Easy vanilla marzipan

Easy vanilla marzipan

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(17 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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27th Dec, 2018
Very easy to make and tastes so much better than shop bought. It’s rather soft and slightly tricky to drape over the cake, but any gaps are easily filled with the leftovers and smoothing in is easy - and doesn’t show under icing! Lifts a Christmas cake to the next level.
20th Dec, 2018
Very easy and makes enough for a large Christmas cake-30cm x 10cm deep approx. If there is any left you can make stolen or freeze it! Sometimes it is sticky but you can put it on jigsaw fashion and gently smooth the joins. Also I always reduce the sugar and add a flavoured liquor to help preserve it. A hundred times better than shop bought!
16th Dec, 2017
This is my first attempt at marzipan and it has worked a treat! The quantity is sufficient to cover an 18cm square cake to a depth of nearly 1cm and the trimmings will taste fab dipped in melted dark chocolate, as suggested by another reviewer. As I do when making pastry, I rolled my marzipan between clingfilm, which meant I needed no extra icing sugar and this made it easy to transfer to the cake (which I turned top down onto the marzipan then used the clingfilm to bring the marzipan up the sides before turning the right way up and trimming). Will definitely by making this again.
15th Dec, 2013
It looks like a large quantity, but in our house there's no such thing as too much marzipan, so that's good! Leftovers can always be dipped in dark chocolate to make petit fours....
11th Dec, 2013
Great recipe and a good quantity for a top and sides of a square 20cm cake
21st Feb, 2012
Great recipe! I had never made marzipan myself before but this really did do the trick for my cake this year. Again, like others have mentioned, there was far too much and ended up having to throw a lot away, which was a shame. The texture was great, although I would have liked a slightly stronger almond taste. I will definitely be using this recipe again in the future, but may alter how much almond I put in.
23rd Dec, 2011
Seems to have come out ok in the end ( haven't eaten it yet) but I found the mixture very dry , it needed a reasonable bit of kneading to get it into shape. Also, this is a lot! I've made 2 Xmas cakes and covered one and I have enough marzipan left over to cover the top of the 2nd.
21st Dec, 2011
Really easy and tastes good(I don't normally like marzipan)
22nd Oct, 2011
i was a little worried about making this as the wife loves marzipan, so i left a little out once i had made it.... she ate the lot 5* no worries will def make again just finnished baking cake so cant wait to use and taste properly. definatly easy never realized how easy marzipan is to make, will never buy again.
20th Dec, 2010
Very easy to make, a nice quantity and a very good texture. Vanilla taste and almond taste are not very strong.


1st Dec, 2016
Hi, I have delayed making my Christmas cake this year due to the fact that I'm currently living in Greece and there is no marzipan available here (not in my neck of the woods at least!!). Almonds are very very expensive to buy to make my own marzipan so I was wondering if I could make it with walnuts which I have abundance of!! Help please!!!! thank you!!
14th Nov, 2015
Hello Can not find caster sugar, can I just grind down white granulated sugar real fine. if not what else can I use. thanks. ceelyon
goodfoodteam's picture
20th Nov, 2015
Yes, grinding granulated to make it finer is better than using all icing sugar for this, as it gives the marzipan a better texture.
Gwyn E.H's picture
Gwyn E.H
21st Oct, 2015
I seriously love marzipan, but as I've mentioned previously; I don't like the taste of vanilla in it. To me marzipan is all about the almond! But I do have a tip for those who don't necessarily like the traditional almond marzipan. You don't have to confine your self to almonds. I've used the above recipe as a guide only. I've substituted other nuts, very successfully. If you're feeling flush, why not use pistachios instead of the almonds. I've been buying raw shelled pistachios, and using my home food mixer, to grind them to a fine texture. I've used the pistachio marzipan to cover my three last Christmas cakes. I like to use royal icing, just in a rough snow effect. It's a wonderful surprise to guests to see a green marzipan instead of the more usual white or yellow kind. With the leftover pistachio 'pan. I've been able to use it to stuff medjool dates. Just slit them down their sides, remove the pit, and stuff as much pistachio 'pan as will fit. They're delicious! I've even made these as a very special gift. I've also been able to use hazel nuts, which makes an outstanding marzipan, especially if you're making anything with chocolate! I have also used walnuts, in the above recipe. But be warned. Walnuts contain a lot of oil, so if you intend on making walnut marzipan, use only half the quantity, and use almonds to make up the difference. This helps to reduce the greasiness of the walnuts. And the flavour of the almonds is so light, it doesn't impair the walnut flavour. This marzipan is so good to use as a covering for a battenburg cake that incorporates coffee as one of the squares. With the leftover walnut marzipan. You can do the same as with the pistachio marzipan. Use it to stuff medjool dates.
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