Simnel Cake is a cake filled with mixed fruit, lemon and marzipan and is a perfect Easter recipe. It could be used to sell at a cake sale or as a prize. I was actually asked specifically to make one from a family friend who will give me a donation in return. Be sure to try it out! Here's how to make it:
- - 175g/6oz butter or margarine
- - 175g/6oz soft brown sugar
- - 3 free-range eggs, beaten
- - 175g/6oz plain flour
- - Pinch salt
- - 350g/12oz mixed raisins, currants and sultanas
- - ½ lemon, grated zest only
- - 1-2 tbsp apricot jam
- -500g natural marzipan (ready made is best)
Step 1. Preheat your oven to 140C/275F/Gas mark 1. Then, grease and line a 18cm/7in cake tin using grease-proof paper.
Step 2. Start to make the cake by creaming together both the sugar and the butter until light and fluffy. If you want to speed things up a little you can use a mixer but, if you're like me just give it some elbow grease!
Step 3. Add in each egg one at a time beating between to make sure they are completely mixed into the mixture. Then sift in the flour and salt and mix again.
Step 4. Place your cake mix aside for this step and use a grater to grate 1/2 a lemon zest (or more if you prefer) and add to the mixture. After the zest has been added, get your mixed fruit and place into a separate bowl. Coat the mixed fruit in some plain flour before adding to the mixture. This stops the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the cake as it is cooking.
Step 5. Roll out roughly 1/3 of your marzipan on a hard surface; lightly dusted with icing sugar. Cut out a circle which will comfortably fit in your cake tin.
Step 6. Put half of the mixture into your cake tin. Smooth the top over and cover with the circle of marzipan. Then place the rest of the cake mixture on top and smooth it over leaving a little less mixture in the middle so that the cake can rise. Bake in the oven for 1 3/4 hours. Test the mixture by inserting a wooden skewer, if it comes out clean you cake is ready.
Step 7. Generously spread apricot jam on top of the cooled cake. Roll out another 1/3 or your marzipan and place on top. Then create 11 little balls and using half cut cocktail sticks insert them on top of the cake, making sure they are evenly spaced.
Step 8. Now, if you're professional (unlike me) and have possession of a cooks blow torch (this would have been fun though) brown the top of the marzipan until it goes a slightly golden brown colour. Alternatively, heat up your grill to the highest setting and brown the marzipan for roughly 1-2 minutes checking every few seconds so that it doesn't burn (you wouldn't want to ruin all of your hardwork now!)