Step 16: Icing the cake: marzipan
When the week of the wedding finally comes around, you are ready to ice your cake.
For a fruit cake, the cake is first covered in a layer of marzipan, to add some almondy goodness and also to smooth out some of the bumps. If you are making a sponge cake skip this step, unless you really love marzipan.
Covering a cake in marzipan uses exactly the same method as covering it in fondant. Stick the cake to the cake board with a small ball of marzipan. Now, take roughly enough marzipan to cover your cake. This can be hard to judge and is a matter of practise, so if in doubt always use more. Knead the marzipan a little, until it is smooth and pliable. Roll it out into a rough circular shape, about half a centimetre thick.
Melt a little marmalade in the microwave or on the stove, until it runny. Brush this over the cake, it will stick the marzipan to the cake. I find the easiest way to get the layer of marzipan draped over the cake safely is to first drape it over a rolling pin, and then roll it over the surface of the cake. Dust it with some icing sugar or cornflour first to stop it sticking.
Once the marzipan is draped over the cake, gently pull down the sides to cover any gaps. Smooth the flat of your hand down the sides, pressing the marzipan to the cake and amoothing out any creases or overlaps, Rub the flat of your hand or a cake smoother over the top firmly to flatten and smooth the surface. Smooth out the sides in the same way. Trim off any excess marzipan around the bottom of the cake with a sharp knife and peel it off the board. This can be kept in an airtight bag or container for use next time.
Give the cake one final go around with the cake smoother or your hand. The smoother this under layer is, the smoother your outer surface will be.