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Perfect festive icing.

1 PLACE CAKE ON A BOARD Use a thick board 8cm larger than the cake. For a sponge spread thinly with buttercream. For fruit cake spread with a boiled, cooled apricot 'no bits' jam, then apply a marzipan layer.

2 HOW MUCH? A 20cm round cake uses 1kg sugarpaste, a 26cm cake 1.5kg.

3 KNEADING TIPS Make sugarpaste more pliable by kneading on a clean surface. Add any colour but not liquid colour as it becomes too sticky.

4 ROLL OUT using a little icing sugar to prevent from sticking to the surface. Roll to the same shape as the cake, about 8cm larger than the board.

5 PLACE A ROLLING PIN in the centre of the paste. Fold paste in two over pin. Pick up pin, position the paste so it just sits on the board and roll away from you over the cake without applying pressure. Gently roll pin forwards and backwards and side to side over the cake top to squeeze out any air trapped between the cake and paste.

6 GENTLY PRESS THE PASTE to touch the cake sides, ensuring you don't get folds. Try to mould the paste to the cake sides, but not to drag it downwards as this may cause the top edge to crack. The paste can then be flattened onto the board. Trim the excess against the outer edge of the board. The cake is now ready to be decorated.

ABOUTTHE CHEF Sally Owens is a lecturer at Coleg Llandrillo Cymru and a board member of the Welsh National Culinary Team. She is the driving force behind Cake Cymru, a competition to find the best sugarcraft practitioners

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Llandrillo lecturer Sally Owens shows off her cake icing expertise
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 23, 2010
Words:289
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