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Simnel Cake- A Traditional Easter Cake Recipe

Updated on March 25, 2015
Joanna14 profile image

Christine, a wife, mother and homemaker for over 30 years, has an NVQ3 in Childcare & Education & loves cooking, music, health & nutrition.

Simnel Cake
Simnel Cake | Source

When I think of food in the Springtime, I always think of Simnel Cake!

Many years ago in England, maids would bake a fruit cake to give to their mothers for Mothering Sunday during the Lent period, when they had a rare day off to visit them. Over the years, the tradition of baking the Simnel Cake has moved to Easter Sunday, when it is decorated with Easter eggs and served for afternoon tea. Tradition has it that it would have been covered with 11 eggs, representing the 12 disciples, minus the one who betrayed Jesus.

The Simnel Cake recipe is similar to the traditional English Christmas Cake, but not as rich, with a layer of marzipan in the middle of the cake and covered with a second layer, without royal icing as well. If you prefer you can use ready-to-roll marzipan instead of making your own. The eggs for decoration can also be rolled from pieces of marzipan and the whole topping brushed with egg white and grilled for a short time to brown. My version is without this final step and decorating with small chocolate eggs, making it quicker for the modern, busy housewife!

In our house, Simnel Cake has always been a favourite. The fruit content ensures that it will last and you can make it some days before required. However, once brought out, it's sure to get eaten up very quickly!

The Simnel Cake Recipe


  1. Preheat oven to Gas 3 (170C)
  2. First, make the marzipan by mixing the marzipan ingredients together.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until creamy.
  4. Gradually beat in the eggs.
  5. Fold in the flour, baking powder and spice.
  6. Add the fruit, almonds and milk.
  7. Place half the mixture into a greased and floured 8 inch cake pan.
  8. Roll out just under half the marzipan to a round and place on top.
  9. Add the rest of the cake mixture to cover the marzipan.
  10. Bake in centre of oven for 2 1/4 hours, reducing the heat slightly after an hour.
  11. When cooked (check there is no humming noise), cool on wire tray.
  12. When cool, cover with the rest of the marzipan and decorate with small eggs and chicks.


  • 150 g butter
  • 150 g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 500 g mixed dried fruit
  • 75 g chopped glace cherries
  • 75 g chopped candied peel
  • 50 g chopped blanched almonds (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 200 g ground almonds
  • 100 g castor sugar
  • 100 g sieved icing sugar
  • 1 egg or 2 egg yolks to bind
  • or 2 x 200g packs of ready-to-roll marziapan

Serving Size

Serves: 10-12

The Easter Cake Vote

5 stars from 1 rating of Simnel Cake

If you don't wish to make it, buy your ready-to-roll marzipan here-

Solo Almond Paste, 8-Ounce Packages (Pack of 4)
Solo Almond Paste, 8-Ounce Packages (Pack of 4)

Use two of these ready-to-roll packs for your cake with two extra for the next cake!


Are you going to try this Simnel Cake recipe?

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    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 2 years ago

      I love marzipan. I hardly ever see it here. I really enjoyed learning a bit of the history too. Great hub for Easter and gorgeous picture!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I hope to do one this Easter. I love marzipan so this is my kind of cake.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      This is a cute and fabulous looking cake. Love it.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 3 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      This sounds really good. I never heard of this before.

    • Joanna14 profile image

      Christine Hulme 3 years ago from SE Kent, England

      @paulahite: Thanks for featuring this on the new page, Paula!

    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 3 years ago from Virginia

      Beautiful and sweet tradition. I featured your lens on our NEW Tumblr page today. Look for it around 4pm EST.

    • Joanna14 profile image

      Christine Hulme 3 years ago from SE Kent, England

      @Dressage Husband: Thanks Stephen, although the lens was added to the Best Of Squidoo, rather than LOTD. Maybe that will come next!!

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 3 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      We always had these at Easter when I was still at home with my Mum. Great Lens and thanks for reminding me of this Great British tradition. Well done on the LOTD!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I've never heard of this, but it sounds fabulous

    • georgepmoola2 profile image

      georgepmoola2 3 years ago

      Excellent lens. Starting to dribble already.

    • Jerzimom profile image

      Cheryl Fay Mikesell 3 years ago from Ladysmith, WI

      Never heard of it. Looks good! Great Lens.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      I have never had a recipe for this cake, so thanks I will try it for easter, it sure looks yummy.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 3 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Thanks for sharing this interesting tradition.