12 Bakes of Christmas: Christmas Cake Part 2

Afternoon all! Hope you are all well and getting closer to finishing your Christmas shopping now we’re only two weeks away from the 25th – I cannot believe how fast this month is going! Today I’m sharing with you my recipe and method for making marzipan to cover your Christmas cake. As this was a first for me, I it’s fair to say that my covered cake is not the most beautiful of cakes, but you can definitely tell it’s homemade so it’s not all bad!

Although I’ve said this recipe makes enough marzipan to cover a 23cm cake, you will probably be left with some excess (I had about 200g remaining) which you can use to make marzipan decorations, treats or this delicious almond cake from Nigella, which is what I used mine for.

You need to cover your cake at least 3 days before icing it so it has time to dry out, which prevents oil from the marzipan bleeding into your icing. I’ve done mine this early so I didn’t have to worry about sorting that out when I get home for Christmas next week. This does however mean that I have to transport a ridiculously heavy fruit cake from London to Wolverhampton, which should be fun…

I hope this helps any first timers, let me know how you get on with your Christmas cakes, I can’t wait to finish mine off with the icing and decorations, coming in part three 🙂

Ingredients (Makes enough to cover a 23cm cake)

370g Ground Almonds

185g Caster Sugar

185g Icing Sugar

1 Large Egg, lightly beaten

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

2-3 Drops Almond Essence

1 Tbsp Brandy

Juice of ½ Small Lemon

2-3 Heaped Tbsp Marmalade (or apricot jam)


Add the ground almonds to a large mixing bowl along with both sugars.

In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla extract, almond essence, brandy and lemon juice.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the liquid, before mixing with your hands until you have brought everything together to a paste.


Knead for a few minutes until you have a smooth paste (taking care not to overwork the marzipan, as it can become oily) before wrapping in cling film and chilling in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, or until needed.

When you’re ready to cover the cake with the marzipan layer, remove the marzipan from the fridge and leave to adjust to room temperature.

Whilst your waiting for this, add 2 heaped tablespoon of marmalade (or the more traditional apricot jam if using that) to a microwavable dish and blast on full heat for 10 second intervals until it is runny (mine was done in 40 seconds).

Use a pastry brush to coat the cake with the runny marmalade, making sure you get it into all the folds of the cake as this will act as glue for your marzipan.


Now onto coating the cake!

* I added my marzipan section at a time, rather than rolling it out to a large circle and coating in one go, as this was a simpler way for my first time covering a cake.

On a work surface that has been dusted with icing sugar, roll out your marzipan until it is the thickness of a £1 coin, making sure that you check the marzipan isn’t sticking to the surface.

Using the cake tin that you baked the Christmas cake in as a stencil, cut a circle of marzipan out that will fit the top of your cake. Gently transfer the marzipan circle to the cake, using the marmalade (which will now have become quite tacky) to help stick the marzipan down. Smooth the edges down until you have something that looks like the picture below. (I had to repair a few tears  using spare marzipan – hence the bumpy layer)


Next, collect the trimmings of marzipan and re-roll them out until again you have a sheet of marzipan that is £1-coin thick. This time you want to use the side of the cake tin to cut out a strip that is a little wider than the width of the cake tin.

Transfer this strip to the cake and mould it to the sides of the cake, using the jam as glue again. Tuck any excess marzipan under the bottom of the cake, and use your thumbs to tack the seam of marzipan on the top and sides of the cake together, until you have a smooth coating.


Fix any tears or holes in the layer with any spare marzipan you may have, before wrapping your cake tightly in foil and leaving somewhere cool for the marzipan to dry out, ready for icing!


Coming Next: Turkey, Stuffing & Cranberry Pies

Helena x


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