Iced and Marzipan-ed Christmas Cake
(20cm cake, serves 16)
-450g sultanas -450g raisins -170g currants -225g glace cherries -225g candid peel, finely chopped -Finely grated zest of 1 orange -70ml brandy -225g butter -200g light and dark brown sugar -5 large eggs -280g plain flour
To finish: -1 1/2tbsp apricot jam -250g marzipan – Royal icing (see below)
- Combine all of the dried fruit, candid peel, orange zest and brandy in a large saucepan. Heat briefly until warm. Leave for several hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 150C. Line the base and sides of a 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs.
- Stir in the flour followed by the fruit mixture. Scrape into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake in the oven for 3 hours. Check it is cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre. If it is still too sticky, cook for 15-30 more minutes. Leave the cake to cool completely, ideally leave it overnight for the next step.
- Warm the apricot jam and brush all over the top of the cake and sides.
- Roll out 300g marzipan into a large circle, 4mm thick. Use the cake tin as a guide and cut out enough marzipan to cover the top of the cake, pressing down gently so it stays on. Roll out the other 200g trimmings and cut two long strips to fit around the sides of the cake. Position these and smooth and mould the edges together.
- Spread the icing smoothly all over the marzipan using the back of a spool or pallets knife. Swirl it into patterns if you would like to. Leave it to set completely before storing it in a cool, dry place until use.
- Decorate with Christmas decorations and serve.
-1 large egg white -250g icing sugar -Splash of lemon juice
- Beat the egg white. When it starts to look bubbly and frothy (but before it reaches the meringue stage), start adding in the icing sugar, a little at a time.
- Add the lemon juice and keep beating until the icing is thick and easily holds stiff peaks. It is now ready to use.