About this recipe:
Simnel cakes are traditionally made to eat at Easter. A distinctive characteristic of this spicy fruit cake is the almond marzipan layer baked into the middle of the cake. The 11 marzipan balls that decorate the top are said to represent the true disciples of Jesus.
20cm/8″ round deep, loose bottom cake tin, rolling pin and 2 x mixing bowls
200g icing sugar
200g ground almonds
4 tbsp lemon juice
icing sugar, for dusting
200g Doves Farm Organic Self Raising White Flour
½ tsp grated nutmeg
½ tsp ground cinnamon
150g light brown sugar
100g mixed glacé peel
butter, for tin
SIMNEL CAKE TOPPING
2 tsp apricot jam, warmed
170°C, Fan 150°C, 325°F, Gas 3
- Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl, add the ground almonds and stir to combine.
- Add the lemon juice and stir until it starts to clump together. Using your hands, gather everything together and knead it into a soft ball of marzipan paste.
- Dust the work surface with a little icing sugar, take one third of the paste and roll into a circle just larger than the cake tin. Place the tin on top of the paste circle and cut around the outside to make a perfect circle of marzipan. Gather up the excess marzipan and return it to the marzipan ball. Cover all the marzipan and set aside for later.
- Pre-heat the oven.
- Rub butter around the inside of a 20cm/8″ round deep, loose bottom, cake tin or insert a baking liner.
- Measure the flour, nutmeg and cinnamon into a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Chop the butter into small cubes.
- Put the butter cubes and sugar into a mixing bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time.
- Add the prepared flour and stir until mixed.
- Stir in the currants and glacé peel.
- Tip half the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
- Take the prepared marzipan paste circle and place it on the cake mixture.
- Spoon the remaining cake mixture onto the paste and smooth the surface.
- Bake for 1½-1¾ hours. When a cocktail stick pressed into the centre of the cake comes out clean, it is cooked.
- Allow to cool in the tin for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
Simnel Cake Topping
- Take one third of the reserved marzipan, divide it into 11 pieces and roll each into a small ball.
- Roll the remaining marzipan 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.
- Brush the top of the cold cake with half of the warm apricot jam.
- Place the marzipan circle on top.
- Brush the base of each marzipan ball with a dab of jam and place them in a circle on top of the cake.
- Place the cake under a hot grill for 1-2 minutes to lightly brown the marzipan. Or use a blow torch.
- Wrap and store the cake in a airtight tin.