Saturday, 7 April 2012

Simnel Cake

I know it's a bit late to post a Simnel Cake recipe, but I didn't have time to make it any earlier. This might not be a traditionally decorated cake in the Christian sense, but as my family doesn't celebrate Easter as such, Miss Ony and I made a welcoming in the spring cake instead! She decorated the cake with her own design, which I think looks lovely, and suitably seasonal.
  • 150g/6oz softened butter or margarine
  • 150g/6oz soft brown sugar
  • 3 medium eggs, beaten
  • 150g/6oz plain flour
  • ½ tsp each of cinnamon and ground mixed spice 
  • 400g/1 lb mixed  dried fruits (eg: raisins, currants, sultanas, glacé cherries and mixed peel)
  • 4 tbsp amaretto or your choice of spirit or liqueur 
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 block of marzipan
Soak the dried fruit in the spirit/liqueur for 2-3 hours or over night.

Preheat the oven to 160C/150C fan/Gas 3
Roll out the marzipan (on a board sprinkled with icing sugar) and cut 2x7" circles using the cake tin as a cutter/template.
Grease and line a 7" round cake tin.

Cream the butter and sugar.
Add all of the remaining ingredients (except the marzipan, of course) and the soaked, dried fruits and mix well.
Spoon half of the mixture into the cake tin.

Place the marzipan onto the cake mixture and press down.
Top with the remaining cake mixture and smooth with the back of a spoon.
Bake for around 1½ hours, or until firm to the touch and brown on top.

Cool in the tin for an hour, then turn out onto a wire rack until cold.
Brush the top of the cake with a little warmed apricot jam or golden syrup.
Place the remaining circle of marzipan on top of the cake and press down.  At this point, or when the cake is fully decorated, you may wish to brown the marzipan under a hot grill/broiller (or use a blow torch as I did).

Get the kids to roll the left over scraps of marzipan either into 11 balls (for a traditional cake) or cut out whatever spring symbols you like (flowers, bunnies, chicks etc). Stick these to the top of the cake with a little water.
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