One of the oldest Christian festivals, Easter marks Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Simnel cake has at some point been adopted as a traditional Easter cake.
The 11 marzipan balls on the top represent the apostles, minus the treacherous Judas.
Butter 250g (9oz), softened
Light muscovado sugar 250g (9oz)
Plain flour 300g (11oz)
Baking powder 1 tsp
Ground mixed spice 2 tsp
Ground almonds 50g (2oz)
Luxury dried mixed fruit 500g (1lb 2oz)
Lemon 1, finely grated zest and 2 tbsp juice
White marzipan 500g (1lb 2oz)
Apricot glaze or sieved apricot jam 2 tbsp
1 Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2 and line a 20cm (8in) cake tin with baking parchment.
2 Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour along with each egg. Sift in the remaining flour, baking powder and spice and fold the almonds, dried fruit and lemon zest and juice into the mixture. Spoon half into the cake tin and smooth the surface level.
3 Roll out one third of the marzipan until it’s a circle, just smaller than the cake tin, and lay it on top of the mixture in the tin. Spoon the remaining mixture over the top and level the surface.
4 Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 2–2¼ hours, or until a skewer comes out clean after being inserted into the cake. Cover with a sheet of baking parchment if it starts to brown. When cooked, remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool.
5 Remove the cake from the tin and peel away the lining paper. Spread the apricot glaze or jam over the top. Roll out half of the remaining marzipan to fit the top of the cake. Place it on the cake and smooth down, taking care not to trap any air pockets underneath. Pinch around the edges.
6 Divide the remaining marzipan into 11 pieces and roll each into a ball. Brush a little apricot glaze or jam onto the base of each and evenly space around the top of the cake. Place under a hot grill to brown the marzipan lightly. Remove from the grill and leave to cool before serving.
• The cake will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.
• If you have a choice of marzipan, choose white marzipan, which has a more natural flavour than golden marzipan.
Recipe taken from Around Britain Dairy Cookbook available for a short period at just £2.99!