Back in October (before Goldman Sachs Sunk became PM), part 1 of the 2022 Christmas Cake creation was published, see here.
Since then our new leader has shown himself to be nothing more than another WEF stooge, hammering the final nail in the electoral coffin of the Tories. But back to the cake, as the soap box does need to be put aside for an hour or two. In the previous weeks you’ll have been diligently nurturing, talking to and feeding your cake creation with some fine brandy or Armagnac using the timeless cook’s measure of “one for me, one for the cake”. Suitably fortified (both cake and cook) it’s now time to crack on with part II which is where I retire to sample a fine Christmas Porter and hand over to SWMBO for the almondy action.
Our choice for 2022 is a white marzipan rather than the bright yellow version that’s also available for no other reason than it’s less likely to show through the icing. It still has a yellow hue but doesn’t possess the vividness of other marzipans. Prepare the cake by removing the tin base and all of the greaseproof paper that has cocooned the cake since it came out of the oven and place an appropriately-sized cake board face down on what is the top of the cake. Flip the ensemble over and the result will be a nicely flat, just-moist bottom (not filth!) that presents itself as the perfect surface for the marzipan.
It’s time to get sticky. Use a palette knife to gently spread a smooth apricot glaze over the sides and top of the cake, the purpose of which is to provide just the right level of tackiness for the marzipan to adhere to the cake. Apricot jam can also be used as an alternative, it just needs to be warmed and watered down a little to make it thinner then strained to remove any fruit lumps. Another option is to use marmalade if a fruitier cake flavour is desired.
Use a little icing sugar spread on a cool rolling surface to prevent the marzipan from sticking/tearing, gradually roll the pack down and outwards to a thickness of about 1/4” (5mm or so in new money). At this stage I should add that marital harmony may become somewhat stretched if “advice” is offered by the observer to the roller regarding the depth of the marzipan. It’s best to keep quiet and pour another Porter.
Roughly trim using a sharp knife so it will just overhang the cake’s top. But how to get the marzipan atop its new home without breaking or stretching? The trick is to use the rolling pin as an aide, rolling the marzipan from one edge around it and then reversing this movement when you are happy it will unroll to totally cover the top.
Take the knife and cut off the overhang and you’re done. Note: Porter and marzipan offcuts do not mix well on the tongue. Roll and trim the sides using the same method for the top which can be done individually with four separate pieces or in longer strips. Any bumps or undulations can be evened out with the palette knife before the cake is put into an airtight container and stored somewhere cool for a few days to let the marzipan dry out.
Once again there’s a choice, the traditional Royal icing that I’ll wager your mum and gran used to top their cake with, making little icing peaks to simulate snow into which a rusty bit of wire that supported a robin or snowman was pushed. Royal icing by its nature dries very hard so another option is to use a softer fondant icing and the pre-made packs available in supermarkets make this job very quick and easy.
On a light dusting of icing sugar, use your trusty rolling pin to roll out the pack to the required thickness, roughly the same as the marzipan and then use a pastry brush to sparingly apply a little water onto the marzipan as this will allow the icing to melt and adhere.
Wrap the rolled-out icing around the rolling pin and then unroll it to reveal a perfectly flat cake top. Repeat around the edges and that’s ‘job done’ unless you want to get a bit creative with decorations using coloured icing and cutters to make some festive shapes using a few drops of water to make them stick.
Resist the urge to cut off a slice and blame the kids, put the cake away to continue its maturation until the 25th when it’s best enjoyed with an exceedingly large snifter and, if you’re inclined the way of SWMBO, some mature English cheddar cheese.
Here’s a few examples of SWMBO’s creations from previous years:
Happy Christmas from the two of us to you glorious deviants, deplorables and other assorted gheyers. We’ve enjoyed your company, virtually and in person, throughout this year and look forward to more meets and unread comments in 2023.
Text & images © SWMBO & Humbug Slocombe 2022