After what has seemed like months of chocolate fasting the end is finally in sight…..woohoo! Easter cannot come soon enough, so well done all of you have abstained from biscuits, cakes, sweets and chocolate. Here is a delicious Easter treat to congratulate your selves on just being so good!
The Simnel Cake is an enriched fruit cake, packed full of delicious dried currants, sultanas and cherries with a delicious hidden layer of marzipan suspended between two layers. Delicately flavoured with zesty citrus and sweet spices, it is a real tea time treat.
Simnel cake was originally made by daughters who were in service to take back to their mothers on Mothering Sunday. However the cake is now largely associated with the Easter celebration. The 11 balls which sit on the top of the cake represent the 11 disciples of Jesus; originally 12, Judas is not included due to his betrayal. However I like to make 12 and then eat Judas as a chef’s perk! Umm delicious marzipan Judas.
It is absolutely not essential to but the marzipan, this can easily be bought in the shops. It is however necessary to have the marzipan prepared before you make the cake mix. If you have a blow torch it is nice to finish the cake of by caramelising the top or you can pop it under the grill, but keep an eye on it!
220g Golden Caster Sugar
220g Self Raising Flour
½ Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Mixed Spice
½ Tsp Nutmeg
4 Eggs Beaten
100g Glacier Cherries – Chopped
70g Mixed Peel – Chopped
1 Zest Lemon
1 Zest Orange
1 Orange – Juiced
200g Ground Almonds
200g Icing Sugar – Sifted
1 Yolk Egg – Beaten
½ Juice of Lemon
- Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the ground almonds and mix
- Make a well and add in the egg yolk and enough lemon juice to form a smooth, if it is too sticky add a little more icing sugar
- Split in to 3 equal balls, wrap in Clingfilm and keep to one side
- Pre heat the oven to 150, line a 20cm/8inch round tin
- Soak the sultanas and currants in the juice of 1 orange along with the zests
- Cream together the sugar and butter until soft and fluffy
- Pour in the egg and 2 tbsp of flour mix well.
- Fold in the rest of the flour, spices and salt.
- Finally mix in the soaked fruit (with juice) with the glacier cherries and mixed peel.
- Pour half of the mix into the tin, level out to form an even surface
- Roll out 1 of the marzipan balls to a circle the same size as the cake tin, place this on top of the cake mix. Cover the marzipan with the rest of the mix
- Bake in the oven for 2 ½ hours, until golden brown
- Leave to cool
- Make a glaze by heating together the apricot jam and water, bring to the boil for 2 minutes, stir well.
- Brush the glaze over the cake
- Using the another marzipan ball, roll out another circle to cover the top of the cake
- Roll the remaining marzipan in to 11 balls
- Place the balls (disciples) around the edge of the circle, secure using the glaze.
- If possible, dust with icing sugar and lightly caramelise the top with a blow torch or place under the grill