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    Star Cake Tower

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    Star Cake Tower

    Children love baking, especially at Christmas, so channel all that holiday energy into this stunning centrepiece, created by cookery writer and mother-of-two Joanna Farrow. Our step-by-step guide makes it easy - and it's great fun to build. This is a fun version of the croquembouche, a traditional French wedding cake made with a pyramid of choux pastry buns. Children can make most of this recipe themselves, with a little supervision. The recipe makes 24 small cakes but you only need 23, so there's one left over as a cook's treat!

    • Vegetarian
    • Christmas
    • Preparation time: about 1 hour, plus cooling and 1 hour setting
    • Cooking time: 20 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes, plus cooling and 1 hour setting 60 minutes 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 300g unsalted butter, softened
    • 300g caster sugar
    • 300g Waitrose Superfine Self Raising Flour
    • 6 medium eggs
    • For the decoration
    • 400g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
    • 250g Supercook Ready to Roll White Icing
    • 125g Supercook Ready to Roll Red Icing (from 500g pack of Supercook Ready to Roll Coloured Icing)
    • 8 tbsp lemon juice
    • 50g desiccated coconut, plus extra for decoration

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Line 2 x 12-hole muffin tins with paper muffin cases. (Bake in batches if you have only 1 muffin tin.)
    2. Place the butter, sugar, flour and eggs in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until pale and creamy. Divide the mixture evenly between the paper cases and level the tops. Bake for 20 minutes until pale golden and just firm. Remove from the oven. When cool enough to handle, transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
    3. Meanwhile, make the star decorations. Dust the work surface with icing sugar and roll out half the white icing to a 3mm thickness. Using a large star-shaped cutter, cut out a few stars and transfer to a large tray lined with greaseproof paper. Then, using a small star cutter, cut out up to 15 small stars and transfer to the tray. Repeat, using about half the red icing.
    4. To make the candy canes, lightly knead the remaining white and red icing separately on the dusted surface to soften. Use your hands to roll each colour into long, thin strands, about 1cm thick. Twist the longer white strands around the shorter red ones, then gently roll together. Cut into 8cm lengths and bend the top of each over to make a cane shape. Place on the tray with the stars and leave to harden in a cool place for about 1 hour.
    5. For the icing, place the icing sugar in a bowl. Add the lemon juice and stir with a wooden spoon to make a thick paste. For easy stacking, make sure all the cakes are the same height or trim the tops to even them up. Using a palette knife or the back of a teaspoon, spread the icing over the cakes, then sprinkle each one with coconut. Leave to set for 1 hour.
    6. To assemble the tower, place 1 cake in the centre of a large, flat platter. Arrange 7 cakes around it in a circle. Place another 7 cakes on top, overlapping the ones underneath to support them. Place another 4 cakes on top of these, then 3, leaving 1 cake for the very top.
    7. Push a cocktail stick into the top cake and prop 1 large white star against the stick, then arrange the remaining stars and candy canes over and around the tower. Sprinkle with the extra coconut and keep in a cool place, loosely wrapped in clingfilm, for up to 2 days.

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    Cook's tips

    The cakes can be made ahead and frozen, wrapped and un-iced, for up to 1 month.

    Divide the cake mixture evenly between the paper cases
    Using a small star-shaped cutter, cut out up to 15 white stars and up to 15 red stars from the icing
    To make the candy canes, first roll the icing into long, thin strands
    Then twist the white and red icing strands together
    Thickly spread the icing over the cakes using a palette knife or the back of a teaspoon
    Once set, stack the cakes on top of each other, overlapping with the ones underneath to support the tower

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