Prep 45 mins
Cook 2 hrs 30 mins
Simnel cake is an English tradition, formerly made by girls on Mothering Sunday (Mother's Day, in March in the UK), but now the cake has become an Easter tradition. It is usually decorated with a layer of marzipan, and 11 marzipan (almond paste)balls around the edge, to represent the apostles, (minus Judas Escariot, for obvious reasons). This recipe is from the April 2006 issue of Delicious magazine, and instead of 11 balls of marzipan it decorates the cake top with violets and marzipan eggs.
- 175 g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 250 g plain flour, plus a little extra
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 unwaxed lemon, juice and zest of
- 100 g glace cherries, halved
- 50 g chopped mixed candied peel
- 175 g sultanas
- 175 raisins
- 125 g currants
- 175 g golden caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 4 medium eggs, lightly beaten and brought to room temperature
- 3 tablespoons milk
- icing sugar, to dust (confectioner's sugar)
- 200 g almond paste (marzipan)
- yellow food coloring
- 350 g almond paste
- 1 tablespoon apricot jam, warmed
- 3 -4 fresh african violets
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius Grease and line a 20 cm round deep cake tin with double thickness of baking (parchment) paper.
- Sift flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Stir in the zest, cherries, peel, sultanas, raisins, and currants.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little extra flour if the mixture begins to curdle. Add the flour and fruit mix and milk and mix to a soft dropping consistency. Spread just over half of the mixture in the tin.
- On a surface dusted with icing sugar, roll out 200 g almond paste to a 19 cm circle. Place on top of the mixture in the tin. Spoon in the rest of the mixture. Level the top and make a slight dent in the centre. Bake for 2 3/4 hours, or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin.
- For the decoration, dust the work surface with icing sugar. Knead a little yellow colouring into 350 g almond paste, then cut off 50 g and set aside. Roll out the remainder into a 20 cm circle. Brush the top of the cake with the jam and put the almond paste on top. Crimp the edges.
- Take the remaining almond paste and divide into 5 pieces. Dust your hands with icing sugar and roll each piece into an egg shape. Arrange on the cake with the violets.