It has become standard for my mum to bake a fruitcake at Christmas time and leave the decoration for me to do when I go home. I’m quite glad of this arrangement as I’m not sure I have the patience or the organisation to prepare a fruitcake properly – you know, with oozing boozy fruit, soaked for weeks in advance. Luckily, she is a dab hand at this and so, this year as normal, a lovely square fruitcake was waiting for me on my return home.
I was thinking on what to do for the decoration and was struggling for inspiration. I wanted it to be massively different from the previous years’ snowman cake and still be original. It seems fancy cakes are more popular than ever, and as I was searching the shops for last minute Christmas gifts was disheartened by the volume of pretty pre-decorated cakes you can buy. I wondered why I was bothering when I couldn’t think of anything unique.
It wasn’t until Christmas Eve when I really had to get the cake finished that this idea came to me. I had been on a pub crawl with some friends the weekend before Christmas and the dress code was bad Christmas jumpers. We were a group of over 20 and everyone made a splendid effort with the knitwear; we ended up being a plenty a-patterned Christmassy group singing festively down London streets.
I was musing about how popular Christmas jumpers have become this year and how easy it is to come across one without searching the back of your parent’s cupboards for a relic from the 80s when it struck me – an icing Christmas jumper draped over the cake. I rushed to the shops to buy the last few bits I needed – I wasn’t quite sure what pattern the jumper would have on it, but I knew I wanted it to be red. I managed to find icicle cutters at the last minute and after the traditional layers of marzipan and white icing, I came up with this design.
It went down well with the family on Christmas Day and through some chance cutting became a V-neck jumper on Boxing Day.
My poor mother – one day I’ll make a nice conventional snow scene or flowers or something traditional to go on her cake, but in the meantime I’m happy for this icing jumper to join the festive knitwear craze.