Extreme Beginner Questions (Marzipan Set Time)

Decorating By occi Updated 19 Jul 2005 , 12:08pm by occi

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occi Posted 14 Jul 2005 , 2:26am
post #1 of 7

Hi all,

my first post - very excitied to find such a great site. I am a very new beginner icon_biggrin.gif . Have bought a book on cake decorating (english) and am setting about making a trial cake for my boys christening. In my book it says to cover with marzipan then sugarpaste, allowing 24hrs drying time in between. It doesnt however, explain why... any ideas icon_confused.gif ?

Considering it is a trial cake, would it be okay to cover with sugarpaste before it is dry? Or will the results be really skewed?

I also have some other questions and any enlightnement would be very greatfully received!
1. I have noticed a distinct difference between decorating in the UK and the US, in buttercream versus the formal marzipan/sugarpastre route. is this true, if so why?
2. when baking a chocolate mud it goes to crispy on the outside and quite wet in the middle, should I turn down the oven temp even lower and let cook longer?
3. my instructions say that mud cake keeps for a week in the fridge. I have read on other posts that the sugarpaste and marzipan should be left to dry out of the fridge. Will this make the cake go off quicker?

Sorry if these questions have been covered heaps of times, but I can't get this site's search to work!

6 replies
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missjane Posted 14 Jul 2005 , 3:05am
post #2 of 7

Hi Occiicon_smile.gif

I am going to try an answer you as I am an Australian living in the US so I have kind of taught myself both ways. ( The Aussie way of decorating is very similar to the English).

Covering a cake with Marzipan aparently protects the fondant from moisture. It also acts as a protective barrier between the chocolate cake and the white icing. Looks kinda pretty and VERY neat when it is cut too!

I am thinking you let the Marzipan dry out for a bit so it releases some its moisture. But I have read that it is OK to cover your marzipan straight away. Maybe give it half a day?

I actually like the taste of marzipan better than fondant (sugar paste)and I think the english way is really smart as you can use a very thin sheet of sugarpaste to cover your cake!icon_smile.gif

1) Yep, the Americans decorate cakes differantly. Its just a culture differance just like the French decorate differantly to the Englishicon_smile.gif I have noticed inthe last couple of years, fondant ( sugar paste) is becomming more popular including gum paste flowers.. Not sure if the fruit cake will ever catch on tho! lol..

2) hmmm chocolate Mud cake. YUMM... try turning down your oven temp alittle and cook it longericon_smile.gif

3) I think you have only several days out of the fridge if you cover the Mud cake with Mazipan. Not sure on this one but personally, more than a week out of the fridge ( if it isnt fruit cake ) is pushing it!...

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occi Posted 14 Jul 2005 , 5:22am
post #3 of 7

Thanks for the reply, I think I am going to have a go early! 12 hours is already up...

I live in Australia and am finding all this cake stuff very confusing! I think I need to purchase some more books...

One more quick question... can you leave the marzipan to set in the fridge in an airtight container, or does it need to be out of the fridge?

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nernan Posted 14 Jul 2005 , 6:24am
post #4 of 7

Hi occi, i too am in Aus, i would let the marzipan sit out to dry. you need to brush the marzipan with a clear alcohol or sugar syrup(equal parts water and sugar slightly heated) so it is "tacky" so the sugarpaste can stick to it. If you dont want to use marzipan you can do 2 layers of sugarpaste.

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melze Posted 15 Jul 2005 , 9:11pm
post #5 of 7

HI- I was doing cakes for ages (fruit cakes) without letting it have any drying time between the two icing layers. I had no Idea. So - yes it works fine to just do one straight on top of the other, however since- I have let them dry, and it just works better because it is not as prone to getting fingermarks and any other marks coming through that are very difficult to remove if both layers are soft.
Are you using a fanforced temperature?? try lowering the temp- it will probably work.

Funny about the fruit cake over there- i seem to be constantly making them for people!!! lol- the differences!!
hope this helps a little,

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auzzi Posted 19 Jul 2005 , 9:26am
post #6 of 7

I presume that you are covering a chocolate mudcake with sugarpaste{?}.

Answering all the questions :

Sugarpaste and fruitcake is the traditional Australian celebratory cake. Buttercream has begun to catch on but...

If your chocolate mud is crispy outside and wet inside, definitely turn down the oven temp lower and cook longer. Low and slow is the best - for every 10oC lower, bake 15-20 mins longer [140-150oC].

Mud cake does keep for a week in the fridge. The trick is to cover it approx three days before using. For example: make the cake Monday [into fridge]: cover Tuesday/Wednesday: decorate Thursday: consume Saturday: nothing leftover, so no storage problems.

Place your cake on the cake board and cover with sugarpaste. When trimming the sugarpaste around the edge, at board level, make sure that the cake is COMPLETELY sealed in. [Even if you have to run a trail of Royal Icing around the edge/board]. The cake does not go off quicker because it is airtight.

If using marzipan, do not cover it with sugarpaste before it is dry.

When drying each layer of marzipan and Sugarpaste, leave it out of the fridge - cool dark place away from dust/cats/kids.

Marzipan's original purpose was to create a barrier between the rich boozy fruitcake and Royal Icing that covered traditional English cakes. The Royal sucks moisture/oil from the cakes and gently dissolves. A by-product of marzipanning cakes is the smooth surface that it produces for the Royal icing. The drying time is 24-48hours before covering it.

Marzipan provides a protective barrier between the fruitcake's discolouring action and the sugarpaste covering. Cover with 1-1.5 cm thick marzipan and the same with sugarpaste. The fruitcake is dense enough to carry the weight of both. Cakes do not have to be covered with Marzipan. Current decorating practice is no marzipan but rather two layers of thinner-rolled sugarpaste. The cake needs to have a perfect surface. Buttercream and fruitcake are not a good match.

Brush the cake with vodka/brandy, sugar syrup or apricot glaze so that the marzipan will stick to the cake. After it dries, brush it so that the sugarpaste will stick to the marzipan.. not too much or the glue will dissolve the marzipan/sugarpaste.

For most cakes other than fruitcake, a layer of buttercream [to glue - not as an alternative covering] then the 1-1.5 sugarpaste is acceptable - perfect cake surface, of course. You can use vodka/brandy or sugar syrup or apricot glaze to glue the sugarpaste to the mudcake - but buttercream is more popular.

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occi Posted 19 Jul 2005 , 12:08pm
post #7 of 7

Thanks for all the wonderful info. Lots of tips to make life a little easier!

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