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Chocolate Simnel Cake

Try this alternative Easter simnel cake if you are a chocolate lover or simply less keen on spices. In common with simnel cake tradition this chocolate simnel cake has a marzipan layer baked into the middle and 11 marzipan balls decorating the top that are said to represent the true disciples of Jesus.

Free from Soya


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  1. Line a 20cm/8" round deep, loose bottom cake tin with parchment.
  2. Sieve the icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of cocoa into a bowl, add the almonds and coffee and knead into a ball of almond paste.
  3. Divide the paste into three and roll one piece into a circle just larger than the cake tin. Place the tin on top and cut around the outside to make a perfect circle of marzipan. Cover and set aside all the almond paste.
  4. Pre-heat the oven.
  5. Sieve the flour and one tablespoon spoon of cocoa into a bowl.
  6. Put the butter and sugar into another bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.
  7. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  8. Beat in the prepared flour.
  9. Stir in the currants and chocolate chips.
  10. Tip half the mixture into the prepared tin.
  11. Place the prepared almond paste circle on top.
  12. Put the remaining cake mixture onto the paste and smooth the surface.
  13. Bake for 1½-1¾ hours. Keep an eye on the cake and if the top looks very brown cover it loosely with a piece of parchment. When a cocktail stick pressed into the centre of the cake comes out clean, it is cooked.
  14. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.


  1. Divide one piece of reserved almond paste into 11 pieces and roll each into a small ball.
  2. Roll the last piece of paste into a circle just larger than the cake tin. Place the tin on top and cut around the outside to make a perfect circle of almond paste.
  3. Brush the top of the cold cake with warm apricot jam.
  4. Place the almond paste circle on top.
  5. Brush the base of each marzipan ball with a little warm jam and place them in a circle on the top of the cake.
  6. Place the cake under a hot grill or use a blow torch to lightly brown the marzipan.
  7. Decorate the cake with a ribbon.


20cm/8" round deep, loose bottom cake tin, ribbon


150°C, Fan 130°C, 300°F, Gas 2

Cooking time

1½-1¾ hours

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