Classic Simnel Cake

Simple simnel cake

​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
726 Calories
36g Fat
96g Carbs
12g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 726
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 36g 46%
Saturated Fat 12g 61%
Cholesterol 129mg 43%
Sodium 411mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 96g 35%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Protein 12g
Calcium 206mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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 peel (chopped)
  • 8 ounces/225 grams plain flour (or all-purpose)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
  • 6 ounces/175 grams butter
  • 6 ounces/175 grams fine sugar
  • 3 large eggs (fresh and free-range, beaten)
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for simnel cake
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Heat the oven to 350 F.

  3. Line a 7-inch cake tin with parchment or greaseproof paper.

    Line parchment paper
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Divide the almond paste into three portions and take one portion and roll it into a round the size of the cake tin.

    Almond paste
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  5. In a large, roomy baking bowl, mix the mixed dried fruits and candied peel with the flour, salt, and spices.

    Dried fruit and flour
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  6. In another large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar, until light and fluffy.

    Cream butter and sugar
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  7. Add the beaten egg to the butter mixture a little bit at a time, beating well after each addition — don't 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.

    Add egg
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  8. 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.

    Add in fruit
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  9. Put half of the cake mixture into the tin, smooth and cover with the round of almond paste.

    Add to tin
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  10. Put the remaining cake mixture into the tin and smooth the surface carefully.

    Pour into tin
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  11. Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  12. 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 it a little longer.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  13. Roll another third of almond paste, again to the size of the tin. Make the remaining almond paste equally into 11 tiny balls.

    Roll out
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  14. Once the cake is completely cold, remove from the tin and brush the top of the cake with apricot jam and cover with the disc of almond paste.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  15. Place the 11 tiny balls evenly around the edge. Brush them all over with a little apricot jam.

    Place balls around cake
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  16. Place under a hot grill until lightly browned.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  17. Decorate the cake as you wish with tiny Easter eggs or any other Easter theme.

    Decorate with eggs
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  18. Serve and enjoy!

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

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