Simple Simnel Cake

Seeing as it’s Easter and Ma and Pa Tearoom are visiting, I thought I’d try my hand at a traditional Simnel cake.  The sheer amount of marzipan in and on this cake will be a Dad pleaser for sure while the cake making alone will win over the master of all baking, aka Mum.

This recipe is one of a few Mary Berry options so I’m pinning my hopes on it being a success!

You will need:

  • 175g/60z light muscovado sugar
  • 175g/6oz butter, softened
  • 175g/6oz self raising flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 25g/1oz ground almonds
  • 2tbsp milk
  • 100g/4oz sultanas
  • 100g/4oz cherries, quartered
  • 100g/4oz dried apricots, snipped into small pieces
  • 100g/4oz stem ginger, finely chopped
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 2tsp ground ginger

To decorate you will need:

  • 450g/1lb golden marzipan (I used normal marzipan as I couldn’t get golden)
  • 2tbsp apricot jam
  • 1 egg, beaten

    Preheat oven 160C/320F/Gas 3.

    Grease and line the base and sides of an 20cm/8in deep, round cake tin with baking parchment.

    Measure all the cake ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat well until thoroughly blended. Place half the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.

    Take one third of the marzipan and roll into a circle the same size as the cake tin, place the circle on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the remaining mixture on top of the marzipan and level the surface.

    Bake for about one and three-quarter to two hours or until golden brown and firm in the middle. If toward the end of the cooking time the cake is getting too brown, loosely cover with a piece of foil. Allow the cake to cool in the tin before turning onto a cooling rack.

    When the cake is cool. Brush the top with a little warmed apricot jam. Roll out half the remaining marzipan to the size of the cake and sit it on the top. Crimp the edges of the marzipan.  Make 11 even sized balls from the remaining marzipan and arrange around the edge.

    Brush with beaten egg and glaze the marzipan then place under a hot grill for about five minutes, turning the cake round so it browns evenly, so the marzipan is tinged brown all over.

And there’s your Easter Simnel cake but be warned, make sure you put plenty of egg wash all over the marzipan.  I spent a good while on the crimping bit (and felt pretty pleased with myself) only to put it under the grill and watch them drop and melt away!  Once cooled I then had to trim off my unsalvageable crimps to make the cake look once again presentable.

My version might be missing a crimp but as Mr Tearoom says – it’ll still taste nice – and it does!  Happy Easter!

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