Monday, 25 April 2011

Eggs-ellent Simnel Cake

I hope you've all had a lovely, sunny Easter.

What a happy few days. Amongst the glorious celebrations at our friend's wedding was an Easter Egg hunt. They hid all the eggs and shouted 'Go'. A says he's never seen me run so fast. What he doesn't know is that I've been in training for weeks now. Knowing full well the repercussions of me not returning, arms laden with chocolate eggs, A rose magnificently to the challenge and we formed ourselves a very productive partnership: A found them, I ate them.

For the final cake in the little mini-series of Easter bakes I've been blogging about comes the King of the Easter cakes: Simnel Cake.

Simnel Cake is a lighter, Spring-version of a fruit Christmas Cake. Less alcohol and more marzipan. Instead of penguins adorning the top, we have the Apostles. Except Judas of course, the persona non grata.

Beth, my guest-blogger-sister makes a very, very yummy Simnel Cake each year and the recipe is from Nigella Lawson's version in her book 'Feast: Food that Celebrates Life':

Beth's Simnel Cake


100g/4oz glace cherries, finely chopped
500g/1Ib 2oz mixed dried fruits
175g/6oz soft unsalted butter
175g/6oz caster sugar
zest 1 lemon
225g/8oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
half a teaspoon cinnamon
quarter teaspoon ground ginger
25g/1oz ground almonds
3 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp milk
1kg/2 Ib 4oz yellow marzipan
icing sugar for rolling
1 tbsp apricot jam, melted gently in small pan and sieved
1 egg white

1. Preheat the oven  to 170C/fan 150C/Gas Mark 3
2. Butter and line the bottom and sides of a 20cm springform cake tin with double layer of brown baking paper
3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, and add the lemon zest
4. Stir the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and ground almonds into a separate bowl
5. Add one of the eggs and 2 tbsps of the flour-spice-almond mixture to the creamed butter and sugar mixture
6. Beat in the rest of the eggs in the same way. And beat in the remainder of the flour-spice-almond mixture
7. Add the milk and fold in the fruit
8. Dust a surface with a little icing sugar and roll out 400g of the marzipan. Cut it into a 20cm circle, which will be fitting nicely into the middle of the cake shortly
9. Spoon half of your mixture into the bottom of cake, levelling the top
10. Lay the marzipan circle on the mixture and then spread the remainder of the mixture on top of the marzipan, smoothing the top of the cake

11. Bake in the oven for half an hour at first. Then, reduce the temperature of the oven to 150C/fan 130C/Gas Mark 2 for another one and a half hours. Once completely cooled release the cake from the confines of the tin and spread the melted and sieved apricot jam over the top
12. Roll out a second circle of marzipan and place gently on top
13. Roll out eleven Apostle balls from the left-over marzipan, roughly 2.5cm in diameter
14. Beat the egg white just until it is loosened and resembling glue and stick the Apostles around the perimeter of your cake
15. Finally, paint the whole of the top of the cake, including the Apostles with the egg white and using either a blow-touch or a grill, burnish the top of the cake and the Apostles. If grilling keep a really, really close eye so the cake doesn't burn

Happy Easter Eating!!

This post has been entered in the 'A Slice of Cherry Pie' Easter Cake Bake

Easter Cake Bake


  1. great minds think alike - i made simnel cake too! yours looks great

  2. Thank you very, very much- Easter wouldn't be the same without seeing how many marzipan Apostles I can consume in one sitting! The extra, spare Apostles I make don't count right?

  3. Wow...that's beautiful, and something I've never tasted!

  4. Every year I vow to make a simnel cake and it never happens... I love marzipan too so I'm not sure why... Love that you blow torched your apostles!!

  5. Thank you very much Rebekka and Sarah. It tastes really light Rebekka, and very more-ish! Sadly we don't own a blow-torch Sarah- the Apostles and the grill had to become extremely close friends instead!

  6. I really need to try Simnel Cake, I never have done yet. Looks great - well done!


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