I love that so many of our festivals and special days have their own cake! Simnel cake is a fond farewell to winter and a welcoming hug to spring and I love making it just as much as I do the Christmas cake. When I baked it yesterday the sun came out and blazed through the kitchen window and I grinned, a lot!
The cake itself is a delicious equal measures fruit cake.
225g (80z) soft butter
225g (80z) light brown sugar
225g (80z) self-raising flour
2 tsps mixed spice
225g (8oz) sultanas
100g (4oz) raisins
50g (2oz) currants
100g (40z) glacé cherries, rinsed, dried and chopped
grated rind of 2 lemons
500g (about 1lb) marzipan (almond paste) I used white marzipan into which I squidged a couple of drops of yellow food colouring, you can buy yellow marzipan ready-made or you can leave it white – it’s up to you!
a little apricot jam
1 egg beaten to glaze
Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm (8 inch) deep round cake tin.
Put all the ingredients except the marzipan, jam and egg glaze into a large bowl and beat well until thoroughly combined. Cue gratuitous photo of my favourite gadget!
- Put half the cake mixture into the prepared tin.
- Roll out one-third of the marzipan into a circle the same size as your cake tin. Pop the tin on top, press down lightly and remove. Cut around the circle which should be stamped onto the marzipan.
- Put this circle of marzipan on top of the cake mix in the tin.
- Spoon the rest of the cake mix into the tin and level the surface
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 2½ hours until well risen, brown and firm to the touch. If it is browning too quickly cover the tin with foil after an hour or so.
- Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, turn onto a wire rack to cool completely
- When the cake is cool roll out half of the remaining marzipan into a circle to fit the top of your cake
- Warm a little apricot jam in a pan and brush over the surface of the cake
- Place your marzipan circle on top and crimp the edges with your fingers
- Make 11 marzipan balls or eggs by rolling pieces between your palms (these represent Jesus’ apostles minus Judas because of his betrayal)
- Brush the marzipan with a little of the beaten egg and place the balls/eggs on top, brush them with a little egg too
- Pop the cake under the grill to brown slightly
Serve with a nice cup of tea and a bit of chatter!