Recipe 89: Easter Simnel Cake

20140418_222824Obviously Easter has been and gone and is a distant memory now, but because it has been such long time since I blogged a recipe, I thought it would be a good idea to get on with it! I have missed baking my way through the Baking Bible, so I had to start back from the archive…

I personally didn’t try the simnel cake as I gave it as a present for a family gathering. However, the comments I received were encouraging, and as far as I know, it was loved by all! It doesn’t need huge amounts of decoration as it looks fairly impressive on its own.

Easy to make, easy to decorate, easy to eat…what more could you wish for?

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 100g red or natural glacé cherries
  • 225g butter, softened
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 225g sultanas
  • 100g currants
  • 50g chopped candied peel
  • Grated rind of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice

For the filling and topping:

  • 450g almond paste/marzipan
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam
  • 1 large egg, beaten, to glaze

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/ Fan 130C/ Gas mark 2. Grease an 8″ round deep cake tin and line the base and sides with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the cherries into quarters, put in a sieve and rinse under running water. Drain well then dry thoroughly on kitchen paper, (you could toss the cherries in flour, as you are taking the steps to prevent them sinking).20140418_185529
  3. Add all of the cake ingredients to a large mixing bowl and beat well until thoroughly combined. Place half the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
  4. Take 1/3 of the marzipan and roll it out. Using the tin as a guide, cut around it so you have the perfect shape and size, then place on top of the cake mixture; spoon in the remaining cake mix on top of the marzipan and level the surface.20140418_185954
  5. Bake in the oven for 2.5 – 3hrs until well risen, evenly brown and firm to the touch. If the top of the cake is beginning to darken too quickly, cover with foil to avoid burning and ruining it. Leave to cool in the tin for approx. 10 mins+ then turn out, peel off the parchment and leave to finish cooling on a wire rack.20140418_220518
  6. When the cake is fully cool, brush the top with a little of the warmed apricot jam. Then, roll out half of the remaining marzipan, again, using the tin as a guide. Press firmly on the top and crimp the edges to decorate. Make a criss cross pattern on the marzipan with a sharp knife (be careful not to cut too deep!). Form the remaining marzipan into 11 balls.20140418_221516
  7. Brush the marzipan with the beaten egg and arrange the marzipan balls around the edge of the cake. Brush them with the egg, then place the cake under a hot grill to turn the almond paste golden. Adorn with a ribbon, and you’re good to go!20140418_222101
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