Simnel Cake: A Traditional Easter Cake Recipe
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
- 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
For the marzipan:
- 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
- Preheat oven to Gas 3 (170C)
- First, make the marzipan by mixing the marzipan ingredients together.
- Cream the butter and sugar until creamy.
- Gradually beat in the eggs.
- Fold in the flour, baking powder and spice.
- Add the fruit, almonds and milk.
- Place half the mixture into a greased and floured 8 inch cake pan.
- Roll out just under half the marzipan to a round and place on top.
- Add the rest of the cake mixture to cover the marzipan.
- Bake in centre of oven for 2 1/4 hours, reducing the heat slightly after an hour.
- When cooked (check there is no humming noise), cool on wire tray.
- When cool, cover with the rest of the marzipan and decorate with small eggs, almonds or chicks.
Enjoy Your Simnel Cake With Your Favourite Cuppa!
The Easter Cake Vote
© 2014 Christine Hulme