You will need:
1 Christmas cake
1 pack marzipan
Apricot or other mild-flavoured jam
750g ready-made white fondant icing
4 x Sugarflair food colouring paste in poppy red, holly green, black and dark brown (you can buy these on eBay)
1. Cover the cake. Mum made ours weeks ago and had been ‘feeding’ it with brandy ever since, but you could buy a naked fruit cake at the supermarket to save time. Brush a fine layer of jam over the cake then roll the marzipan out until it’s about a millimetre thick and smooth it over the cake. Don’t worry about any breaks or gaps because it’s going to be covered up, just patch them up with spare marzipan. Admittedly, I had to do this quite a lot. Follow this with the fondant rolled out in a big circle, making it slightly thicker than the marzipan to avoid it breaking. Here’s a video that explains how.
2. Take the remains of fondant cut from the edges of the cake, kneed again and colour four balls approximately these sizes of red, green, brown and black.
3. Make the panda figurine. I roughly followed this video, which is in two parts, and had a panda soft toy on hand for inspiration. Essentially you create all the body parts separately then assemble them on top of the cake, using a little water and a cocktail stick to hold the pieces together.
4. For the fir trees, I used the same technique as on my yule logs.
5. To make the little candy cane I twisted two short lengths of red and white icing together, cut it into the cane shape and left it to set before placing it on the cake. For the present, I mixed a bit of red and white icing to make pink, shaped it into a cube and added a little red ribbon.