Simnel Cake

The perfect Easter teatime treat.

Ingredients

  • 110g butter
  • 110g soft brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 150g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp ground mixed spice
  • 350g mixed raisins, currants and sultanas
  • 55g mixed peel, chopped
  • ½ lemon, grated zest only
  • 1-2 tbsp apricot jam

Marzipan

  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ tsp almond essence

Instructions

Marzipan

  1. Place the sugar and ground almonds in a bowl.
  2. Add enough beaten egg to achieve a fairly soft consistency.
  3. Add the almond essence and knead until paste is smooth and pliable.
  4. Roll out a third of the paste to make a circle 18cm (7″) diameter, reserve the rest for the top and to make the marzipan balls.

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 140°C/275°F.
  2. Grease and line an 18cm (7″) round cake tin.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy
  4. Gradually beat in the eggs until well mixed, and then sift in the flour, salt and mixed spice.
  5. Add dried fruit, lemon zest and mixed peel, and mix well.
  6. Put half the mixture into the cake tin, smooth the top and cover with the circle of marzipan.
  7. Add the rest of the mixture and smooth the top, leaving a slight dip in the centre to allow for rising, so you end up with a level top. Bake for 1½ hours, then remove from oven to cool.

To decorate

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. Brush top of cake with the apricot jam.
  3. Divide the remaining marzipan into two. Roll out a circle to cover the top of the cake and make eleven balls with the other half. Place the circle on top, then place the balls around the edge.
  4. Put in the oven for approx. 10 minutes or long enough for the marzipan to brown.