Simnel Cake is the traditional cake eaten at Easter and I remembering making this with my mum every year. It is a rich fruit cake with a layer of marzipan running through the middle and another layer of marzipan on the top. The 11 or 12 balls of marzipan (or chocolate mini eggs) represent either the apostles (without Judas) or the apostles (without Judas) and Jesus.
I have used mini eggs to decorate mine just because I like the colours. And the chocolate too of course… When I put the marzipan layer into the middle of the cake I made the disc just slightly smaller than the cake tin so that it didn’t ooze out the sides. If you prefer to be able to see that layer just make sure the marzipan goes all the way to the edges. I have used Mary Berry’s Simnel Cake recipe.
Because it is a fruit cake it will keep well and is perfect to have around for guests popping in over Easter. It should be Spring here in the UK but we have snow today! So I have to look at this beautiful picture that my Dad painted for me and imagine instead:
Mary Berry’s Simnel Cake Recipe
225g softened butter
225g light muscovado sugar
50g chopped mixed peel
100g glace cherries, chopped
grated rind of two lemons
2 teaspoons mixed spice
4 large eggs
225g SR flour
For the filling and topping
450g marzipan divided into 3, or 300g marzipan divided into two and chocolate mini eggs
1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 150ºC.
Grease and line a deep 8″ round cake tin with removable base.
Measure all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
Beat until well combined.
Put half the cake mixture into the pan and level gently.
Roll out 150g marzipan into a circle the size of the cake tin and lay on top of the cake mixture.
Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top and level the surface.
Bake for about 2½ hours until well risen, brown and firm to the touch. Cover with foil after about an hour if browning too quickly.
Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
When completely cool roll out 150g marzipan into a circle to fit the top of the cake.
Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam and press the marzipan firmly on top.
The balls that represent the disciples can be made with 150g marzipan or chocolate mini eggs.
If using marzipan for the balls follow all these steps . If using chocolate mini eggs follow the steps but ignore the instructions for the marzipan balls, and add the mini eggs after it has been grilled.
Brush the marzipan with beaten egg and put the marzipan balls around the outside. Brush the tops of the balls with beaten egg also.
Put the cake under a hot grill to brown the marzipan.
If using mini eggs for the balls, add these when the marzipan is still warm so that they stick properly.