|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
The simnel cake is a classic cake for Easter appears sometime around the end of Lent. The cake signifies the end of Lent which is a period of fasting and repentance culminating in a feast of seasonal and symbolic foods.
The simnel cake recipe, however, is rich in fruits, spices, and marzipan, all forbidden during the period of Lent, and so ready to be enjoyed again.
- 1 1/4 pounds/560 grams almond paste (marzipan)
- 1 pound/450 grams dried mixed fruits (currants, raisins, sultanas, glace cherries)
- 3 ounces/80 grams candied chopped peel
- 8 ounces/225 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 6 ounces/175 grams butter (room temperature)
- 6 ounces/175 grams fine sugar
- 3 large eggs (fresh and free-range, beaten)
- 1 cup of milk to mix (use as needed)
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Line a 7-inch cake tin with parchment or greaseproof paper.
Divide the almond paste into 3 and take one portion and roll it into a round the size of the cake tin.
In a large, roomy baking bowl, mix the mixed dried fruits and candied peel with the flour, salt, and spices.
In another large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the beaten egg to the butter mixture a little bit at a time, beating well after each addition. Do not try to rush this process, as the batter could curdle. If it does, add a tablespoon of the flour and mix again, this should bring the mixture back together.
Carefully fold in half the flour and half the fruit into the egg and butter mixture.
Once incorporated repeat with the remaining flour and fruit.
Put half of the cake mixture into the tin.
Smooth and cover with the round of almond paste.
Put the remaining cake mixture into the tin and smooth the surface carefully.
Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour.
Lower the heat to 300 F and bake for 1 1/2 hours more or (depending on your oven) until the cake is golden brown.
To check if the cake is cooked, insert a skewer into the cake, it should come out clean and dry. If it is, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.If not, cook a little longer.
Roll another third of almond paste, again to the size of the tin.
Make the remaining almond paste equally into 11 tiny balls.
Once the cake is completely cold, remove from the tin and brush the top of the cake with apricot jam.
Cover with the disc of almond paste and place the 11 tiny balls evenly around the edge.
Brush them all over with a little apricot jam and place under a hot grill or broiler until lightly browned.
Decorate the cake as you wish with tiny Easter eggs or any other Easter theme.