Eggcellent Easter Simnel Cake
Nothing beats a traditional Simnel cake at Easter, and this deliciously moist cake baked by our lovely cake baker Fran from Expresso Kitchen would make a fantastic centrepiece on your Easter table.
Simnel cake has been eaten since medieval times as both a rich, sweet treat and a symbolic ritual. The fruit cake is topped with eleven marzipan balls to represent the eleven apostles of Christ, minus Judas.
Ingredients – Makes One Eight-Inch Simnel Cake
- 80 grams Glacé cherries
- 225 grams Butter, softened
- 225 grams Light muscovado sugar
- Four large Eggs
- 225 grams Self-raising flour
- 320 grams Sultanas and / or Currants
- 55 grams Chopped candied peel
- Two lemons, zest only
- Two tablespoons ground mixed spice
- One tablespoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 150°C (or 130°C in a fan-assisted oven) / 280°F / Gas mark two.
- Grease and line a 20 cm /eight-inch cake tin.
- Cut the cherries into quarters.
- Place the cherries in a bowl with the butter, sugar, eggs, self-raising flour, sultanas, currants, candied peel, lemon zest and mixed spice, beat well until thoroughly mixed. Make sure all the butter is fully incorporated.
- Pour half the mixture into the prepared tin.
- Take a third of the marzipan and roll it out to a circle the size of the tin, and place on top of the cake mixture spooning the remaining cake mixture on top. Level the mixture with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for about two and a half hours, or until well risen, evenly brown and firm to the touch. If after an hour the top of your cake is browning too quickly cover with aluminium foil.
- Once cooked remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning out. Peel off the parchment and leave to finish cooling on a wire rack.
- When the cake is cool, warm the apricot jam in a saucepan on a low heat and brush the top of the cake; the apricot jam acts as a glue that makes sure the marzipan stays put on top of the cake.
- Roll out half the remaining marzipan to fit the top of the cake (tip, use the circular baking tin as a guide for the size and shape that you need to roll out and cut).
- Press the marzipan into place on the top of the cake.
- With the remaining marzipan roll into 11 balls.
- Brush the marzipan with beaten egg and arrange the marzipan balls around the edge of the cake. Brush the tops of the balls with beaten egg and then carefully place the cake under a hot grill until the top is lightly toasted brown.
Hints and Tips
We’ve added a couple of drops of food colouring to our marzipan to make it yellow, but you can leave yours natural if you prefer!