Marzipan 101 - What is Marzipan? Uses of Marzipan.
Marzipan is very versatile and underused because most people don't know the many uses of Marzipan. Made with almonds this delicious sweet paste is candy on its own but also used as an ingredient in many different ways. In this Marzipan 101 - I share with you the basic & more.
I really enjoy marzipan and it's because I've been around Marzipan since a kid. My mom and god-mom made it in buckets. She would make small cute fruits with it and sells them as Marzipan Sweet during Christmas. I remember she'd have to pay for extra help during Christmas time just so she could complete her orders in time.
The fruits would be simple elegant little tasty bites. Apples, mango, pineapple, banana, grapes. In fact, she would make us, little ones, roll out small balls of marzipan for the grapes. As a kid, I've eaten loads of marzipan. I will make you some Marzipan fruits one of these days. In fact, maybe I'll make you a tutorial.
Mom would have different types of marzipan,
- The traditional Almond Marzipan was made with almond meal.
- Cashew Marzipan was for those that did not like almonds
- Hazelnut Marzipan - was the most expensive cause those are very expensive back home.
- Of course, there's chocolate marzipan
- and then she'd flavor them differently too. Pineapple would have pineapple flavor, Grape would have grape extract, etc.
I could go on and on about mom and her wonderful kitchen joys. I happen to see this image recently on Canva and I had to share it with you. Marzipan fruits sold like this is what I know as Christmas Marzipan.
So let's start with our Marzipan 101 for today.
The basic marzipan recipes
What is Marzipan?
Marzipan & Almond Paste - is a dough made from ground almonds, sugar, egg whites, and flavorings. There is a cooked and uncooked method and loads of different uses.
Known as Marzipan in the US and Almond paste in the UK. Quite often the difference is the ratio of Almonds: Sugar used in the two.
Marzipan and Almond past though have similar ingredients they are both different creatures.
- Marzipan is sweet and smooth. Made with finely ground Almonds. It is often eaten on its own. It can be dyed with edible food colors, put into molds and make great gifts.
- Almond Paste is much coarser and is used mostly as fillings for baked goods such as Marzipan Croissants.
Is Marzipan different from the fondant?
- Marzipan is much denser than fondant.
- It doesn’t stretch like fondant. It can be crumbly and breaks up easily.
- Taste better than fondant but is sticky and not very smooth.
- It gets it’s color from the nuts so it is not white but a pale ivory.
- You can color Marzipan but the shades are not as bright as with fondant.
- Since it’s made with nuts – over kneading when trying to color it, can cause the release of nut oils making it more difficult to work.
- Marzipan deeds to be handled gently while fondant can endure some heavy kneading
- Never use cornflour to roll or work with your marzipan. Corn flour can cause marzipan to develop molds. Always use powder sugar only.
How to cover a cake with Marzipan and fondant?
Here you can see I have covered a fruitcake with marzipan, then fondant. I made this cake for a customers mom's 85th Birthday celebration.
- I brushed the fruitcake with apricot jam
- Then, I cut a disc of marzipan for the top of the cake.
- Next, I rolled a long strip of marzipan for the sides of the cake - cut off excess at the top
- I then brushed the marzipan with a light smear of apricot jam again
- Rolled my orange fondant and draped it over the cake.
- Continue with the rest of the design as I have with roses and swags etc.
What are the many uses of Marzipan?
There are many different ways to use marzipan from simply covering a fruitcake to marzipan fruits and truffles.
- Fruit Cakes --- Traditionally fruit cakes are covered in Marzipan and Royal Icing.
Brush a fruit cake with Apricot jam, roll some marzipan and cover the cake with marzipan. Then cover the cake with Sugar paste or Royal Icing. I've shared the detailed process above.
- Top a Carrot cake with a layer of Marzipan. The nutty marzipan and carrots make a great combination.
- Marzipan Layered cake – Roll and cut out a disc of marzipan the same size as your cake. Layer the Marzipan between two cake layers Decorate the cake with Whipped cream & strawberries or cherries
- Make tasty cake decorations such as flowers and fruits for cakes. Just color marzipan, roll and cut out the shapes. Cup the center of the flowers and place them on a cake. You can make roses similar to how we make chocolate roses but using marzipan.
- Make simple figures and models for your cakes. Human figures that don’t need support, such as a sitting boy, animal shapes. You would rather eat a delicious marzipan figure than a sugar paste figure.
- You can use Marzipan as a filing In puff pastry and croissants. Place a dollop of marzipan as the filling, bake at 200 C/400 F for 15 to 20 minutes or golden brown.
- Make Marzipan truffles – Marzipan and chocolate are a great combination. I have a few marzipan truffle recipes (linked below)
Roll marzipan balls, dip them in melted chocolate.
- Don’t’ Like Almond? – Substitute the almonds in the marzipan recipe with your favorite nuts such as Cashews, Pecans or even Macadamia. Chocolate Marzipan -substitute some powder sugar with cocoa powder making chocolate marzipan.
- The German traditional cake Stollen uses marzipan baked inside the cake.
Tips to remember when working with Marzipan or Almond Paste
- I said this above but I'm going to say it again - Marzipan hates cornstarch!! so any contact with cornstarch will cause marzipan to develop mold. In fact, you have to be very careful when covering a fruit cake with marzipan - any cornstarch on the rolling pin can prove fatal to your fruitcake.
- Just like sugar paste or fondant, you must keep marzipan well wrapped at all times. It dries out easily. And because it's made with nuts it's dried version becomes quite brittle.
- Marzipan should be stored in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight.
- If you ever have dried marzipan don't throw it away. Save it in the freezer- the next time you make streusel add it to the streusel.
Does Marzipan have to be with Almonds?
Personally I am not a big fan of Almond's, I love Cashews, Macadamia, Hazelnuts, and Pecans, So often I will pick a nut and make a variation to the original recipe. Basically use the same egg-less version but make it with a different nut. Sometimes a mixture of nuts!! Oh, it's delicious. They don't always have the same color obviously but they taste different from each other and that's what makes me love it more.
Homemade Marzipan Recipe - 5 Mins
Homemade Marzipan Reicpe
Homemade Cooked Marzipan Recipe
Homemade Chocolate Marzipan Recipe
Homemade Marzipan Truffles
Chocolate Marzipan Truffles - Chocolate Truffles
Pecan Marzipan Truffles aka Chocolate Pecan Truffles
Chocolate Marzipan Squares
Homemade Marzipan Easter Eggs - Almond and Chocolate Marzipan Eggs
Frequently asked questions
If stored properly marzipan has a long shelflife of six months. Because the sugar content in marzipan is so high it can be kept at room temperature without refrigeration.
The traditional marzipan does include raw egg whites not the yolks so there is no risk of salmonella. So unless you are allergic to eggs you can eat raw marzipan. Having said that all my recipes substitute the raw egg with sugar syrup or water so you can eat all my marzipan recipes raw.
When kept for long in very dry conditions sometimes marzipan can get hard. Similar to fondant just place it in the microwave of 10 seconds. Gently knead it to soften it.
Yes, if you want a marzipan flavored fondant. However, if you are using homemade marzipan, make sure the marzipan is smooth, not coarse consistency.
Traditional fruitcake is covered with marzipan a week before you ice it with royal icing so that the marzipan dries out. Just cover the marzipan covered cake with a clean cloth like cheesecloth and place it in an airtight container.
Almond extract and vanilla are the most commonly used. Rose extract or orange blossom is also very widely used. Having said that, cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices like allspice and ginger are also often wonderful.
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