Simnel cake is a traditional Easter cake that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is a fruitcake that is decorated with marzipan and is often topped with eleven marzipan balls or figures to represent the eleven apostles (minus Judas) or the eleven disciples. Here, Waitrose’s recipe for traditional simnel cake is presented in an educational tone, complete with summary bullet points.
– 225g unsalted butter, softened
– 225g dark muscovado sugar
– 4 medium eggs
– 225g self-raising flour
– 2 tsp mixed spice
– 225g sultanas
– 110g currants
– 110g raisins
– 55g glacé cherries, quartered
– 55g candied peel, chopped
– 1 lemon, zest only
– 500g marzipan
– 2 tbsp apricot jam
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2. Grease and double line a deep round cake tin with baking parchment.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a little of the flour with each egg to prevent the mixture from curdling.
4. Sift in the flour and mixed spice and fold in until well combined. Stir in the fruit, peel and lemon zest.
5. Spoon half of the mixture into the prepared tin and level off.
6. Take one-third of the marzipan (about 165g) and roll it out into a circle about the same size as the cake tin. Place the marzipan on top of the cake mixture in the tin.
7. Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top of the marzipan layer and level off.
8. Bake for 2-2.5 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
9. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
10. Once cool, brush the surface of the cake with the apricot jam.
11. Roll out another third of the marzipan (about 165g) and cut it into an 18cm disc. Place the disc on top of the cake.
12. Divide the remaining marzipan into 11 equal-sized pieces and shape them into balls or figures. Place these on top of the marzipan disc, brushing the marzipan with a little water to help them stick.
13. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Place the cake under the grill and cook until the marzipan is lightly toasted and golden brown.
14. Remove from the grill and leave to cool completely before serving.
Summary of Instructions:
– Cream butter and sugar until fluffy
– Beat in eggs, flour, and mixed spice
– Stir in fruit, peel, and lemon zest
– Spoon half of mixture into tin and add marzipan
– Spoon the remaining mixture and level off
– Bake at 150°C for 2-2.5 hours
– Cool, brush with apricot jam, add marzipan disc
– Shape remaining marzipan into balls or figures
– Toast under grill and let cool before serving.