Whether you’ve made your own Christmas cake this year or picked up one of ours, unless you want to eat it naked (the cake, that is), it will need icing. Dale, our co-founder and COOK’s original chef, talks you through it…
Please note: this is for traditional royal icing, which contains raw egg.
1. If you’re really ambitious, you can make your own marzipan but that’s for serious foodies. Either way, you’ll need to get it on the cake. Kneed, dusting with icing sugar, and roll it out to the desired thickness. Then mix a tablespoon of apricot jam with a little boiling water and brush over the cake. Then lay the disc of marzipan on top, press down the sides and trim (sticking bits on if necessary) so it’s neatly covered. If you’re not pressed for time, it can be worth coving the cake with a clean tea towel for 24 hours at this point, to prevent any of the marzipan colour coming through the icing, but it’s not essential.
2. To make the icing - whisk 3 egg whites and slowly add 600g of sieved white icing sugar until it makes soft peaks. Then stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Now you have a choice: royal icing is seriously hard, so if you want it to be a little softer, try adding 1 ½ teaspoon of liquid glycerine. Some people suggest adding a touch of blue food colouring which can, strangely enough, make the cake look really white. Personally I don’t bother. It’s very easy to overdo it and end up with a blue cake!
3. Then the fun bit: spread the icing all over the cake, either flat iced using a clean ruler (a bit tricky) or by forming soft peaks (very easy). Decorate with some Christmas ornaments and you’re done! The icing will harden overnight.