Marzipanning Your Cake
Once your cake has had two or three months to mature and soak up some booze it’s time to cover it in marzipan and icing, sealing in all that lovely fruit and flavour. Take out your cake from wherever you have stored it and unwrap completely. You will need a cake drum, available in cake stores, online or in a number of shops and supermarkets ie Lakeland, Sainburys, Tesco. Locally, Lakeland is a good bet as is Purple Heart in the North Laine, Brighton and Angel Food Kitchen in the Lanes. Your board will need to be the same size as the cake ie 8” cake means an 8” board.
Take some marzipan, either natural or golden coloured ( I prefer natural) and knead until it softens. For an 8” cake you will need about 750g – 1kg. Place the cake upside down on the board. Use a spirit level to check it is level. If it is not you can adjust it with some marzipan by placing small pieces under the bottom of it and continuing to do this until it is level. Fill in the gaps around the based with marzipan and any holes on the sides and top of the cake where it might be a little pitted. Make sure you press all these bits in so they are flush with the cake itself.
Heat up some apricot jam, either in the microwave or on the stove until it is a fairly running consistency. You can strain it through a sieve to remove any lumps of fruit if you wish. Brush the sides and top of the cake liberally with the apricot jam – this will not only help the marzipan to stick but will also seal in moisture and flavour.
Marzipanning a cake is fairly straightforward. Dust a work surface lightly with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan in a circle to approximately 3-5mm thick. Rotate the marzipan every few rolls of the rolling pin to ensure it doesn’t stick to the work surface. If it feels like it is becoming sticky, lift part of it up and dust some more icing sugar underneath. Once rolled out use slide both forearms underneath being careful not to snag it and tear a whole with fingernails. Make sure you have removed jewellery at this point as anything like rings, watches, bracelets will tear it.
Lift the marzipan onto the cake and carefully smooth it into place. Use smoothers to give it a really flat finish and create an edge at the bottom of the cake. Use a pizza wheel to cut away the excess and continue smoothing it until you are happy with it. Set aside to dry overnight. The beauty of marzipanning your cake is not only will it seal in moisture but it will give you a nice base for icing it – a bit like putting lining paper on a wall before the actual wallpaper
See Part Three for icing!