Simnel Cake is a fruit cake with lots of religious connotations and traditional values too.
Lots of people eat Simnel Cake at Easter time and decorate it with candied flowers or miniature eggs (usually 11 decorations to represent Jesus’ 11 loyal disciples) but it was also made on Mothering Sunday by daughters to prove their baking skills and is sometimes made on the final Sunday of Lent.
This recipe makes one large cake but if you are entertaining your grandchildren and want them to try something a little bit different, you can divide the mixture into muffin cases to make cupcakes and use the marzipan to decorate the top.
- 225 g butter, softened
- 225 g sugar
- 4 eggs
- 225 g plain flour
- 225 g sultanas
- 110 g currants
- 110 g glacé cherries, quartered
- grated zest of 2 oranges grated zest of 2 lemons
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 450 g almond paste
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
- 1 egg, beaten
1. Pre-heat oven to 150°C /gas 2.
2. Place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, sultanas, currants, glace cherries, orange zest, lemon zest and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and beat together until thoroughly blended
3. Place half the mixture in a buttered and lined 20cm deep round cake tin and level the surface.
4. Take one-third of the almond paste and roll it out into a circle the size of the tin. Place it on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the remaining cake mixture over and smooth the surface.
5. Bake the cake for about 2 hours 30 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch. Cover with foil after 1 hour if the top is browning too quickly. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
6. When the cake has cooled, brush the top with the warmed apricot jam and roll out half of the remaining almond paste to fit the top. Press firmly on the top and crimp the edges to decorate.
7. Mark a criss-cross pattern on the almond paste with a sharp knife. Form the remaining almond paste into 11 balls or eggs (to represent the 11 apostles). Arrange the balls around the outside.
8. Preheat the grill. Place the cake under the preheated grill to turn the almond paste golden.