I am a freelance writer living in Gloucestershire. I have been writing family style articles in the form of columns for newspapers since 2000 and spent four years presenting an interview chat show on Forest of Dean Radio.
Published December 4th 2012
Home made marzipan to put on your cake in six simple steps
Good thou, save me a piece of marchpane." Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Scene 5)
It's time to put some marvellous marzipan on the Cracking Christmas cake. Marzipan is one of the oldest sweets available, and something that our grandmothers would certainly have made themselves. It is so easy nowadays though to buy the sticky yellow stuff from the supermarket that hardly anyone thinks of it as something that can be easily thrown together. In fact, if you buy the right brand, you can even get white looking marzipan that, to all intents and purposes, looks home made.
But the real stuff isn't as smooth as the product that you buy from the supermarket. Instead it has a rougher texture, tastes of almonds and doesn't stick to your mouth too much. Personally I love it, and, when not using it for the Christmas cake, particularly love it dipped in chocolate.
But in our family, the jury is out. Some love it, and some hate it. Do you have to put it on the Christmas cake?" said the 18 Year Old. "Can't you just put the icing straight on?" "No." I said. "It's tradition. And anyway, some of us love marzipan." She does concede however that she prefers the home made stuff to the commercial versions.
Now the great thing about putting marzipan on the cake is that the resulting texture is much like play dough, and as we all know, play dough is very malleable. This means that even if you are not a complete whiz at icing cakes, you will be able to cover a cake with marzipan, as the stuff moulds together beautifully.
The Ingredients 300g/ 12 oz Ground Almonds 130g/ 6oz Caster Sugar
130g/ 6 oz Icing Sugar
2 egg yolks beaten
1 egg white (Keep the remaining egg white to one side for when putting the marzipan on the cake.)
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
Few drops of almond essence
Put all the ingredients in a bowl.
Mix together and mould it into one piece, just like play dough.
Yes...it is THAT simple.
How to marzipan the cake in six simple steps,
1. Divide the marzipan into three parts.
2. Roll out one piece into a circular shape. Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam or egg white and place the marzipan on top of the cake.
3. Roll out one of the other pieces into a rectangular shape. The height should be the same height as the cake, and the length long enough to go round half the cake.
4. Brush some egg white or (if preferred) apricot jam, onto the side of the cake and place the marzipan on there.
5. Repeat with the other piece. The cake should now be covered.
6. Use your hands to join any cracks and mould the marzipan into a nice smooth covering ready for the icing at a later date.
Leave to harden for a few hours, then place it in an airtight tin and store it until you are ready to ice the cake.
Note: This recipe does use raw eggs. If using the raw eggs is a concern, then pasteurised egg whites are a good alternative. If using just egg whites, use three egg whites for the marzipan mixture and apricot jam for the glaze. If you do not want to use eggs at all, then you can use either plain water, or, as was used in Tudor times, rose water.
Mum and I had the same argument when I made the Christmas cake. She asked if I was going to give it a topping, and I said I was planning to just leave it as it was, but if she wanted I could ice it. She asked for marzipan instead, which I hate. In the end we compromised and I made almond paste, because we all like that.