As usual there are two ways to skin a cat. I am going to cover my cake with sugarpaste so I will marzipan the cake in one layer. If, however, you are going to royal ice your cake after marzipaning it, you will need to do something different to ensure that the cake has sharp edges, so follow steps for preparing the cake and then skip to the bottom.
To cover a circular cake with marzipan, to be followed by sugarpaste.
I have an 8" circular cake, so I will use about about 800g marzipan.
If your cake has domed slightly during baking or if the edges of the fruit that has caught a little during baking, use a serrated knife to trim off the top of the cake.
Start to plug the little gaps between the cake and the greaseproof paper with some marzipan.
Knead your marzipan to make it pliable. Roll the marzipan out into a circular shape, you want it to be big enough to cover the top of the cake and the sides. You can use a little icing sugar to stop it sticking.
Start smoothing down the top first. Then you can start easing down the sides, by lifting and shaping with your hand cupped.
If you have a smoother you can use this to smooth in the sides of the marzipan, otherwise continue using a cupped hand.
You will hopefully end up with a nice smooth marzipan coating. If you don't, it doesn't matter as it will be covered with icing anyway!
Leave to dry for a couple of days before adding the sugarpaste layer.
To cover a cake with marzipan before adding royal icing.
Follow all the steps above until you reach until you reach the stage where the marzipan is being rolled out. Roll the marzipan out into a circular shape and using the cake tin base as a template (using the tin which you baked your cake in, of course!) cut a circular shape out. This will be the top of the cake.
Re-roll the remaindering the marzipan out into a long rectangular shape. You will need to measure the circumference of your cake, you can do this with a piece of thread. Ensure that your piece of marzipan is the same length as the circumference.
Brush the cake with warmed smooth apricot jam. Put the circular piece of marzipan in place and then wrap the side with the long rectangular shape. Smooth the seams a little.
Leave to dry of a couple of days before icing.
Thanks to Chub for photography today. He was paid in marzipan scraps. He also loves marzipan. See, we're a match made in heaven.