Simnel Cake Easter Recipe
Simnel cake is a fruitcake widely eaten at Easter. It is distinguished by layers of almond paste or marzipan, typically one in the middle and one on top, and a set of eleven balls positioned on top.
Our Head Pastry Chef Jacqui Francis has shared her trusty Simnel cake recipe for you to try at home.
Cooking time: 2 hours 30 minutes
200g caster sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
50g toasted flaked almonds
100g glace cherry
50g candied peel
1 orange zest
1 lemon zest
1 tbsp apricot jam
Icing sugar for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 150° and line a deep 20cm round cake tin with baking paper
2. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and butter, then add the eggs one by one, beating after each addition. Fold in the flour and mixed spice until the mixture is fully combined
3. Mix in the nut, dried fruit and zest, so that the fruits and nuts are evenly distributed through the batter, and set the bowl to one side
4. Lightly dust your work surface with icing sugar and roll out a third of the marzipan to create a circle - slightly smaller than the cake tin
5. Spoon half of the cake mixture into the cake tin then place the marzipan circle on top. Cover with the remaining mixture and transfer to the oven to bake for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. To check the cake is cooked insert a metal skewer into the cake, it should come out clean
6. After this time, allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool on a wire rack
7. Roll out half of the remaining marzipan on a dusted surface into a circle, trimming around the cake tin to give you a neat edge. Brush the top of the cake with the apricot jam and stick the marzipan on top. Roll the remaining marzipan into 11 small balls and arrange around the edge of the cake
8. Use a blowtorch to gently scorch the top of each ball and the middle of the cake to create the finishing effect. Alternatively, if you do not have a blowtorch, preheat the grill to high and place the cake under the grill for a few seconds until the top of the marzipan is lightly golden - be careful as it can burn very quickly.