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How to bake a Christmas Cake (Part 2: Marzipan and Icing)

Has anyone else been eating actual metric tons of food this close to Christmas? I have, or at least it feels like I have. My calendar has been full of eating out plans – fun, but seriously – not good to be eating this much this close to Christmas. I’ll have to lose a hefty chunk of weight once we’re in January, or buy a whole new wardrobe.


Dec 15

Recent: an authentic Szechuan meal at Middle Kingdom on Princess street, delicious fried chicken & sweet potato fries at Yard and Coop in the Northern quarter, making meringues, and putting up my Christmas tree nice and early.


Anyway – it’s been 12 weeks, it’s a week until Christmas – which means that it’s high time to marzipan & ice your Christmas cake! Let’s get started.



You’ve already made your marzipan, so get it out of the fridge. Dust a surface with lots of sifted icing sugar (you want to sift it because icing sugar is prone to lumps). Roll out your marzipan to about 6mm thickness using a dough pin.




Heat two tablespoons of apricot jam in the microwave. Unwrap your christmas cakes, and brush each cake with the jam.




Look how shiny! At this point, you can also opt to forego the marzipan and icing palaver, and just decorate the cakes with nuts instead.




Cut shapes out of your rolled out marzipan to cover your cakes. Since I was covering five little heart-shaped cakes as well as one large round one,  I used a cookie cutter to cut a similar-sized heart shape, and pressed to the right shape using my fingers.




Here is the round cake, with a nice thick layer of marzipan.




Once all of your cakes are covered in marzipan, set them aside. Cover with a layer of cling film, or put under a cake dome – at this point, you want to leave the marzipan to dry out a bit so that some of the moisture goes, before you start icing the cakes. Leave for at least 24 hours.




Once the marzipan has dried for 24 hours, prepare your icing. You can use royal icing – but I preferred ready roll white icing, just because I preferred a softer icing, rather than a hard crunchy layer on top of the marzipan. Roll out your icing to about 6mm thick.




Brush each cake with a layer of heated apricot jam.




Cut your ready roll icing. I used a bit of scrap paper to get the shape right.




Cover each cake with a layer of white icing.




Keep going until each of your cakes is covered.




Once all of your cakes are covered, it’s time to decorate! I bought some cute little holly leaf decorations. To attach, brush your decorations with a small layer of apricot jam.




Stick each decoration to your icing.




There we are, all decorated and finished!




Wrap each cake tightly in clingfilm, and place in a cake tin if you have one.


Come Christmas – enjoy!




How to Marzipan & Ice a Christmas Cake
This is a British classic - a boozy cake, matured over 12 weeks. Learn how to marzipan and ice the Christmas cake once you have baked it with this step-by-step recipe.
Cuisine: British
  • 4 tbsp apricot jam
  • 1 pound Marzipan
  • 1 pound white ready-roll icing
  • Nuts or Christmas decorations to decorate
  1. Heat two tablespoons of apricot jam in a saucepan or in the microwave, on a low heat, until liquid.
  2. Using a pastry brush, brush the jam over the top and sides of your cake.
  3. Roll out your marzipan to a thickness of about 6mm.
  4. Cover your cake. Let the marzipan dry by leaving the cake to sit out for 24 hours.
  5. The next day, roll out your icing to about 6mm thick. Using a butter knife, cut a shape the same diameter as your cake. Life using your knife, and gently cover your cake.
  6. Decorate as desired.





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