This Twining Vine rolling pin is a beautiful implement that is a replica of a pin circa 1550. It is hard to know precisely the original intention the carver had in mind for this lovely tool, but it seems likely that it was meant for decorative confections of fondant and marzipan to embellish cakes. I have used it for fondant placed around the side of a cake and for marzipan placed on the top of a long narrow cake. And too, I have used it for gingerbread tile cookies that I first saw in cookbook “Tartine” by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson, a collection of recipes from the San Francisco bakery of the same name.
But until now, I have not recorded either process. So, here is a step by step instruction for making a very impressive cake with a marzipan topper made with this rolling pin. This post has instructions for a white cake with raspberry jam filling, but there are so many possibilities. A spice or pumpkin cake with no filling. A white cake with lemon filling. A quick bread brown sugar loaf studded with chopped almonds and topped with decorative marzipan. You will think of some other flavor combinations that you like!
Select a rectangular plate to use, so that the cake can be cut into the correct size. Bake a sheet cake or 9 x 13 inch cake. Consider the plate that you have; if your plate is longer, go the sheet cake route. If you want thicker layers, make a 9 x13 inch cake; thinner layers, make a sheet cake. I baked a 9 x 13 inch white cake and added almond oil to complement the marzipan topper that will be added. I cut the cooled cake into two pieces an inch shorter (11 inches for the shown cake) than the length of the plate (just the flat surface part of the plate) and the width of the rolling pin design.
Spoon some seedless raspberry jam into a microwave safe dish and heat just until warm to make the jam more spreadable. If you are going to transport the cake you may anchor the cake to the plate with a few dabs of frosting. Place one cake layer onto the plate and spread the warm jam on that layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the jam. (You could also use any seedless jam of your choice, lemon curd or chocolate filling in between these layers.)
You will need one can of marzipan (11 oz. and there will be almost none left) or 2 tubes which are usually 8 oz. each. You will need a flat rolling pin, confectioner’s sugar and a pastry brush. It is a bit easier to work with extra marzipan, so you may want to get more. (If you have leftover marzipan, cut it into small pieces and add to brownie batter to make delicious marzipan brownies or get out some small cookies molds and form some marzipan confections. You could also let the kids make marzipan animals!)
Knead the marzipan into a smooth rectangular mass. Brush the Twining Vine rolling pin generously with confectioner’s sugar. Also brush the work surface and the flat rolling pin with confectioner’s sugar. Roll out the marzipan into a half inch thick strip wide enough for the width of the rolling pin and 2 to 3 inches longer the the strips of cake you cut. Roll the prepared Twining Vine rolling pin down the length of the marzipan with steady pressure and don’t stop rolling once you start. A continuous roll will help ensure that the pressure is more consistent.
Cut a straight edge at one end of the printed marzipan and along the sides. Use a ruler and cut the other end so that the marzipan is the same size as your cake layers. Brush the top of the cake layer with corn syrup; the corn syrup will serve as glue to adhere the marzipan. Place the marzipan strip on top of the cake. If there is some confectioner’s sugar that has not absorbed into the marzipan, brush the powdery areas with a slightly wet pastry brush. To transport cake, place a few toothpicks through all layers to keep them in place. If you wish, you may add some fresh or artificial flowers to the cake plate as a finishing touch, as shown in the top photo. Cut the cake slices with a serrated knife.