Swan Cake | Pastry recipes



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  • Sumptuous pecan and ginger sponge cake, perfectly crispy gingerbread, delicate and sparkling meringue feathers.

    There is nothing more sumptuous than this spectacular swan cake. Two and a half hours of prep time isn’t for the faint of heart, although this cake does take a fraction of the baking time than a cake made using a traditional cake. christmas cake recipe. In addition, it does not need to be prepared months in advance or to be washed down regularly in brandy. This substantial pitfall will feed 24 people. At 756 calories per slice, it’s an indulgent cake – but it’s Christmas, after all.


    • For the pie shell

    • 300 g (10 oz) unsalted butter, softened

    • 300 g (10 oz.) Sweet and light brown sugar

    • 6 large eggs, beaten

    • 150 g (5 oz) pecans, toasted and chopped

    • 300g (10oz) self-rising flour

    • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

    • 45 g (11⁄2 oz) stem ginger in syrup, chopped, plus 2 tablespoons syrup

    • For the buttercream

    • 1 lb 2 oz (500 g) unsalted butter, softened

    • 1 kg (21⁄4 lb) icing sugar

    • 8 tablespoons of rum

    • For the gingerbread cookie

    • 100g (31⁄2oz) unsalted butter, softened

    • 100g (31⁄2oz) light brown sugar

    • 75g (21⁄2oz) of gold syrup

    • 325g (11oz) plain flour

    • 1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda

    • 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger

    • 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spices

    • 1 small egg

    • For the meringue

    • 4 egg whites

    • 250g (9oz) powdered sugar

    • Edible flakes

    • For the royal icing

    • 45g (11⁄2oz) egg whites

    • 300 g (10 oz) icing sugar, plus a little more for dusting

    • You will also need

    • 3 20-cm (8-inch) cake pans, greased and lined with parchment paper

    • Pastry bag with a small nozzle


    • Heat the oven to 170C / Gas 3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until pale brown. Gradually add the eggs then incorporate the pecans, flour, baking powder and ginger with its syrup. Divide among the molds and bake for 30 minutes, until risen and puffed. Take out of the oven, let cool in the molds for two minutes, then let cool on a rack.

    • For the buttercream, using a mixer or an electric whisk, beat the butter with the icing sugar and rum. Place a tea towel on top so that the icing sugar is contained.

    • Place the cakes on a board and layer them with the buttercream, reserving the rest. Put the cake in the refrigerator to cool. Leave the rest of the buttercream at room temperature but cover.

    • While the cake is cooling, prepare the gingerbread. Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan then let cool a little. Mix with the flour, baking soda and spices. Beat egg until combined. Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes.

    • Heat the oven to 200 ° C / Gas 6 and roll out the dough to a thickness of 3mm, then cut a head and a neck 30cm long. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool.

    • For the meringue, heat the oven to 110C / Gas 1⁄4. Whip the egg whites until stiff, then add the sugar gradually while whisking, until the meringue is thick and shiny. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper, then pour spoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking sheets, using a palette knife to spread them out to create “feathers.” Make sure they aren’t too thin or crack – keep the thickness at least 1mm. Sprinkle with sprinkles and bake for two hours until dry. Let cool, then peel off the plate using a palette knife.

    • For the royal icing, combine the egg whites and icing sugar for five minutes, until smooth. Put the icing in a pastry bag and trace the outlines of the swan’s head on the gingerbread cookie. Carefully smooth out any mistakes with a clean, damp brush. Leave to rest for 10 min. Drizzle the icing sugar with 1 to 2 teaspoons of water so that it is of a fluid consistency. Pour over the neck and body, avoiding the spout and crown. Use a spoon to tease it in the corners, pop the bubbles with a cocktail stick, then sprinkle with a little glitter. Let dry for about 30 minutes until the frosting is hardened.

    • To finish the cake, take it out of the fridge and cut out a wedge-shaped piece on one side, along with a slit for the neck. Cut the rounded side of the piece to create a triangle. Place the main cake and the triangle on the serving plate at the back to create a heart shape. Cover the entire cake with the rest of the buttercream.

    • Press the neck into the slit of the cake. Starting from the back, gently push the meringue feathers onto the buttercream, overlapping them until they reach the front.

    The best tips for making this swan cake

    The gingerbread recipe will make more of it than you need. Use different shaped cookie cutters to make cookies to give as edible gifts or make a hole in them before baking so you can hang them on your tree.

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