So. In November I made the cake, and put it away in an airtight container and conveniently forgot about it for a month. That was easy.
About a week ago, I bought some marzipan in Ikea. I painted the unwrapped cake with warmed apricot jam (to help it stick), rolled out the marzipan, and stuck it on. Because this is just the inner icing - the undercoat, if you like - you don't have to be very particular about how it looks, but it's good to aim for a fairly uniform thickness.
|The cake looks shiny because this was after I'd done the thing with the jam|
Then it went back into its tupperware for a few more days, until I was ready to make the royal icing. It turns out that royal icing is much like making meringues, and just as simple. I whipped two egg whites, gradually adding about a pound of icing sugar (confectioners' sugar) as I went along, and finally mixed in a teaspoon of lemon juice. (I don't know why. Because the recipe told me to.)
It starts out runny, but as you add the sugar the expanding egg can't quite keep up and eventually it becomes the right consistency to stick onto your cake.
I went for the rustic look, because making this smooth was way beyond me and my new red spatula (not pictured). In my parents' house, this is the point when I'd put my little Christmas scene on top, or at least sprinkle some sugar silver balls in festive fashion, but I have no cake decorations and had neglected to buy any silver balls for the task. I'm also missing the vital cake wrapper thingy, usually red and white and gold with fringey bits, to wrap around the outside. Maybe I'll pick one up next time we're home. (You have no idea what I'm talking about, but the cake in the photo on this page is wearing one. I think it keeps the cake fresh once it's cut into.)
And finally. After Christmas dinner, and our Christmas meringues, we cut the cake. This is how it looked. Personally, I think it's a tiny bit dry, but B sighed a sigh of nostalgia at his first bite, so I must have done something right.
Here's the kicker, though. He doesn't eat the icing.
Next year, I'll make it bald.