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simnel cake

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175g butter
175g dark brown Moscovado sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
175g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
½ tsp ground mixed spice
350g raisins, currants and sultanas
55g chopped mixed peel including glace cherries
½ tbsp. apricot jam
2 packets of store bought marzipan

Serves 8-10

1. Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1. Grease and line an 18cm cake tin.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs and then sift in the flour, baking powder, salt and mixed spice. It may curdle but don’t worry.
3. Add the mixed dried fruit, peel and grated lemon zest and stir into the mixture.
4. Put the mixture into the cake tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 1¾ hours. Test by inserting a skewer in the middle - if it comes out clean, it is ready. Once baked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
5. Meanwhile, roll out the marzipan and cut into strips. Leave some marzipan for the 11 disciple balls.
6. Brush the top of the cooled cake with the apricot jam. Lay the strips on the top of the cake and then criss-cross the other marzipan strips over the top.
7. Roll 11 small balls in the palm of your hand and place evenly on the outer rim of the cake (see photo).
8. Lightly heat the cake topping using a cook's blowtorch, until the marzipan is golden-brown.
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