How to ice a traditional Christmas cake

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No Christmas is really complete without without a beautifully iced white Christmas cake and getting the icing lovely and smooth can be really tricky. My mum talked me through it the first time and, although it’s fiddly, if you stay calm and go slowly it’s possible to get that  professional finish.

It's important to start with as smooth a surface as possible

Step 1. Make sure your cake has the flattest surface possible. I turned my cake upside down.

It’s important to start with a really flat surface because then you’ll be able to get the marzipan nice and smooth.

Sieve the jam so there are no bits

Step 2. You need to cover the entire cake in apricot jam so the marzipan has something to stick to.

Make sure you sieve the jam first so there are absolutely no bits. This helps again to make sure everything is perfectly flat and smooth.

Don't try to marzipan the whole cake in one go

Step 3. Now you can start with the marzipan. Don’t try and do the whole thing at once, take your time and don’t worry if it goes wrong, you can start again.

Measure the top of the cake, sprinkle icing sugar on a clean, dry surface and then start to roll out your marzipan. Try to keep it the same thickness all the way over, this is easier if you have some guides to roll on to.

Then measure the height and length around the cake and again roll an even piece of marzipan out. Then you can start to put the marzipan on, trim it down and smooth the rough edges so it eventually looks like a big block of marzipan.

You can use a pallet knife to smooth it all out, once again making the cake as flat as possible.

Step 4. The icing is the easy bit. You can do it all in one go. Just roll out a large square, but make sure you keep moving it around so it doesn’t stick to the surface you’re rolling it on. Don’t turn the icing over as you want to keep the topside perfect. Once it’s all rolled out you can brush a thin layer of water over the marzipan but be very careful not to get any water on the top of the icing as this will melt it away.

Once you’ve laid the icing on top of the marzipan slowly push the corners in, being very careful not to let the corners and edges crack. Just take your time and it’ll be perfect!

Once that’s done you can smooth the top and sides by patting the side of your hand in icing sugar and rubbing the cake with small circular motions.

You can decorate the cake however you like

Step 5. The exciting part, now you can decorate it! I went for a really simple design which looks pretty by colouring the left over icing and cutting out lots of little stars. I brushed these with a little water to stick them all over the cake.

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