Iceing Christmas Cake

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Iceing Christmas Cake

I've just this minute removed Delia's Classic Christmas Cake from the over - my second ever Christmas cake but I have a few worries.

For want of a better term the cake seems to have 'leaked' somewhat. By leak I mean that there is a marked damp stain on the brown paper on the outside of the tin. There is also moisture on the stone the tin was sitting on. One possile explanation is that I baked an apple tart earlier on and it leaked a little so it might just be the juice from it. The cake had a double row of parchment around the inside of the tin,a single cutout at the bottom, and a double cutout at the top

Any comments

One question I would like to ask is when to ice? I appreciate that from now to Christmas you feed the cake every week but I assume that once the marzipan and iceing goes on the feeding stops.

So when do I ice? Would the 2nd of December be good for the marzipan and the iceing on say 16th or 18th of the month or would I need to do this earlier/later

As always many thanks to members for their help and support



Christmas Cake

It's really not a reply it's a bit of additional information. I let the cake stay in the oven for four hours but the top seems a little burned, is that normal, is it safe to cut a bit off the top and use it as the bottom - if you get my drift

Sorry for what seems obvious questions but as I said in my OP this is just my second Christmas Cake and I want it to be as good as possible.


Lindsey, Food Editor

icing Christmas cake

Hello Kevin,

The mark sounds like it might be grease so please don’t worry about it. Presuming the cake was covered over the top it also sounds like you oven is running a little high if it has caught on the top. This can as you suggest be cut trimmed off then turned over, hoverer I would leave it and keep feeding it every couple of weeks.

I would marzipan and ice the cake at the same time, one to two weeks ahead of Christmas (my preference is to do it a week before). On the day that you ice it, trim off the charred top then turn it over and feed it one more time before you brush it with apricot jam.

I hope that helps.

Best wishes



Is marzipan and icing applied on the same day?

"I would marzipan and ice the cake at the same time, one to two weeks ahead of Christmas (my preference is to do it a week before)."

Lindsey could you clarify something. Are you talking about putting on the marzipan AND the icing on the same day? I was under the impression that it was best to leave the marzipan and let the oils dry out before applying the iceing


Icing the cake

Yes, it is best to let the marzipan dry for a bit before covering it.
I don't know if using commercial marzipan makes a difference, but I always let it dry for a day or two with home-made marzipan.

sam from worthing

icing Christmas cake

I have never marzipanned and iced on the same day.

The original posters thinking about doing the marzipan on the 2nd, then ice on the 16th is perfectly ok.

The marzipan needs to dry out, or it will bleed oil and fat into the icing (unless your eating the very next day).

I can highly recommend delias almond icing - much better to shop brought.

and then, this is so simple - the royal icing.



Kevin, if you're proposing to use Royal icing (in my humble opinion, far nicer than that ready made fondant stuff) I would do as you suggested and leave a few days between doing the marzipan and the icing. I agree that homemade marzipan is far far nicer than the bought stuff and does need to dry out a little. I'd certainly give at least a week for the icing to dry out before you want to eat it.

I've heard other people say that their cake has been, dare I say, over cooked, and I think the conclusion in past years is that the cake doesn't need as long (or a lower temperature if you've used a fan oven) as the recipe says. But feeding it well should help. It's worth considering (for next year) cooking it in a very low oven (about 100°C - 110°C) until a skewer comes out clean but wet. I do mine for about 6 hours. The advantage of doing it this way is that you get a beautifully moist cake with a flat top. This tip was given to me by someone who has a cake business and I figured she knew what she was talking about and I've been really pleased with the results. I do mine in the bottom oven of my Aga (about 110°C) and it works well.

H x


Honey's Tip

Next time I'm doing a cake I'll take Honey's tip and turn the heat way down and cook long and slow!

To be honest my oven is pretty old, at least twenty-five and probably more and at this time all I can really do is guess at a temperature.

I've tried the stainless steel oven theormometer but to be honest didn't rate them. I'd like to have a digital probe that would tell me what my oven temperature is at any given time. Any recommondations?


oven temp and icing cake

You can buy a thermometer to hang on the rungs of the oven which will give you the temperature it is running at - you can get them in lots of kitchen shops and also Lakeland (my very very very favourite shop in the world). Re icing your cake - I always make my own almond paste (aka marzipan) and do it about a week-10 days before Christmas and leave it covered lightly. I then ice it a couple of days before Christmas - I also add a drop of glycerine to the royal icing so that it sets but doesn't break your teeth.... Happy Christmas - if a bit early..... Hazel

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