Recipe: Simnel Cake

Simnel Cake

Simnel Cake

Simnel Cake

Simnel Cake

… complete with 11 marzipan disciples, less Judas. I love fruit cake and get very excited in December when there is christmas cake galore. I was therefore thrilled to hear that Easter brings a similar delight – simnel cake, which is very similar to christmas cake with currants and raisins and brandy and marzipan (which I had to hide to stop my brother and mum from eating!)
Simnel Cake was originally made for the middle sunday of Lent, which is Mothering Sunday, on which day the 40 day fast would be relaxed.


For the cake:

500g marzipan

250g plain flour

300g mixed dried fruit

50g candied peel, chopped

1/2tsp baking powder

2tsp mixed spice

175g butter

175g soft light brown sugar

zest 1 lemon

3 large eggs

50g ground almonds

2tbsp full fat milk

2tbsp brandy

to decorate:

2tbsp apricot jam

1 egg, beaten


(preheat the over to 160*c and grease a 7inch round cake tin and line with parchment paper)

– take a third of the marzipan and roll into a circle slightly smaller than the cake tin (place on a sheet of cling film and set aside

– coat the mixed fruit and peel with 1tbsp flour, ensuring that it is evenly dusted to prevent it from sticking together

– sift together the remaining flour, baking powder and mixed spice

– cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until pale and creamy

– beat in the eggs one at a time

– fold in the almonds and flour mixture with a metal spoon and then stir in the fruit

– finally, add the milk and brandy

– spoon half the mixture into the cake tin, spread evenly and then gently place the rolled out circle of marzipan on top

– spoon the rest of the mixture on top and spread out evenly, making a slight dip in the centre so that the cake rises evenly

– bake for 30mins at 160* and then reduce the temperature to 140* and bake for a further hour until browned and cooked through – to check if cooked, insert a clean knife into the centre of the cake and if it comes out clean, the cake is ready (in this case, be careful not to insert the knife in too far or it will hit the marzipan layer and come out gooey every time!)

– leave the cake in the tin for 15mins to allow the marzipan in the centre to cool and set – if you remove the cake from the tin straight away, the sides will collapse

– after 15mins, remove the cake from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool

– to decorate, roll out a third of the remaining marzipan into a circle 5mm wider than the cake

– brush the cooled cake with apricot jam and press the marzipan firmly, but gently on the top

– pinch the edge of the marzipan all the way around to create a crimped effect, then score in a diamond pattern with a sharp knife

– roll the remaining marzipan into 11 balls and place at equal distance apart around the edge of the cake

– brush the marzipan with egg and place until a grill for 2 minutes to glaze and brown slightly

– allow to cool before serving

Simnel Cake

Simnel Cake

Simnel Cake

Simnel Cake

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Easter Breads and Cakes from around the Globe | Dine&Discover

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