Marzipan. I’ve never had it on a cake, not one I remember. I’ve never used it for anything (it can be used to make decorations as well as cover a cake).
This year, given I was making a Christmas cake for Mr Fussy and I to take to our respective work places, I had room to “play”. I made marzipan this morning. It was dead easy to make, albeit a little crumbly to begin with. The thing with marzipan, as I read, was not to over-knead it or you’d end up with an oily mess from the almonds.
Typically I’ve used Bakels Almond fondant as the base before covering the Christmas cake with white Bakels fondant. The taste of the Almond has a hint of almond flavour. The marzipan, given it’s made with almond meal has a near impossible taste, well certainly not of almond. And it’s a bit gritty, despite being made with equal amounts of icing sugar and castor sugar.
I’m not sold on the use of marzipan. Perhaps it’s the recipe I chose. There seems to be a few variations given they’re all much of a muchness when it comes to ingredients.
And not only are there variations, there’s conflicting information on the net about whether you need to let the marzipan dry out before covering it. Since we all know my lack of patience, I settled on the advice of one article that made no mention of any delay in covering a cake.
I used the marzipan in two different ways. I put it in the fridge as instructed. But the round Christmas cake I rolled and then laid the marzipan over the cake, and the square cake I panelled. I did this mostly due to the experience of the round cake, and because I didn’t think it would mould nicely over square corners.
One thing I was unclear on was what I put onto the marzipan to get the fondant to adhere to it.
If I’d be using the Bakels Almond fondant I’d have wet my hands (and shaken the excess off) and then just rubbed over the fondant before laying the white fondant on top. But could I, or should I do the same with marzipan.
The article I found said to use a syrup which suited me fine. I had made a sugar syrup this morning replacing the water with Brandy. Yep, since I’d gone to the trouble of “feeding” the Christmas cakes I decided why stop there. I might as well keep up the alcohol. I’m not sure how much alcohol is left given you boil the syrup, but it has quite a pleasant brandy flavour, which is saying something from someone that doesn’t much care for brandy.
Before putting the fondant on I had to either level the cake, or make a little ring of fondant to help the base (the top of the cake becoming the bottom) to sure up the cake if you like. Then I had to fill in the bigger holes in the cake left by the fruit as it baked. For both these tasks (and I really hate filling in the gaps left by the fruit) I used the fondant I’d made using the Liz Marek recipe. While the fondant was a bit sticky it meant I didn’t have to try and shape it as I usually do to fit the gaps. Rather I was a bit haphazard and then decided to keep that fondant smoother at hand and use it to push the fondant into the gaps and smooth out across the surface. Genius. Though I’m probably late to the party and this little trick has been used by all and sundry for many many years. Oh well. Better late than never, as the saying goes.
And now we’re ready to decorate.