Most of us are familiar with making models using sugar or modelling paste, but why not try a different medium in the form of marzipan?
Marzipan definitely comes into its own around Christmas time when we make our traditional Christmas cakes so what better way to enhance your Christmas cake this year than with some festive marzipan models! The children are sure love them, and could even get involved by having a go at making them themselves.
A good marzipan includes a minimum of 23.5% almond content, giving a great taste and a good smooth consistency. This is important when using it for modelling purposes. Renshaw marzipans are excellent for modelling, and they even now supply a range ready coloured for convenience!
Basically, all the rules you follow with sugar paste modelling apply to marzipan modelling too:
Use at room temperature (may be microwaved for a few seconds to soften if hard)
Keep covered whilst using to prevent it crusting over
Colours may be kneaded in and/or dusted on top
Use icing sugar to prevent sticking, or if it dries out, knead in a little white vegetable fat
Simple models will stick without the use of glue
Basic shapes for modelling are the ball, cone and sausage shapes, from which the majority of figures or animals can be created! It is important that the marzipan is kneaded well to eliminate any cracks before starting.
Use a glaze on the finished item to give a professional looking finish
Idea: Mix with chocolate modelling paste (Cocoform) 50:50 for a delicious tasting chocolate marzipan!
Marzipan is available in two colours – white and yellow. The white is generally better for cake decorating purposes as it is easier to colour accurately. Indeed when icing a cake over a marzipan coating, if white marzipan is used, there is no chance of the colour ‘bleeding ’through to the surface.
To colour these models and fruits I used the brand new range of highly concentrated Colour Splash Gel Food Colours. They come in a easy-to-use plastic squeezy tube with 29 different bright and pastel colours (shown on the outside of each tube for easy identification!) available to choose from, and are perfect for adding to any sugar pastes, marzipan, royal icing, buttercream and isomalts.
The marzipan fruits are simple to create – just use a ‘walnut’ size piece for each fruit, colour with Colour Splash gel, shape and add a stalk if wished before dusting, if necessary, with some Colour Splash food colouring powder. Add to your cake or cupcakes as toppers, or pop into mini foil sweet cases inside a gold box to give as the perfect Christmas gift!
Here are a few ideas for simple models that your children could create:
The Shepherd is made from a basic T shape. The lamb is a sausage shape with narrowed ends
The Christmas tree is the simplest way to create a tree, by forming a cone shape, and snipping with scissors. For the Snowman, add some white food colour first and create from two balls. Add a scarf and facial features.
For the Christmas Pudding, mix marzipan with modelling chocolate, make a ball shape, add markings for the fruit, and ‘custard’ on top!
Marzipan is also brilliant for use in moulds to create edible decorations quickly and easily. We have a fantastic range of Christmas moulds available including bells, reindeer, holly and baubles.