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Simnel Cake

Saturday, 4 April 2015
I don't normally make a Simnel Cake, my husband dislikes fruit cake and marzipan, and my girls have never asked if we could bake one.  A friend asked me to bake one to take on her regular visit to an aged care home as one of the residents mentioned they would really like a piece of Simnel Cake over Easter.  I used my usual fruit cake recipe, spiced slightly differently.

Simnel Cake

175g caster sugar
175g butter
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 2 tsp vanilla extract
225g plain flour
3 medium free range eggs
1 tsp ground mixed spice
500g mixed dried fruit
50g glace cherries, finely chopped
1 or 2 Tblsp milk
250g marzipan

Preheat your oven to 150C/130C Fan.  Grease and double line a 7 inch/18cm cake tin.

Knead the marzipan on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar for a couple of minutes until it softens and is pliable.  Divide the marzipan into three, cut two 18cm/7inch diameter circles then divide the third portion into 11 and roll into small balls.  Cover the prepared marzipan with clingfilm and refrigerate or set aside until needed.  

Next make the cake.  Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, add a tablespoon of flour with each egg, beating well after each addition.  Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and add the dried fruit.  Make sure that the dried fruit is coated in flour.  Gently but thoroughly mix the fruit and flour into the creamed mixture, add the milk if the mixture seems too stiff.

Put half of the mixture into your prepared tin.  Place one 18cm/7inch circle of marzipan on top of the mixture.  Carefully put the rest of the cake mixture into the tin and level the top.

Put the cake into the preheated oven and bake for 2 hours to 2 and a half hours until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin.

Once the cake has cooled preheat your grill to a moderately high heat.  Not maximum heat or the marzipan will burn instead of toast.  Heat some jam in the microwave or a small saucepan until it is runny, I used about 3 tablespoons of jam.  Brush this over the top of the cake then place the marzipan circle on top.  Use a little jam to adhere the 11 balls of marzipan to the marzipan disc.  Place the cake under the grill for a few minutes until the marzipan toasts slightly.  Do keep a close eye on the cake under the grill, it can burn very quickly if not watched carefully.  Once the cake has cooled you can tie a ribbon around the middle if you want.  

My daughters decided to decorate the top marzipan disc by rolling it over a patterned icing mat to make a diamond pattern. This was done before the final grill process.  Once the cake had cooled they decorated it further by putting sugar flowers and micro Easter eggs on top.


  1. My husband loves fruit cake and marzipan so you should send it here if yours doesn't like it! He's been on at me to make one but I've run out of time this year.

    What a lovely idea to make it for the care home residents. I bet they really enjoyed it.

  2. oh I love fruit cake and marzipan, this is a win win for me! Looks so lovely. Happy Easter x

  3. This looks so good. I wish I loved marzipan more so I could eat every crumb!


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