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FRUITY SIMNEL CAKE

A Simnel is our traditional Easter Cake, having its origins in Mothering Sunday in Lent. It is a rich fruit cake with a layer of marzipan baked through the centre and also has a marzipan topping. My recipe has a variety of fruits and can be decorated to your own choice. Made in a loaf tin it is easy to slice. You will need a loaf tin measuring 8 x 4 inches/20 x 10cm across the base.

Ingredients:

Marzipan

  • 120g (4oz) icing sugar
  • 120g (4oz) caster sugar
  • 120g (4oz) ground almonds
  • Few drops almond extract
  • 1 egg

Cake

  • 150g (5oz) butter or margarine
  • 150g (5oz) light soft brown sugar
  • 1 orange – zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 175g (6oz) plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 425g (15oz) mixed dried fruit
  • 50g (2oz) glacé cherries
  • 50g (2oz) ready to eat dried apricots
  • 1 tablesp. apricot glaze or sieved jam
  • Small Easter eggs to decorate optional

Method:

Line the tin with greaseproof paper and grease it. Heat the oven to Gas 3/170C with the shelf just below the centre. Make the marzipan: in a bowl mix together the sugars and ground almonds then bind with just enough of the beaten egg to make a firm paste, adding almond extract to taste. Leave aside. Cake: Quarter the cherries and cut up the apricots. Cream together the fat and sugar until light, beat in the grated orange zest and then the beaten eggs a little at a time. Fold in the flour and salt. Stir in all the fruits. It should be a dropping consistency. Using half the marzipan. roll out to the same size of the tin. Put half the cake mixture into the tin and place the marzipan onto it, then add the remaining cake mixture. Bake for approx 1 hour or until brown and firm to the touch. Leave in the tin for 15 mins before turning out. If not using immediately, when cold wrap in kitchen foil. To decorate: Roll out the remaining marzipan to the same size as the cake and cut the edges neatly. Heat the apricot glaze, brush the top of the cake with it, then place the marzipan on top. Crimp the edges with your fingers. With the back of a knife mark lines across the top and dust with caster sugar. Decorate to your own choice. I have used small coloured eggs. Note: you could use 340g (12oz) of bought marzipan instead of making your own but the home made gives a better result in the cake.

Posted in Recipes on Apr 01, 2017