I’m a big fan of fruit cake and marzipan so Simnel Cake is a dream come true for me. Traditionally an Easter cake it can also be made on Mother’s Day. It is basically a light fruit cake with two layers of marzipan, one in the middle and one on the top. You can buy ready made marzipan or make your own.
If you want to make your own marzipan here is a recipe:
- 250g/9oz caster sugar
- 250g/9oz ground almonds
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp almond essence
- Place the sugar and ground almonds in a bowl. Add enough beaten egg and mix to a fairly soft consistency.
- Add the almond essence and knead for one minute until the paste is smooth and pliable.
- 175g/6oz Stork or unsalted butter
- 175g/6oz soft brown sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 175g/6oz plain flour
- Pinch salt
- ½ tsp ground mixed spice(optional)
- 350g/12oz mixed raisins, currents and sultanas
- 55g/2oz chopped mixed peel
- grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1-2 tbsp apricot jam
- 1 egg, beaten for glazing
- 500g ready made marzipan if you have not made your own
Preheat oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1. Grease and line a 18cm/7in cake tin.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs until well incorporated and then sift in the flour, salt and mixed spice (if using) a little at a time. Finally, add the mixed dried fruit, peel and grated lemon zest and stir into the mixture.
- Put half the mixture into a greased and lined 18cm/7in cake tin. Smooth the top and cover with one third of the marzipan rolled out into a 7in circle. Add the rest of the cake mixture and smooth the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 1¾ hours. Test by inserting a skewer in the middle – if it comes out clean, it is ready. Once baked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack.
- Brush the top of the cooled cake with the apricot jam. Divide the remainder of the almond paste in half; roll out a circle to cover the top of the cake with one half and form 11 small balls with the other half.
- Place the circle of paste on the jam glaze and set the balls round the edge. Brush the cake topping with a little beaten egg.
- Preheat the grill to high. Place the cake onto a baking tray and grill for 1-2 minutes, or until the top of the marzipan begins to brown.