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This article was taken from our November 2019 Issue Buy this issue now

Nativity Cake Tutorial – Renshaw Christmas Cake Competition Finalist

Cake Canvas – happiness in a box is a cake design studio in Kerala. Conceived by the immensely talented Anna Mathew Vadayatt, she is forever pushing the boundaries of cake art to greater heights through themes and ideas that inspire her. The name says it all; Anna strives to reach out and spread happiness to those who view each of her creations. She is heavily influenced by Indian art and loves to embody the vast and colourful cultural heritage through her chosen path of art. She has been making beautiful designs brimming with life out of rich chocolate cakes and heavenly sweet fondant for the past seven years. Anna has mastered the art of people modelling and has brought the technique to the forefront of cake designing in India. She is recognised in modelling excellence as a finalist at the Cake Masters Magazine Awards in 2015, winner of the Modelling Excellence Award at Cakeology in 2018, a member of the Steampunk Collaboration which won the Cake Masters Collaboration Award in 2018 and among Cake Masters’ India Top 10 in 2017 and 2018. She is also one of the judges for the Indian Cake Awards 2019.

Instagram @cakecanvas

Photography by Johan Bobby Vadayatt

Equipment Required:

  • Cake tiers: 6” round x 6” high, 10” square x 6” high
  • Square boards: 8×8”, 15 8×8” with 7×7” window
  • LED warm string lights with electrical wire attachments and adapter
  • Wafer paper sheets
  • Precision knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Edible glue
  • White fondant
  • Industrial glue
  • Double sided tape
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Edible glitter: white, silver
  • White royal icing
  • #0 round nozzle
  • Piping bag
  • Rainbow Dust Paint Metallic: Metallic Dark Gold, Pearlescent White
  • Flat brushes: 6, 8
  • Palette
  • Snowflake punch cutters

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Stick the LED lights to the board using double sided tape with four strips on either side. Stick the window boards on either side to create depth around the light bulbs. Make provisions for the electrical wire extension to come out through the bottom.


There are two different design layouts on either side. One side shows the shepherds worshipping baby Jesus. The other houses the three kings presenting their gifts. Hand cut patterns on wafer paper sheets.


To assemble, stick a plain wafer sheet to cover the lights on either side. Attach a window board over this layer using glue. Take care the glue does not touch the wafer paper. Cut narrow bits around the borders of the wafer paper patterns to provide space for applying glue.


Complete the box on either side by sandwiching the wafer paper patterns between the windows in the order as shown.


Cover the resulting tier in white fondant on the top and the other two sides. Make sure the electrical wire extension is at the bottom of this tier.


The bottom tier on which this box rests has a central cavity for the wire to pass through to the base board.


Cover the round and square tiers in coloured fondant as shown and stack. Sprinkle white edible glitter on top of the middle and bottom tiers.

Textured Painting - 8.

The impasto technique is thick layers of paint applied directly to a surface and mixed on the canvas. The brush strokes are clearly visible creating a rugged texture. Work with undiluted paint to create the desired effect.


Further embellish with wafer paper snowflakes cut out using the punch cutters.

Pine Trees & Sky - 10.

Trace pine tree silhouettes of different sizes on a sheet of greaseproof paper and use as a guide to cut out trees from wafer paper sheets.


Pipe royal icing around the edges of the wafer paper trees.


Dust white and silver edible glitter on the bottom tier to create a starry night effect.


Attach the wafer paper trees using royal icing in random groups as shown. Sprinkle white edible glitter all over the base board to complete.