Easy vanilla marzipan

Easy vanilla marzipan

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(12 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins


Covers a 20cm/8in cake
It's worth having a go at making your own marzipan to cover your Christmas cake - and you can experiment with adding different flavours

Nutrition and extra info


  • kcal-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-
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  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 280g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for kneading and rolling out
  • 450g ground almond
  • seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 eggs, beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • ½ tsp orange or lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam, warmed then sieved


  1. Mix the sugars and almonds in a large bowl, then rub in the vanilla seeds until even. Make a well in the middle, then tip in the eggs and citrus juice. Cut the wet ingredients into the dry with a cutlery knife. Dust the surface with icing sugar, then knead the marzipan briefly with your hands to a smooth dough. Don’t overdo it as the paste can get greasy. Add a bit more icing sugar if it seems too wet. Shape into a ball, then wrap and keep in a cool place until ready to cover the cake. Can be made up to 2 days in advance.

  2. Lift the cake onto a cake board or plate, then use a pastry brush to cover evenly with a thin layer of jam. Dust the work surface with more icing sugar, then roll the marzipan into a circle about 40cm across, dusting underneath the marzipan with more icing sugar and turning it a quarter turn after every few pushes of the rolling pin.

  3. Flip the top of the circle back over your rolling pin so you can see the underside of the marzipan, then lift the pin up and lift the marzipan over the cake. Stop once you can see that the edge of the marzipan nearest you is about level with the bottom of the cake. Flop the front of the marzipan down. Smooth the paste over the cake using the palms of your hands, then trim with a sharp knife. If any cracks appear, simply pinch the paste back together and smooth. Leave to dry for at least 24 hrs, or up to 3 days, before covering with icing.

  4. How long does homemade marzipan keep? Although homemade marzipan contains raw eggs, the amount of sugar, and lack of moisture, prevents bacteria growing when left at room temperature, so your cake should last for 1-2 months iced. The most important thing is that you don't scrimp on drying time – once you’ve covered your cake in marzipan it should be left to completely dry out, before you then cover it with icing. If you want to make marzipan before you are ready to cover your cake, then wrap it well in cling film and keep in a fridge for up to a week – as wrapped in a ball it will still contain a little moisture. As it contains raw eggs it shouldn’t be given to anyone in an at-risk group, including pregnant women, the elderly, the unwell and the very young. You can make a cooked marzipan, which carries no risks. It is a little softer, and harder to work with, but a good substitute if you are at all worried.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Gwyn E.H's picture
Gwyn E.H
21st Oct, 2015
Hi! If you find that the above recipe doesn't have much taste. You can certainly add up to half a teaspoon of almond extract. I do on a regular basis. By the way, I really don't like vanilla in my marzipan, if you're the same, you can just leave it out, without it affecting the resulting marzipan. But do remember to add some extra almond extract. If you'd like to make marzipan using different types of nuts, have a look at the TIPS section for the above recipe.
18th Dec, 2010
I use this receipe every year when making the sherry & almond cake. I disagree that there is too much. By the way 0.5tsp is half a teaspoon. I use vanilla bean paste which has a more deep taste. Much better than the bright orange shop bought stuff.
27th Dec, 2008
This was really easy to make but a) did indeed make way too much for your average Christmas cake and b) didn't have much of a vanilla taste to it. Having said that it had just the right texture, and its mild flavour really complemented the Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake. If I make it again, I think I might trying adding some grated citrus peel.
24th Dec, 2008
good marzipan with the proper nutty texture, but be wary of your quantities, I managed to cover two 9in cakes with this one recipe.
15th Dec, 2008
lovely lovely recipe. this is the first time in over thirty years of making my own christmas cake that I have made the marzipan and I am so glad I did. it is soft, scrumptious and so much better than shop bought. I shall make this recipe year after year. thanks! Polly
19th Nov, 2008
Is it supposed to be 0.5 tsp orange/lemon juice, or 5 tsp?
23rd Oct, 2008
How do the fresh eggs keep with this recipe? How long can the cake be kept for?


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