Santa’s Sleigh Tutorial. Christmas Cake
December’s finally here! It is one of the best months of the year for me. It means rest, hope, family gatherings, meeting with friends, presents and sharing.
I’ve just got a few more days of hard work left (I’m doing a solidary cake, which is very special for me, and I’ve got my last workshop of 2019 next Saturday at Escribà Academy).
But, in spite of having some difficult days ahead, I haven’t forgotten about you and this week I’m posting a very Christmassy tutorial, which I’ve really enjoyed. Today I’m showing you how to make a Santa’s Sleigh Cake with fondant. I did it with porexpan because I’m exhibiting it at a Christmas fair, but the structure is made to hold the weight of a real cake.
Before starting, it’s really important to look for inspiration. I usually use Pinterest for this (if you’d like to have a look at my work on Pinterest, you can find me by @ledouxcollage). You’ll find a lot of useful ideas for your business.
Materials needed for making a Santa’s Sleigh Cake
For the structure:
- 1 wood base (40cm x 50cm)
- 1 small wood base for the sleigh (the size will change depending on the sleigh you make)
- 4 threaded rod with nuts and washers
- 1 piece of plastic suitable for food
For the decoration:
- Fondant Renshaw Extra: White, Teddy Bear, Red.
- 250gr Renshaw Flower & Modelling Paste
- Gel Food colouring: Ruby, Brown Claret, Sea Green
- Rainbow Dust Metallic Food Paint: Dark Gold
- 750gr Renshaw Royal Icing
- Piping gel
- Porexpan balls of 5cm diameter
- Basic modelling tools
- Some brushes
- Painter’s palette
- X-acto knife
- Spatula for royal icing
- Brocade silicone moulds
- Floral wire gauge 18
- Dark brown floral tape
Use a profile picture for making your cutting template. Expand the image until getting the size you want for your sleigh. The sleigh on the picture below is 35cm long. The wood base holding the sleigh must be smaller than the sleigh itself, since it stems from the base.
Place the cake on the base and fill them with a creamy but firm filling. Next, place the template on the cake and cut the silhouette with a knife. Then, cut a bit of cake from the centre to make the seat. Remember that the sides of the sleigh are bigger than the insides.
In order to get an aged red, paint the fondant Renshaw Extra red with ProGel Ruby. Next, add enough CMC to it and knead for a few minutes. It’s important to stretch and fold the fondant repeatedly in order to activate the CMC. Let it rest for half an hour and knead again.
Stretch two pieces of fondant until it’s 0.7mm thicker than the template and let it dry for 24 hours. Once it’s dry, put the template on it and use clear adhesive tape to attach it. As the fondant is very thick, it’s best to mark with a cutter the silhouette of the sleigh. Then, pull the template out and finish the cutting. Set aside on a flat surface.
Once you’ve made the sides of the sleigh, you can start decorating the interior. We’re going to use the excess of the ruby red fondant to line the insides. This fondant must have CMC. Stretch two pieces of fondant of 0.4mm thickness: one for the sides and the other for folding the interior. Put piping gel on the cake and cover it with fondant. Cut the excess of fondant as straight as possible.
Next, line the surrounding area of the seat of the sleigh stretching another piece of fondant of 0.4mm thickness. Use a fondant smoother to make it and the borders straight. Also line the front of the sleigh the same way. Lastly, line the interior of the front of the sleigh.
After lining the entire sleigh, it’s time to start decorating. To do so, we’ll start making the inner seat. Make a rectangle of fondant, slightly rounded, and make two straight lines to simulate the typical tapestry on these type of seats.
Stick the lower part of the seat in the hollow. Repeat the same operation for the back of the seat, remembering to round off one of the edges, as you can see on the picture. To make the armrests, stretch the fondant with a small rolling pin. As you will see, one of the edges is thinner than the other. Cut both sides straightly and stick them to both sides of the seat.
This type of designs require a lot of detail, so you will need some brocade mouls to create a nice design. Use the Teddy Bear fondant Renshaw Extra to fill the moulds.
Decorate all the insides and the front of the sleigh. I used three different moulds to add all the details. Putting brocades on the seat and around the armrests is a good option. These brocades should not be very thick.
Paint all the details with the Rainbow Dust metallic gold food colouring. Use two brushes: a bigger one and a slimmer one in order to paint the smallest details without staining the red fondant.
Make sure that the sides of the sleigh are dry and then start to decorate them. Use the white flower paste to make a nice trimming. Make the paste really thin and cut it (it must be 1cm wide). Put a bit of edible glue on the border and stick the trimming.
Decorate the sides of the sleigh with some brocades. Turn them, put some edible glue on them and stick the sides carefully. You can help yourself with a small piece of a skewer, in case you have some difficulties.
Paint the brocades on the sides the same way we did before.
To make the skates of the sleigh, you need to add some CMC to the flower paste. Cut some strips of paste (1cm thick) and give them the shape you want. Keep in mind that both skates must be of the same size. Let dry for 24 or 48 hours.
Make some presents, which are to be put in the back of the sleigh. Paint a pieces of fondant with Sea Green and Claret. Add some CMC and let dry for half an hour. Then, cut some geometrical shapes with a sharp knife. That way, you’ll make sure that the presents won’t deform. Decorate the presents with some fondant strips and some bows.
For decorating the base, stick semi-spheres of porexpan with silicone. Next, cover the base with white fondant first and then add some royal icing to simulate the snow. Add some snow details in some spots of the sleigh with the help of a medium size brush.
To make the snow sparkle, add some transparent sugar crystals.
To make the last details and decorate the base, I recommend you to make a sign that says “North Pole”. Make two fondant straps, a white one and a red one. Stick them together and intertwine them around a thick skewer. Nail it in one of the semi-spheres of porexpan placed on the base.
Make a dark brown fondant rectangle and write “North Pole” on it. Stick it on the skewer and finish covering it. Lastly, you can put a golden ball of fondant. If you want, you can also make a tree with some wires and brown flower tape. Cover the wires halfway up with the tape and join them graduatedly in order to get branches at different levels.
And that’s the end of this step-by-step tutorial on how to make a Santa’s Sleigh Cake. I hope it helped and I expect you to use these techniques to create your own Christmas cakes at home.
I also seize this opportunity to share with you all that the last post of this year 2019 will be published on Monday 23rd, so as not to coincide with Christmas Eve.
¡See you on my next post!