EASTER SIMNEL CAKE has been eaten since medieval times as both a rich, sweet treat and a symbolic ritual. The fruit cake is topped with eleven marzipan balls to represent the eleven apostles of Christ, minus Judas. Packed with fruit, spices and marzipan, try making your own version of this classic Easter recipe.
- 110g Butter
- 3 Eggs (beaten)
- 110g Soft brown sugar
- 150g Cake flour
- Pinch of salt
- 350g Mixed raisins, currants and sultanas
- 55g Chopped mixed peel
- Half a lemon rind (grated)
- 2 Tablespoons of apricot jam
- Half a teaspoon of ground mixed spice
- Marzipan paste (Bought or homemade)
- Ingredients For The Marzipan Paste
- 125g Caster sugar
- 125g Ground almonds
- 1 Egg (beaten)
- Half a teaspoon of almond essence
Method For Making The Cake
PRE-HEAT the oven to 140ºC. Grease and line an 18cm tin. Combine the butter, eggs and sugar and beat until pale and fluffy. Mix in the flour, salt and the mixed spice. Add the fruit mix, lemon rind and mixed peel. Spoon half of the batter into a greased cake tin and smooth down. Cover with a layer of the marzipan and add the remaining cake mixture and smooth the top. Place in the oven for one hour and thirty minutes. Remove from the oven, put to one side and let it cool down. Now make your marzipan paste.
Method For Making the Marzipan Paste
PLACE the sugar and ground almonds in a bowl and add enough beaten egg to give the mixture a fairly soft consistency. Add the almond essence and knead until it becomes smooth and pliable.
For a traditional Simnel cake, make 11 small marzipan balls to place on the cake. Crumble the remaining marzipan mixture on the top of the cake and brush with apricot jam. Place the balls around the cake as in the picture.
Now turn the oven to 180ºC. Place the cake back into the oven for about 10 minutes and bake further until the marzipan is brown. Remove, let it cool down completely and serve.
Home-made Marzipan (Almond Paste):
125g Caster sugar
125g Ground almonds
1 Egg (beaten)
Half a teaspoon of almond essence