A little while ago I posted a recipe for a gluten and dairy free christmas cake. I said I’d have a go at creating some marzipan and icing to go with it and I’ve managed it! Now, I know my icing skills are pretty poor so just over look that! I’m certain you guys can do a better job at laying the icing but this is my first attempt and I was going more for taste than looks….!
I’ve used a rollable fondant icing and a royal icing for the decoration. Read the instructions for the fondant icing before you start as once the sugar is boiling you can’t really leave it to check the instructions!
The recipe for the cake is here.
For the marzipan (this will cover 4 small cakes – approx 3 inches cubed) – :
200g Ground Almonds
100g Raw icing Sugar
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tbsp Cold Water
1 tsp Almond extract
Put the ground almonds and icing sugar in a bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre and add the liquid ingredients. Mix thoroughly. You should end up with a pastry-like dough. If it is too dry add a drop of lemon juice but be careful you don’t make it too moist. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for at least an hour.
For the fondant icing.
5 tbps water
1 tsp agar-agar powder or “gelatine” substitute (kosher gelatine is often non-animal based so can be used)
225g Raw icing sugar
1 tbsp glucose syrup
1 tsp glycerine (optional)
Put the agar-agar powder or gelatine substitute in a small bowl and add 1 tbsp of water and leave to soak. In a heavy-based saucepan, put the icing sugar, 4 tbsp water and the glucose syrup. Heat over a medium heat until sugar has dissolved, stirring gently all the time.
When the sugar mixture comes to the boil, boil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the syrup has reached soft-ball stage. Now if you’re like me you don’t know what that means! It’s actually quite straight forward – it’s the point at which if you take a spoonful of the mixture and drop it in a bowl of very cold water that you can form a ball with the syrup using your fingers (once it’s in the water!). At this stage it will easily form a ball in the water and will flatten when you remove it. For me it was almost eactly 3 minutes of boiling so you could just go by that. If you happen to have a sugar thermometer it’s when it reaches 112 degrees C.
While the sugar is boiling warm the bowl that the the soaked agar-agar or “gelatine” is in (over a saucepan of simmering water is easiest) until it dissolves.
When the sugar has finished cooking, remove from heat and dip the saucepan’s base in cold water to stop it from cooking. Leave to cool for a few seconds and then add the agar-agar/”gelatine” and glycerine and mix well.
IF you have a marble slab or suitable work surface then grease it and pour the mixture out onto the marble slab, and begin turning and mixing with a palette knife until it becomes a paste and clay-like. If, like me, you don’t then you can leave the mixture in the saucepan and just keep turning and stirring it in the pan using a wooden spoon (you need to mix vigorously!).
At first, the fondant will be very fluid, but it will gradually harden. After 5 – 10 minutes of mixing, the fondant will become very stiff, crumbly and hard to manipulate. At this point, lightly grease your hands, and knead the fondant into a ball. The fondant will begin to come together and become softer and smoother. Stop kneading when it is smooth.
Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least an hour.
For the royal icing:
125g icing sugar
2 tsp soya milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 tsp glucose syrup mixed with 1/2 tsp boiling water
Mix the icing sugar with the milk and stir until smooth. Add the glucose syrup and mix well. If it’s too runny add more icing sugar, if too dry add a little more milk.
Now to put it all together!
Roll out the marzipan on a greased board. Lay it over your cake. Roll out the fondant icing and lay that over the marzipan making sure you press it down firmly. Finally decorate using the royal icing. You can use a fork to create a “snow-like” appearance. Add silver balls, edible glitter or whatever you like to finish it off. Then place in the fridge to set! Enjoy!