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Royal Icing and Almond paste

Preparation time 1 hour,
Covers 1 cake,
Total calories 8650

ingredients

450 g (1 lb) ground almonds
225 g (8 oz) icing sugar
225 g (8 oz) caster sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond essence
2 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons apricot jam, sieved

for the royal icing

4 egg whites
1 kg (2 lb) icing sugar, sifted twice
2 teaspoons glycerine
a few drops of rose water

method

1. For the almond paste, mix the dry ingredients. Add the lemon juice, almond essence and enough egg to make a stiff, pliable dough. Knead briefly until smooth.

2. Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam. Roll out a third of the paste large enough to cover the cake top.

3. Lift it on top of the cake, trim the edges. Smooth the top and edges evenly with fingertips. Roll the remaining paste into a strip the width of the side of the cake and long enough to go round the cake.

4. Brush the sides of the cake with jam, then place the almond paste round the cake, smoothing on to the sides. Smooth all edges and joins. Leave for 1 - 2 weeks.

5. Lightly whisk the egg whites, then gradually beat in the icing sugar. Beat in the glycerine and rose water to make a smooth thick icing. Spread thickly over the sides of the cake and fork into peaks.

Cook's Tip
To decorate as in the picture, spread the sides with three-quarters of the icing, forking it up and making the top edge higher. Dry overnight. Keep the remaining icing in an airtight container. Thin it by adding water, drop by drop, so that it will only just pour. Spoon this icing on top, teasing it up to the peaked edges with the point of a knife to make a smooth top. Decorate when dry.

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