christmas cake

Glitter Animals

Difficulty Rating: Easy (But Messy)

While on the hunt for some cake topper ideas for my Mary Berry Christmas cake, I stumbled across these glitzy animal toppers on Pinterest. Simply purchase a tube of these, apply PVA glue with a paint brush and sprinkle glitter over them! 

Scroll down for my top tips...


  • Safety shout-out: While the glitter is non toxic, it's not for use by children under 3 years.
  • Beware - this is glitter we're dealing with. It goes everywhere! Make sure this DIY happens on a wipe-clean surface.
  • 3-4 will be joining these trees on top of my Christmas cake. I'll be making sure to brush any excess glitter off my icing before serving!
  • I'll be using the remaining herd as gift tag accessories and decorations on my dining room bookshelves to add some sparkle.
  • If you want to keep it more rustic, simply add glitter to specific parts of your animals e.g. antlers or hooves.
  • Toy manufacturer Safari Ltd offers many other themed animal Toobs from around the world. I went for North American wildlife as I really wanted a moose on my cake (the name of Mama & Papa B's new labrador) - as it's his first Christmas with us. Rainforest, coral reef, mythical - so many Toobs are available for different cakes and crafts! You can even get arctic animals (for an arctic roll or an icy-looking baked Alaska) - perfect for this time of year.

Keep an eye on Maison Bailey the week before Christmas to see these sparkly characters in action. For more festive cake topper ideas, check out my Christmas board on Pinterest.



Mary Berry's Christmas Cake

Difficulty Rating: Easy

When I was younger - Christmas was all about the magic. Now, it's all about family and great food & drink. Every year, we spend most of our time in Mama Bailey's kitchen - watching the hob, bopping about to a festive playlist and drinking fizz. It's my favourite part of Christmas.

I've been wanting to make Christmas cake for a few years now but time has always got away with me (sound familiar?!) and before I know it, I've missed the window. (Christmas cake is all about making it up to 3 months in advance so the cake matures into that rich taste we love so much. It's like you're literally eating Christmas.) 

I decided this was the year - and found this Mary Berry recipe on Pinterest. 


  • It combines alcohol with cake. Enough said.
  • The recipe is really simple to follow (thank you Mary!).
  • It makes a great Christmas centre-piece.
  • It's a great gift for whoever is hosting Christmas.
  • It keeps well.
  • When you bake it - it makes your house smell of Christmas. 
  • Fruit cake can be frozen for up to 1 year - so you can make it earlier and freeze if you wish.
  • You can still make Christmas cake as late as December - it just won't taste as rich.

Scroll down for timings, tips & the final result...



  • It takes 3 days to soak the fruit in brandy (or sherry) so if you plan to bake on Saturday, get the fruit soaking on Wednesday. If you're a Sunday baker - get soaking Thursday. 
  • Then it takes 4-4.5 hours to bake so start this in the daytime rather than the evening otherwise it's a case of midnight bakery! (- Not that it happened to me... whoops.) 
  • Decorating: You don't add the covering to your cake until a week before you want to serve it - so you've got lots of time after you've baked to work out how you want to decorate it. (Scroll down for the final version...)


  • Put a recurring annual reminder in your phone so you don't forget to make it in advance (no earlier than 25th September unless you bake & freeze). Also add reminders to stir your fruit when it's soaking in brandy/sherry over 3 days, as well as 'feeding' your cake with brandy/sherry at intervals over the 3 months to keep it moist (we do this via a flavour injector as well as brushing a glug over the surface). 
  • Add the ingredients to your online food delivery that week / month - it makes things so much easier. Otherwise you spend half your day trekking to the shops and having a panic because you can't locate treacle. 
  • If you don't have the correct cake tin, add this to your online shop (if you can). If not, this one is on Amazon Prime.
  • Also make sure you have greaseproof paper, foil, a flavour injector, pastry brush and an air-tight cake tin before you bake.
  • Don't wrap your cake directly in foil as it will react badly.
  • Use Pinterest for cake topper ideas. I'm loving the winter forest styles I've seen on there - I've got these so far:
  • Eat it before Christmas Day. By the 25th, everyone's full and food in general tends to merge into one. Make it an event - whether it's the first pudding you have when you've finished work for the year, or an accompaniment to a pot of tea on Christmas Eve. Eat it at a time you'll appreciate it.

Covering & decoration will be the week before Christmas (of course!). To see the finished version, make sure to follow Maison Bailey on Twitter & Instagram. I'll also update this post with the final result!

UPDATE 22.12.15:

Ta da!


  • Beware - Mary advises to wait 'a few days' between adding the marzipan layer so it has time to dry out before applying the royal icing. I didn't clock this so could only leave it for 24 hours. 
  • If you're new to icing, go for the 'rustic' look by adding peaks to the top with a palette knife. Less pressure to achieve a silky smooth finish (plus I think it looks more inviting).
  • Try these glitter animals as cake toppers (N.B. don't eat the glitter - it's not for consumption!).
  • If you don't have a cake stand with a lid, I'd definitely get one before decorating (I have this one). Not only will it protect the cake during these final stages, but it'll help with transportation if it's a gift for the Christmas host.

If fruit cake's not to your taste, why not try these snowflake gingerbread cookies - they taste really Christmassy, too.