How to ice a cake

Points to remember

  • Heat through smooth apricot jam with a splash of water in a small saucepan. Push it through a sieve.
  • Brush your fruit cake with the jam to form an even, thin layer over the entire cake. This will help the marzipan stick and stop crumbs from coming off the cake.
  • Dust the work surface with icing sugar. Sprinkle a little over the marzipan and rub onto your rolling pin too.
  • Flatten the marzipan using a downwards pressing action. Turn the marzipan 90 degrees, flattening a few times.
  • When the marzipan is about 2cm thick, start to roll it with an even pressure until it is the thickness of a £1 coin.
  • Using the rolling pin, lift the marzipan and ease it over the cake. Use your hands to smooth the marzipan across the top and down the sides. Trim away the excess marzipan from the base of the cake using a small knife.
  • To cover the cake with ready-to-roll icing, spread a thin covering of icing sugar over the work surface.
  • Sprinkle the the rolling pin with icing sugar to stop it sticking. If you're using white icing, you can sprinkle the icing too.
  • Repeat the same rolling process used for the marzipan until the the icing is about 1/2cm thick.
  • Brush the cake with a colourless alcohol (vodka is a good option) or cold boiled water to help the icing to stick.
  • Lift the icing using the rolling pin.
  • Start by laying the icing at the back of the cake and flop it down to the front. Use the flats of your hands to smooth icing over the cake.
  • Trim away excess icing with a small sharp knife. The cake is now ready to decorate.