Simnel Cake - Hungry Histories
Our easy Simnel Cake recipe tells the story behind this traditional Easter treat!
- 50g unblanched almonds, roasted and chopped
- 225g marzipan
- 175g butter, at room temperature
- 175g light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 100ml milk
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 225g flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Large pinch saffron
- 175g currants
- 225g sultanas
- 50g glace cherries
- 50g chopped candied peel
- Zest of 1 orange
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 300g marzipan
- 1 tbsp apricot jam
- Preheat the oven to 140C. Grease and line a tall, 20cm cake tin.
- Once the oven is hot, roast the almonds on a think baking tray for 8 minutes. Roughly chop them once they’re cool.
- Chop the marzipan into 1.5cm cubes and gently dust with flour to stop them sticking together.
- Put the saffron into a mixing just and pour the milk over it to infuse.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk.
- Add the eggs one at a time, then add the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, mixed spice and salt.
- Tip in the dried and candied fruits and zest, along with the saffron milk, and mix with a wooden spoon until it all comes together. Then add the marzipan chunks and stir through.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared tin.
- Cut out a circle of non-stick baking paper just smaller than your tin, and position this in the tin to protect the cake while it bakes - try not to let it stick to the cake mixture.
- Bake for 2 hours and 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool in its tin for 30 minutes then move it to a wire rack - keeping the paper on it until you’re ready to decorate it.
- Once the cake is baked and cool, roll out two-thirds of the marzipan into a circle the same size as your cake (20cm). Divide the remaining marzipan into 12 balls.
- Loosen the apricot jam with a spoon then spread it across the top of the cake.
- Place the marzipan on top and press it down gently to secure it.
- Position the 12 marzipan balls around the edge of the cake - secure them with a dab of jam if needed.
- Use a blowtorch to gently toast the top of the cake and marzipan balls. The marzipan can burn easily, so go slowly until you get the hang of it.