Having left myself not enough time to ice the cake before Christmas, I needed to figure out how to get a classic look without waiting for the marzipan to dry. So, I decided to try an experimental approach to icing the cake.
First, I rolled out a single packet of white marzipan as thin as I could manage, and used it to cover the cake fondant-style.
Normally the next step would be to cover the whole thing in Royal Icing. The problem here is that the oil from the marzipan is liable to seep into the Royal Icing if it hasn’t had enough time to completely dry between steps. Ideally the marzipan would be done a week ahead of the final icing, but I was doing this the day before Christmas Eve so I didn’t have many options.
I decided to use some red fondant that was left over from Hallowe’en. There was clearly a possibility that the red would seep through rather than the marzipan oil, but it seemed at least worth a try – the idea being that the fondant would form a buffer between the marzipan and the Royal Icing.
Again, I rolled it out as thin as I could manage, and covered the cake in a single piece. I brushed the marzipan layer with some warmed up honey to help the fondant to stick. Sieved apricot jam is more traditional here, but I was working with what was to hand!
It looked pretty awesome, although it wasn’t a very traditional Christmas cake style.
The next step was the Royal Icing; I’d normally be inclined to make this from scratch, but being short on time I used a just-add-water packet. I was very glad of the Kenwood mixer for the beating and stirring phases.
I made up the icing according to the packet, but it seemed to be aiming for a consistency that could be rolled out, so I ended up adding quite a lot more water to get a much softer icing which was closer in consistency to buttercream. This meant that I could use a palette knife to apply it with a nice textured finish.
It stuck to the fondant easily and pretty soon it was looking very much like an old-school traditionally iced Christmas cake.
The final touch was to get out the cheesy decorations, and the end result brought me right back to being 5 years old.