Easter simnel cake served on a cake stand

Simnel cake

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(2 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 2 hrs

Easy

Serves 12

Bake this classic Easter simnel cake. Top with 11 balls of marzipan – said to represent 11 of Jesus’s disciples, leaving off Judas – or with spring flowers

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: Per serving

  • kcal619
  • fat29g
  • saturates12g
  • carbs77g
  • sugars60g
  • fibre2g
  • protein10g
  • salt0.65g
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Ingredients

  • 250g mixed dried fruit (a mixture of sultanas, currants, raisins and candied mixed peel)
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
    Orange

    Orange

    or-ange

    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • 500g pack marzipan
    Marzipan cake

    Marzipan

    mah-zuh-pan

    One of mankind’s oldest sources of sweet pleasure, marzipan needs to contain only ground…

  • 250g pack butter, softened
    Butter

    Butter

    butt-err

    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 200g light brown soft sugar
  • 4 eggs, plus 1 beaten to glaze
    Eggs

    Egg

    egg

    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 175g plain flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 1 lemon, zested
    Lemon

    Lemon

    le-mon

    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g glacé cherries, halved
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam

Method

  1. Put the mixed dried fruit in a bowl with the orange juice and zest and 2 tbsp water. Cover and microwave for 2 mins, then leave to cool completely. Alternatively, heat gently in a pan, stirring now and then until the liquid has been absorbed and leave to cool. 

  2. Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Roll out a third of the marzipan and use the base of a deep 20cm cake tin as a template to cut out a circle. Wrap any offcuts and the remaining two-thirds of marzipan and set aside for later. Butter and line the cake tin with a double layer of parchment. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the eggs, flour, almonds, baking powder, lemon zest, mixed spice and vanilla (all in one go) and mix until well combined. Mix in the cooled soaked dried fruit and fold in the cherries.

  3. Scrape half the cake mixture into the tin. Top with the disc of marzipan, then the remaining cake mixture, and level the top with a spatula. Bake for 2 hrs. Check it’s cooked by inserting a skewer to the centre of the cake, if any wet mixture clings to the skewer, return to the oven for another 10 mins, then check again. Cool in the tin for 15 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. 

  4. Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam. Roll out half of the remaining marzipan and use the base of the cake as a template to cut out another disc. Place it on top of the cake and crimp the edges, if you like. Roll the remaining marzipan into 11 equal-sized balls for the apostles. Brush the marzipan with beaten egg and arrange the apostles in a circle on top around the outside, and brush them with a little egg too. Put under a hot grill for a minute or two until just starting to caramelise – be very careful as the marzipan will burn easily. Leave to cool and wrap a ribbon around the cake, if you like. Will keep for up to a week in a sealed tin.  

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Comments, questions and tips

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sue massey
21st Apr, 2019
5.05
A beautiful and very moist cake! Made it pretty much as per the recipe but added more fruit as I thought 250gm was a bit mean. The family said it’s one of the best I’ve made and would love it at Christmas. Will definitely make again.
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