< Easter
< Easter Food

Simnel Cake
Hot Cross Buns
Orange and Rhubarb Crumble
Using Up Excess Easter Eggs
Lemon Potatoes
Easter Sunday Lunch
Fantastic Fish Pie

Simnel Cake

This traditional and delicious cake is fun for all the family to make. 

For the marzipan
175g Ground almonds
200g Caster Sugar
100g Icing Sugar
1 Egg

For the cake
175g Butter or margarine
175g Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
175g Plain flour
50g Polenta
½ teaspoon Baking powder
100g each of Organic sultanas, raisins and currants
50g Organic candied peel
Pot of apricot jam
Icing sugar for ‘rolling out’
20 cm baking tin

NB: The marzipan topping contains uncooked eggs.

How to Make the Easter Cake

1 Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, Gas Mark 4 (adjusting for fan oven). Grease and line the base and sides of the baking tin using baking parchment.

To make the marzipan

2 Place the caster sugar in a bowl with the ground almonds. Sieve the icing sugar over and mix all together. 

3 Whisk a large egg and add it to the dry ingredients. Mix then knead the mixture until a soft dough is formed.

4 Take one-third of the marzipan and, on a board lightly dusted with a little icing sugar, roll it into a circle, using the base of the tin as a template. This will go in the middle of the cake. Put the marzipan in the fridge to cool while you make the cake.  

To make the cake

5 Cream the caster sugar and margarine in a bowl, until pale and fluffy.

6 In a separate bowl, lightly beat together three large eggs, and stir into the creamed mixture a little at a time.

7 Add the flour, polenta and baking powder to the mixture and stir gently. Then add the sultanas, raisins, currants and candied fruit and mix until combined.

8 Spoon half the cake mixture into the lined tin. Put the rolled layer of marzipan on top, then cover with the remaining cake mixture so you have a sandwich effect.

9 Turn down the preheated oven to 150 degrees C, Gas Mark 2, put the cake in and cook for 1½ hours. Check after an hour and if the cake is browning, place a double layer of baking parchment on top. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out.

To decorate the cake
10 Divide the remaining marzipan in half. Turn the cake upside down so you get a flat top, and spread over the apricot jam. On a board lightly dusted with icing sugar, roll out one half of the remaining marzipan to fit the top of the cake. (Cut around the base of the tin to get a good fit.) Place the marzipan on top of the cake, pressing lightly down on to the jam to seal. 

11 Using a wooden skewer, mark the marzipan top with several wide criss-crossed lines.

12 Form the remaining almond paste into mini eggs or balls (it is traditional to have 11 but you can choose how many you want) and arrange around the edge of the cake. 

13 Place the cake under a very hot grill for a minute or so until the topping goes a lovely toasty brown.