At Easter I like to make a Simnel Cake, as I think that the shop bought ones are so expensive and bland. You can even make your own Marzipan if you are feeling extra keen. – I normally do, but for ease purchased a pack of ready made marzipan this year.
for the cake:
- 110 g Butter
- 110 g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
- 3 free range Eggs, beaten
- 150 g Plain Flour
- pinch of Salt
- 1/2 tsp Ground Mixed Spice
- 350 g Mixed Raisins, Currants and Sultanas
- 55 g Mixed Peel
- 1/2 Lemon, grated zest only
- 1-2 tbsp Apricot Jam
for the Marzipan
- 125 g Caster Sugar
- 125 g Ground Almonds
- 1 free range Egg, beaten
- 1/2 tsp Almond Essence
- Place the sugar and ground almonds in a bowl.
- Add enough beaten egg to achieve a fairly soft consistency.
- Add the almond essence and knead until paste is smooth and pliable.
- Roll out a third of the paste to make a circle 18cm (7″) diameter, reserve the rest for the top and to make the marzipan balls.
- Preheat oven to 140°C/275°F.
- Grease and line an 18cm (7″) round cake tin.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy
- Gradually beat in the eggs until well mixed, and then sift in the flour, salt and mixed spice.
- Add dried fruit, lemon zest and mixed peel, and mix well.
- Put half the mixture into the cake tin, smooth the top and cover with the circle of marzipan.
- Add the rest of the mixture and smooth the top, leaving a slight dip in the centre to allow for rising, so you end up with a level top. Bake for 1½ hours, then remove from oven to cool.
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Brush top of cake with the apricot jam.
- Divide the remaining marzipan into two. Roll out a circle to cover the top of the cake and make eleven balls with the other half. Place the circle on top, then place the balls around the edge.
- Put in the oven for approx. 10 minutes or long enough for the marzipan to brown.
Cream the butter and sugar
Butter and sugar creamed
Gradually beat in the eggs
Sift in flour, salt and mixed spice
Add dried fruit
Put half mixture in tin
Cover with marzipan
Add rest of mixture