Christmas Gonk Cake

I’m baking a Christmas cake to remember

Inspired by gnomes and hobgoblins in Scandinavian mythology, the gonk has become truly iconic at Christmas. You may recognise these ever-so-popular bearded fellas from seeing them on a mantelpiece or as a Christmas tree decoration, and now you can make a Christmas gonk in edible form.

All the fun’s in the decorating (and the eating), and it’s easy to recreate this festive gnome when you follow our step-by-step decorating instructions.


Step 1 – gather your kit

Baking a Christmas gonk cake

Step 2 – bake your cakes

Choose whatever cake you fancy – we went for a simple Victoria sandwich recipe – and bake one in a medium hemisphere cake pan, and one in a 15cm cake tin. For the hemisphere cake, we recommend baking at 160°C/Gas 3 for 45-60 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Once baked, leave your cakes in the tins until completely cool. Then, trim off any excess and turn out onto a rack.

Step 3 – cover it up

Christmas Cake Mixing

Mix up some buttercream (we used a ratio of 100g unsalted butter to 200g icing sugar, flavoured with ½ tsp vanilla extract). Spread a layer over the top of the 15cm cake, and place the hemisphere cake on top – dome side up. Apply a thin, smooth layer of buttercream all over the cake (a crumb coat). Place your cake in the fridge for around an hour or until the buttercream has hardened.

Step 4 – shape the hat

Edible Christmas Gonk Hat

Make up some more buttercream if needed. Crumble the 6 cupcakes into a bowl, and mix in a teaspoon of buttercream at a time, until you have a stiff, mouldable mixture. Using your hands, build the mixture into a hat shape on top of the cold cake. Spread a thin layer of buttercream over the hat to crumb coat, and place in the fridge to harden.

Step 5 – dress your Christmas gonk

Roll out a deep strip of green icing for the body, and wrap it in place around the cake; use a little cooled, boiled water to ‘glue’ the icing on, if needed. Trim the overlapped icing at the back.

Christmas gonk Decorating

To make the beard, use some white fondant icing and the Decora Decortwist Icing Extruder, following the extruder instructions. Extrude the icing into strands roughly 10cm long, cut them off with a sharp knife, and pinch them together at one end.

Stick the pinched end of the icing onto the cake with edible glue, to build up the beard. Start nearer the bottom of the cake and work your way up, making more icing strands as needed, and layering up the beard as you go.

To make the nose, roll a ball of fondant icing using your chosen shade from the Natural Tones pack, and create a nose shape using your hands – if you have them, you can use icing tools to shape nostrils. To support the nose, poke a cocktail stick halfway into the cake, place a blob of royal icing onto the back of the nose, and push it onto the cocktail stick.

Make two shoes from black icing and attach them to the cake with a blob of royal icing.

Step 6 – the finishing touches

Christmas Cake Decorating

Roll out a large piece of the red flower and modelling paste to cover the hat – you’ll need this rather than fondant icing as its strength and structure works better for this job. Gently press the Katy Sue Knitting Icing Mould onto the modelling paste for a knitted effect.

Wrap the modelling paste around the hat and down towards the nose, sticking into place with a little cooled, boiled water if needed. Trim the excess off at the back so it overlaps neatly, and use a pair of scissors to cut a rounded brim at the base of the hat. Turn up the brim slightly all around the bottom edge to give it shape.

Roll out some contrasting coloured icing (we used green) to create a patch, and press the knitting mould onto it to create texture. Attach using a little cooled, boiled water, and pipe on royal icing stitches with a writing nozzle.

Everything’s going gonk!

Christmas Gonk cake

We think our gonk cake is going to make a memorable showstopper at Christmas. However, if you prefer your baking projects on a smaller scale, why not try your hand at a batch of festive gonk cookies, or a gonk topper that’ll turn a simply iced cake into a standout bake?

Cake decorating? It’s child’s play.

Remember playing with play dough as a child? Creating a couple of mini Christmas gonk models to top a cake is as easy as that. Just shape a body, pop a beard, nose and hat on, and give him a pair of legs – just like we’ve done.  

Christmas Gonk Biscuits

For an even easier, all-in-one option, pop Renshaw’s Festive Gonk Icing Modelling Kit in your shopping basket. It’s got enough modelling paste in red, black and white to create two gonks, plus decorative candy canes, and a sachet of glitter for some festive sparkle.

Bake a batch of biscuits

Quick to bake and fun to decorate, a batch of yummy gonk-shaped cookies will go down well as home-made gifts. There couldn’t be a sweeter snack to munch on while you get busy wrapping Christmas presents. Get the cookie cutter here.

Bake Your Christmas Gonk