Ginger simnel cake with spring flowers

Ginger simnel cake with spring flowers

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(12 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr, 30 mins - 1 hr, 45 mins Cook: 1 hr, 30 mins Plus 2 hours' drying time

More effort

Cuts into 12 slices

As well as the topping, the cake has a hidden layer of homemade marzipan mixed with ginger...

Nutrition and extra info

  • without flowers

Nutrition: per slice

  • kcal405
  • fat18g
  • saturates5g
  • carbs59g
  • sugars25g
  • fibre2g
  • protein7g
  • salt0.15g


    For the almond paste

    • 200g packet ground almonds
    • 100g golden caster sugar
    • 50g stem ginger, finely chopped
    • 1 tbsp cornflour, plus extra for rolling the almond paste
    • 1 large egg white

    For the cake

    • 100g sultanas
    • 100g currants
    • 100g raisins
    • 50g stem ginger, finely chopped
    • 2 tsp tea leaves, or 1 tea bag
    • 2 tbsp golden syrup
      Golden syrup

      Golden syrup

      goal-dun sir-rup

      Golden syrup is a translucent, golden-amber coloured, sweet syrup, which can only be produced…

    • 2 tsp ground ginger
    • 100g plain flour
    • 50g self-raising flour
    • 100g butter, softened



      Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

    • 100g golden caster sugar
    • 2 large eggs, beaten



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

    For the decoration

    • 2 tbsp apricot jam, warmed in a microwave or small pan
    • icing sugar, for dredging
    • sugar-frosted edible wafer flowers
    • ribbon, to tie round the cake


    1. Make the almond paste. Tip the ground almonds into a bowl and stir in the caster sugar, ginger and cornflour. Pour in the egg white and work together until you have a smooth paste. Roll into a ball, wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for at least half an hour, to firm up.

    2. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4/fan oven 160C. Line a 7.5cm/3in deep, 18cm/7in round cake tin with non-stick baking parchment. Use two circles for the bottom and two layers of paper for the sides (this will help protect the cake during the long bake).

    3. Make the cake. Mix the fruits and stem ginger in a bowl. Put the tea in another bowl, pour over 125ml/4fl oz boiling water and infuse for 5 minutes. Strain the liquid over the fruit, then stir in the golden syrup and ground ginger.

    4. Sift together the plain and self-raising flours. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric whisk until the mixture is light in colour and drops softly from the beaters. Beat in the eggs a little at a time, then gently stir in the sifted flours until smooth. Finally, stir in the dried fruits and their liquid.

    5. Spoon half the cake mixture into the tin and smooth the surface. Unwrap the almond paste on a surface lightly dusted with cornflour, and roll a third of it into a round to barely cover the surface of the mixture. Lift and place the paste inside the tin and press down to remove any trapped air. Spoon the rest of the cake mixture on top and smooth the surface.

    6. Cover the top of the tin with foil, scrunching it lightly at the sides to hold it in place. Bake for 50 minutes, remove the foil and bake for a further 45 minutes to 1 hour until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean (replace the foil hat if the cake shows signs of overbrowning during this time). Leave in the tin until completely cold, then remove and strip away the lining paper.

    7. For the decoration, put the remaining almond paste on a surface lightly dusted with cornflour and roll into a round that is barely 18cm/7in in diameter. Trim any rough edges using the base of the tin. Brush the jam over the surface of the cake, then press the paste firmly on top, making sure it is centred and even.

    8. Preheat the grill until hot. Place the cake on a baking tray and grill until light brown on top, rotating it to make sure it browns evenly. Remove and leave to cool. (You can make up to this stage in advance – wrap the cake in cling film and keep in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. You can freeze the cake for up to 1 month)

    9. To finish, put the cake on your prettiest serving plate and sift icing sugar over the almond paste. Decorate with a few sugar-frosted flowers, dust lightly with a little extra icing sugar and tie a ribbon around the cake.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    10th Apr, 2013
    This didn't work for me. It seemed rather dry and crumbly. Sadly not what I was expecting after all the work!
    3rd Apr, 2013
    Both my Mum and I made this delicious cake! For my part, it was the first Simnel Cake I have attempted and I was not disappointed. Fairly easy to make - I left out the stem ginger and added ground almonds and used maple syrup instead of golden syrup as that was all I had! It was lovely and a good test for my new oven!! It will be the default recipe for our family from now on!
    28th Mar, 2013
    I made this cake for Easter and my son’s Birthday. I am always on the look out for moist fruitcakes, this certainly was one. It is the marzipan with ginger that keeps it moist, possibly more than the fruit. It is a beautiful cake. I’ll be making it again. I had some bought marzipan leftovers, so I did not make my own. It probably would taste even better with homemade marzipan.
    7th Apr, 2012
    This was the first time I'd ever made a simnel cake - and it's gorgeous. I bought an 18 cm tin specially for it, and am glad I did because it would have got lost in anything larger. As others have said, it's very moist despite being in the oven for so long. It's not overly sweet, either - although it might be different if you used commercial marzipan. Definitely one to repeat, even just as a fruit cake without the topping.
    25th Apr, 2011
    This is a really good fruit cake recipe, the cake is so lovely and moist. Definitely won't be waiting until next easter to make this again.
    nicole011270's picture
    24th Apr, 2011
    It was OK, moist and the ginger wasn't overpowering, but on balance I'll try a non-ginger version next time
    24th Apr, 2011
    Seriously good. I used some left over bought marzipan and a 20cm cake tin so cake was slightly thinner but it cooked perfectly and tasted great. Will make this again, minus the marzipan topping, even when it is not Easter.
    28th May, 2010
    A real winner, not nearly as long winded to make as it appears. Just need extra time to make the marzipan. DO TRY IT!
    31st Mar, 2010
    I made this cake today - but I saw the recipe having already started to soak some sultanas and raisins in 100mls Amaretto which is a variation of Nigella's marzipan cake recipe. I love ginger so when I saw this recipe I decided to do a variation of the 2 recipes for our Easter 'simnel' type cake. I didn't make the marzipan but used bought, and I used 100g cherries instead of currants (and no tea as the fruit has soaked overnight already!). I than added the syrup to the fruit and warmed it slightly for 20 seconds in the microwave to melt the syrup so that it would mix properly. I left out the ground ginger but added about 50g of ground almonds. I followed the recipe from there and cooked it for most of the time with the foil on as I always seem to burn the top of fruit cakes despite using the baking parchment layers etc - but that helped a lot. Looking forward to this one when marzipaned and iced.
    30th Nov, 2009
    As said in the previous comments, this cake does take a wee while to make but is well worth it! Very yummy and excellent with a cup of earl grey :)


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