A Simnel cake is a traditional fruit cake baked without raising agent and decorated with marzipan, that is served for Easter around England. I had never had one- let alone baked one- but the prospect sounded good enough to try.
- 175g butter
- 175g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 225g plain flour
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 100g dates (chopped)
- 425g mixed dried fruit (with or without peel)
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 450g marzipan
What to do:
Grease and line a 7″/18cm round cake tin. Cream butter and sugar until pale, beat in the eggs. Add the flour, cinnamon and lemon zest and fold in. Add the fruits and fold in, until the ingredients are well combined. Spoon half of the mixture into the cake tin.
Roll out half of the marzipan into a circle just smaller than the diameter of the cake tin (about 6.5″/17cm). Put this marzipan on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the rest of the mixture on top, and level the surface.
Bake at 150C for about 2.5 hours, until brown and firm to the touch. Cool in the tin and then turn out. Roll out the rest of the marzipan a cut out another circle, just bigger than the diameter of the cake. Spread a little warmed apricot jam over the top of the cake and stick the circle of marzipan on top.
Using the marzipan trimmings, make 11 small balls. Stick these on around the edge of the marzipan, using a dab of warmed apricot jam as ‘glue’. Just before serving add chocolate eggs and Easter chicks on the top of the cake!