clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon

How To Make a Christmas Cake, Part 2

  • Author: Matthew Smedal
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: N/A
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes + However Long You Spend Decorating It
  • Yield: 1 Christmas Cake plus 1 Bonus Christmas Cake 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: British


‘Twas the week before Christmas and you know what that means… The time has come to finish your Christmas Cake! This part is a breeze, so pour yourself some eggnog, grab some decorations, and let’s go!



for the Apricot Jam:

  • a rounded half cup of dried apricots (115 grams)
  • 1/2 cup water (125 milliliters), plus more for finishing
  • 1/4 cup sugar (50 grams)

for the Marzipan for Covering Cakes:

  • 4 cups superfine almond flour (400 grams)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (150g), superfine is preferable
  • 2 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar (250 grams), plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 cup light corn or glucose syrup (120 milliliters)
  • 2 teaspoons meringue powder
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons rum

for the Less Sweet Royal Icing:

  • A scant 2 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar (300 grams)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


*If you wound up with a “bonus” Christmas Cake from my original recipe remember to save some jam, marzipan, and royal icing for that cake, too!

  1. Make yourself some quick apricot jam: Place your dried apricots and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until the apricots have absorbed most of the liquid. Add your sugar and boil, sitting occasionally, until the sugar water gets thick and glossy (just a couple of minutes). Pour the whole thing into a food processor and blitz. Put the jam back into your pot and look at the consistency. If it’s really thick, stir in a couple tablespoons of water. Check the consistency again and repeat until it looks like something you would happily spread on toast. Let cool. At this point you can store the jam in the fridge for several months. The jam will taste really good, but if you eat the jam before you glaze your Christmas Cake with it you’ll have to repeat this process.
  2. Make your marzipan: Combine your water and your meringue powder and mix to combine. Now mix all liquids (corn syrup, almond extractrum and water/meringe) in a small bowl.
  3. If you can’t find superfine sugar, pulverize granulated sugar in a food processor until it’s superfine. Add the almond flour and confectioner’s sugar to the superfine sugar and pulse to combine. Add liquids in a steady stream. A dough will form. Don’t overmix or your marzipan will get oily. Better to finish the dough by hand on the counter than to overmix in the food processor. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to one week. Marzipan will firm up after refrigeration.
  4. To assemble your cake: unwrap your Christmas Cake and place it on the board you will serve it on. It’s going to smell really good. Take a piece of string and measure from the bottom of one side of the cake to the bottom of the opposite side. Save this measurement. 
  5. Paint the cake with a healthy layer of your apricot jam. Dust a work surface with confectioner’s sugar (it’s gonna be messy!) and roll your marzipan out into a large circle ever-so-slightly larger than the size of your piece of string. Gently lift your marzipan up and over the cake and let it drape down the sides. Smooth the top and sides and cut off any excess marzipan from the bottom. Eat those scraps immediately. Let the cake sit for 24 hours so that the marzipan can dry out a bit.
  6. After you have assembled your cake, make your royal icing (if you don’t care to use raw egg whites you can check out the notes section in my recipe for Less Sweet Royal Icing).
  7. Place your confectioner’s sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and carefully stir to distribute the salt. Fair warning: You will likely get a sugar cloud in your kitchen after doing this.
  8. Add in your egg whites and vanilla extract and — using the whisk attachment — slowly start to beat the icing. Again, you’re headed for a sugar-cloud here. You can prevent this by wrapping a damp kitchen towel over the top of the bowl and keeping it there for about a minute until most of the sugar has dissolved into the liquid. As the sugar incorporates increase the speed of the mixer, stopping it to scrape down the sides of the bowl once.
  9. Mix on medium-high for about 5 minutes or until the icing is super shiny and forms gorgeous, floppy, soft peaks.
  10. Frost your cake with your Royal Icing. You can do big, sweeping mounds of it, or make it sleek and smooth. Either way works great. Decorate your cake with small Christmas figurines, bows, holly, or anything you see fit.
  11. Serve at Christmas.


The apricot jam spreads onto the cake much easier when it’s warm, so if you make it in advance warm it up in 30 second increments in the microwave before applying it to your cake. 

Don’t come at me with “but there’s corn syrup in the marzipan!” Show the nice people at Karo some love and watch corn syrup do what it’s designed to do: Make really pliable sweet things. We’re not using it as our actual sweetener here, we’re using a small amount as a binder because glucose syrups are AMAZING when used this way. If you’ve ever made marzipan without it and had it crack, break, fall to the floor as you lift it over the cake, or generally wind up in disappointing bits and pieces in the trash can you will be in awe of my marzipan. I am!!

Keywords: cake, Christmas cake, marzipan, Christmas