Fruity simnel squares

Fruity simnel squares

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(15 ratings)

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Cooking time

Prep: 40 mins Cook: 1 hr Plus soaking

Skill level

Easy

Servings

Cuts into 15 squares

This easy twist on the classic fruit sponge makes plenty of squares - all decorated with marzipan eggs

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Freezable
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

kcalories
576
protein
9g
carbs
79g
fat
25g
saturates
10g
fibre
3g
sugar
65g
salt
0.5g

Ingredients

  • 250g mixed dried fruits
  • 100g dried apricots, chopped
  • 85g glacé cherries, chopped
  • zest 2 oranges, juice 1 orange (use the second in the topping)
  • 200g butter, softened, plus extra for the tin
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 500g marzipan, 200g/7oz cut into 2cm chunks, the rest for the topping

For the topping

  • 50g butter
  • 50g light muscovado sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 85g icing sugar, sieved
  • 2-3 tsp orange juice

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Method

  1. Soak all the dried fruit in the orange juice for 2 hrs, or overnight.
  2. Butter and line a 20 x 30cm tin with baking parchment. Heat oven to 160C/ 140C fan/gas 3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time; mix well between each addition.
  3. Sift the flour into the bowl and mix in the ground almonds and spices. Add the marzipan chunks, zest and dried fruit with any remaining juice, and give everything a good stir to combine.
  4. Tip the cake mix into the prepared tin, level the surface, and bake for 45 mins – the cake may still be a little gooey in the centre at this point. Remove from the oven and increase the heat to 200C/ 180C fan/gas 6.
  5. Make the topping. Rub the butter, sugar and flour together with your fingers to a crumbly breadcrumb texture. Grate in 200g reserved marzipan, add the flaked almonds and golden syrup. Mix everything with a fork, making sure it stays crumbly and doesn’t clump. Sprinkle over the cake and return to the oven for 12-15 mins. Meanwhile, divide the rest of the marzipan into 11 and roll into balls.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven once cooked through, arrange the marzipan balls on top and allow to cool in the tin. Mix the icing sugar with enough orange juice to give a runny icing, drizzle it all over the cake, then let it set a little before slicing it.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, April 2012

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Comments

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cshobbs's picture
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This is fantastic! I baked this just after Easter, so omitted the marzipan balls and icing. The cake is very rich and filling, and easily divides into a lot more than 15 portions, so next time I'll make a half quantity.

sarahkdouglas's picture
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Not sure about this one. As others have said, it's extremely sweet, and that was without the icing and golden syrup. The crumble topping was also not what I was hoping - the marzipan got very chewy and almost burnt, and when it was cooked the topping just fell off. Not sure it can really qualify as simnel cake, and I don't think I'll be making this again.

janetbattersby's picture
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My friend said this is the most delicious cake she has ever tasted. Definitely only for marzipan fans. It is fabulous and I will make it again. I will probably choose it as my Christmas cake. I left out the syrup and it was still very sweet.

willsergf's picture
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I made this for Easter and used a 28cm x 28cm roasting tin which was the perfect size. It was enjoyed by all the family but I personally thought the addition of the marzipan to the cake mix made it a bit sweet. I would definitely try the suggestion about adding the golden syrup after spreading the topping on the cake as it was difficult stop it from clumping, or omit it altogether, if I made it again. A special occasion cake as it is quite expensive to make and a bit time consuming.

ellie_bee42's picture
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Just made this and it was very yummy and easy to do. I made it in a 28X18cm tin and that was fine. I also added some grand marnier to the mixture (1 tsp) as I forgot to soak the raisins and I thought it would give it something extra.
I reduced the sugar to 175g in the cake but kept the amounts the same for the topping, although I didn't add the golden syrup.
I didn't have any dried apricots so I just added more raisins and that worked well too.

Definitely worth a go but it's very rich. Definitely for special occasions!

ecocyclist's picture

Golden syrup AND marzipan AND icing on a rich sweet fruit cake? I've got reservations about this. I might make the basic cake, which looks lovely, but not at all sure about the topping.

janemr's picture
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Oops, sorry, I forgot I had already commented!

janemr's picture
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As a lover of marzipan I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. This is truly a WONDERFUL cake. Don't wait for Easter. I have to make it regularly now or I get complaints.

kirstienic's picture
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Very tasty (I'm not even a big fan of marzipan) and not too sweet. I made it in a slightly bigger tin and cut it into more servings, which worked well, they didn't need to be any bigger.

Frantic Flapjack's picture
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A great idea to cut into squares but I found the finished cake far too sweet and cloying. You really don't need the topping and the icing. If I make again I would just make the basic cake.

syrilsquirrel's picture
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Delicious and pretty easy! Failed dismally to stop crumble clumping together but is still looked and tasted great. Will definitely be making again next Easter.

Rowena Wilkes's picture
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Really great recipe. I made this to take round to my mothers for easter monday and she loved it! I had trouble trying to stop the crumble topping clumping together but it still tasted great. Very happy with this recipe, although time-consuming, its worth it!

janemr's picture
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This was absolutely stunning! Used a knife to "cut" the golden syrup through the topping mixture. Even without the topping it would be delicious and I may do that on a regular basis. Nothing else to add except that some-one keeps raiding the cake tin!

ruthmary's picture
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Great recipe - made twice. 2nd time used a larger shallower tin which worked well. Also used `Doves` gluten free flour. The topping works fine if you gently work with a fork. Decorated top with marzipan balls & mini eggs, browned marzipan with a blow torch & drizzled icing over. Yum!

rosenstielj's picture
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A great new take on Simnel Cake. Made it withiout the icing which was fine and cut the squares smaller. A small piece of Wensleydale cheese goes very well with the cake. Excellent for people who like marzipan. Will make again.

miaarmstrong's picture
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A fab recipe, I overcame the golden syrup causing the top to go clumpy by putting the dry mix on top and then squeezing the golden syrup over the top. Worked a treat.

patticake's picture

I am a little confused about the method for the topping. If you add any type of liquid, in this case golden syrup, to a crumble mix it will clump together. I have made it using just 1 tbls of syrup as it seemed to be a lot of sweetness. Still clumped but looks good. Not eaten yet. That's for tomorrow!

anne_f_'s picture

This is delicious, but needs a bigger tin than the recipe says!

claireriches's picture

My son has just made this at school for his GCSE Food Tech. He had to make something from an Easter recipe. Although the ingredients were quite expensive the finished cake was well worth it. Absolutely delicious even the nut and marzipan hating members of the family loved it.

featherhee's picture
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Made this gorgeous interpretation of a simnel cake for the family. Absolutely delicious! It is quite time-consuming with all the soaking, mixing, baking, topping, baking again and icing stages (kitchen smells wonderful!) but it is amazingly irresistible and I will make it again, possibly experimenting with a slightly larger tin to make a greater number of shallower tray bakes which might go down better with the weight watchers!! Yum!

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