1. BUTTER CREAM: Place butter in a bowl and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the icing sugar a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla essence.
1. SUGAR GLUE: Place water and plastic icing pieces into a small bowl, heat for 30 seconds, until softened. Sieve into another bowl and stir in the vodka. Transfer to a jar, seal and store in a cool place until needed.
1. ROYAL ICING: Whisk the egg white powder and water together and sieve; this becomes your egg white solution. Place in a mixing bowl with the icing sugar, keeping back 10-15 ml; it is easier to add more sugar than to make more solution to gain the right consistency.
2. Using an electric beater, mix at low speed. The icing sugar should be soft and shiny at this stage. Beat on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes.
3. To test that the icing sugar is ready, pull a palette knife through the mixture and lift out a small quantity; this should form a firm peak. If it is too soft, continue beating a few more minutes.
MAKING THE APPLIQUÉ DECORATIONS
Use coloured plastic icing for the appliqué decorations. Make the miniature Christmas roses with a plunger blossom cutter and the poinsettias with a mini calyx cutter and ball tool; use a small piping bag with a No 0 tube and yellow royal icing for the stamens.
Mould the pine cones and clip with scissors.
Make the candy canes from strips of red and white plastic icing twisted together and shaped. Use holly and ivy cutters for the foliage, and mould the holly berries. Use coloured plastic icing, or paint and dust as appropriate.
Keep the holly and ivy leaves under a sheet of plastic until needed so they do not dry out completely. The other pieces can be allowed to set.
1. Cover the butter cream coated cake with white rolled plastic icing and allow to dry for approximately 24 hours. Fold a greaseproof paper template into six equal divisions around the cake side. Pin the template into position and mark the scallops onto the rolled plastic icing using a sharp implement, such as a scriber or needle tool.
2. Using the trimmings from the plastic coating, model six finger-shaped cushions, thinner at each end than in the middle, and attach to the scribed lines using a little sugar glue.
3. First position the larger appliqué items, the holly and ivy leaves, and attach to the cushions with royal icing. Apply these pieces while slightly soft.
4. Attach the remaining appliqué pieces, first the pine cones and Christmas roses then the poinsettias, holly berries and candy canes, using royal icing.
5. TO FINISH: Make up a bouquet for the centre of cake with all the leftover appliqué pieces, secure with sugar glue. Optional pipe a border around the bottom of the cake, using royal icing.