I have already blogged about baking the cakes and injecting them with brandy. The next step was to marzipan and ice these three bad boys!
I'm usually a little obsessive with my cakes (and food in general if truth be told) and insist on making everything from scratch, right down to the marzipan! On this occasion (three days before the wedding with a house full of relatives) I decided that something had to give and bought my marzipan at the supermarket. I used Waitrose's white marzipan and it was bloody lovely. After covering the cakes in apricot jam that had been warmed through with a little water (I like this brand as they use natural fruit juice as a sweetener rather than sugar!) step number one was to square off the top of the cakes by building up the edge until the top of the cake was level.
As I was going to be stacking the tiers directly one on top of the other, I wanted each tier to be as level as possible - a tiny slope here or there may not look like much on it's own but once the cakes were stacked I knew I could have ended up with a leaning tower of Pisa on my hands (or on the floor if I was very unlucky!)
Once the cakes were levelled off it was time to marzipan the top and sides! I rolled out the marzipan and cut it to size, using string to measure the circumference and height of each cake.
It's so satisfying how the marzipan slots together so neatly! It's one of my favourite ingredients to work with as it behaves so well and you can mould and shape it so easily (unlike it's Cousin, Fondant Icing, which always wants to stick to the counter or dry out in minutes and quite frankly has something of a bad attitude). Once I had all three tiers covered with marzipan it was time to ice them into fluffy looking pillows of perfection, but first, I'll let you into a little secret...
I bought a huge 12'' polystyrene cake dummy and iced it along with the rest of the cakes. It gave the whole thing a bit more ooomph and no one was any the wiser! Fruit cakes are very expensive to make (as they should be - crammed full of delicious, exotic brandy soaked fruit) and the cake dummy was a billy bargain at only a few pounds.
I made a big batch of royal icing and set to work covering each tier with a thick layer. The trick with Royal Icing is to work quickly and avoid going over the same area more than once - the surface begins to set fairly quickly so you run the risk of spoiling the smooth finish otherwise. Once the cakes were iced I popped them into their individual boxes and left them in the cupboard to rest. I'm looking forward to sharing some pictures of the finished results soon!