Helen’s Home Cooking Video and recipes for Marzipan and Royal Icing & How to dress the Christmas cake.

It’s time to finish of decorating the Christmas cake, remember to give yourself 3 days for doing this to ensure every stage dries thoroughly.  These days you can buy pre made marzipan and boxes of royal icing but we are going to show you how to make your own. This marzipan mix is a little less smooth than shop bought, however you can substitute the caster sugar for icing sugar for a smoother finish. Make sure you have extra on hand as you may need more.

Christmas cake scene.


  • 1/2 jar of apricot jam for over the cake.
  • 200g of ground almonds
  • 175g of icing sugar
  • 125g of caster sugar or another 125g of icing sugar for a smoother finish, keep extra on hand as quantity may vary slightly depending on egg size.
  • 1 egg beaten
  • A few drops of almond essence if you prefer a stronger taste.


  1. Place cake ready on a plate, not the base you will ultimately be wanting to use and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together.
  3. Add the almond essence.
  4. Add the egg slowly and a little at a time, you may not need it all. I prefer to use my hands for mixing at this stage as you can feel the mixture starting to come together, always remembering you don’t want it wet.
  5. Once the mix has formed into a ball, sprinkle some icing sugar onto the work surface and knead until the marzipan feels softer to work with.
  6. Put half a jar of the jam in a mug and beat with a knife or fork a little to loosen.
  7. Spread evenly over the whole cake, you may not need it all, cover what you don’t use and enjoy with scones. Set cake aside.
  8. Sprinkle more icing sugar on the work surface and roll your marzipan out until it’s big enough to cover the cake.
  9. Using the rolling pin for lifting the marzipan, wrap a little over the top of the pin and roll back on itself to remove from the work surface.
  10. Starting from the base, unroll right over the top of the cake.
  11. Press and smooth the marzipan into the cake, don’t worry if it splits as you can patch it with any trimmings.
  12. Trim away any extra marzipan. If I am left with a fair bit I freeze it for another time.
  13. Leave the cake for 24hrs for the marzipan to dry out before icing.

Royal Icing


  • 675g icing sugar sifted
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3tsp of lemon juice
  • 1 1/2tsp of glycerine


  1. Transfer your cake onto the base you will be using and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whisk the eggs until frothy, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Fold in the icing sugar a little at a time.
  4. Add the lemon juice and glycerine and whisk the mix until the icing becomes peaky and very white.
  5. This may take longer than you think so don’t stop, it should take anything between 2-4 minutes.
  6. Cover the cake with your icing, again freezing any leftovers.
  7. Using a flat palette knife, press and lift all over the cake to form peaks, creating a wintry scene.
  8. Alternatively for a smooth finish, again using a flat palette knife, gentle smooth the icing down, always working toward yourself so as you can remove any excess gathered on the knife. It can help to slightly wet the knife for the smoothing process.
  9. Set the cake aside for the icing to dry out. This can take over 24hrs so make sure to have plenty of time.

The finishing touches

  1. Press whatever decorations you are using into the top of the cake.
  2. Using ribbon of your choice to go around the cake, securing with a little icing paste or a sterilized pin.
  3. Using a sieve, shake a little icing over and around your cake, creating the impression of freshly fallen snow.
  4. Keep in an airtight container until Christmas day and enjoy.
  5. If you have a table big enough, use the cake as a centre piece, having created a wintry scene around it.

Merry Christmas Everybody.

Christmas cake scene.



3 replies »

  1. Lovely Helen – First time I’ve ever seen how to make marzipan from scratch. I think my mother usually bought a sheet to roll out in a circle over the top of the cake – not down the sides.
    Your Royal icing is as per tradition as I know it.
    Hope everyone enjoys their own personal version of Helen’s Xmas cake!

    • Thank you Ben, I do have a second cake to do, I shan’t use caster sugar this time around the marzipan as it’s for a gift, but shall only use icing sugar for a smoother finish. I didn’t mind it a little grainy and you never know some of the moisture from the Royal Icing may have broken down the sugar a little. Time shall tell.

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