 oz) of the fondant black and use some of it to make 6 small circles. Reserve 2 for the eyes and make 4 buttons, marking the thread holes on the buttons with a cocktail stick. With the remaining black icing, shape a small pipe and roll 6 small balls for the mouth.

11 Colour 25 g (1 oz) of the fondant brown, 50 g (2 oz) green, a little yellow, and the rest red. Model the robin with the brown, yellow and a little of the red fondant. Use some of the red fondant to form the nose and to roll a few holly berries. Roll out the green fondant and cut out the holly leaves.

12 Roll out the remaining red fon­dant to make a scarf measuring 48 x 4 cm (19 x 1 ½ inches). Fringe the ends of the scarf and wrap it around the snowman's neck. Press the fea­tures on to the face. Pop the pipe in the mouth and press the buttons on to the front of the body. Fix on the robin, the hat, the holly and the berries. Dredge the reserved icing sugar over the hat.

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