Simple simnel cake

Simple simnel cake

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(13 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr, 20 mins Cook: 1 hr, 50 mins


This is a perfect quick-mix-fix for Easter - based on traditional recipes

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal406
  • fat14g
  • saturates7g
  • carbs67g
  • sugars34g
  • fibre2g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.44g
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  • 2 oranges, grated zest and juice



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

  • 2 tbsp Cointreau
  • 350g mixed dried fruit
  • 100g whole glacé cherry
  • 250g pack marzipan
    Marzipan cake



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

  • 200g soft butter, diced



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

  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a 'complete' food…

For the caramel almonds

  • 50g blanched almond
  • 100g caster sugar

For the icing sugar

  • 125g icing sugar
  • zest 1 orange



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

  • 1-1½ tbsp orange juice


  1. Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Tip the zest and juice into a bowl. Add the Cointreau, mixed fruit and cherries. Meanwhile, grease and line the base and sides of a 2kg loaf tin with baking parchment. Shape the marzipan into a sausage the length of the tin, then roll out to the width with a rolling pin.

  2. Put the butter, sugar, flour and eggs and milk in a bowl and beat with an electric hand-whisk until smooth. Stir in the mixed fruit and their juices. Spoon half the mixture into the loaf tin, then cover with the layer of marzipan. Top with the rest of the cake mixture and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hr 50 mins until risen and firm to the touch. (Take care if you are checking by piercing with a skewer as you may pierce the marzipan and think that the cake is not cooked yet.) Cool in tin, peel away the paper once cold. It will keep wrapped in foil for 2 weeks.

  3. To make the caramel almonds, tip the almonds into a frying pan and heat, swirling the pan so the almonds toast. Tip from the pan then add the sugar to the pan and heat until the sugar turns to a liquid caramel – take care not to heat it too fast or it will burn. Add the almonds, then pour onto a greased baking sheet to set. Will keep in a cool place for 2 days.

  4. Decorate the cake on the day you eat it, as the caramel will dissolve on contact with the cake. Mix the icing sugar with the orange zest and juice until smooth, then pour over the cake. The mix is quite wet and will dribble down the sides. Chop the almond caramel, scatter over the icing and leave until the icing sets.

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Comments, questions and tips

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3rd Apr, 2017
I would like to make this cake for Easter but wonder if I could cut the marzipan in very small pieces and stir it in the mixture with the mixed fruit?
Mary G
8th Apr, 2015
Forgot to say that I made two x 2lb loaf cakes and cooked for 1hr 15 mins.
Mary G
8th Apr, 2015
This is a lovely very simple cake although I found it quite crumbly to cut. Decorated it with chocolate mini eggs as we don't like nuts. Pronounced "cool" by my 8 year old grandson!! Will make again
DJ Mix
27th Mar, 2015
Absolutely delicious, I substituted the Oranges and Cointreau, with Lemons & Rum and it was just perfect. Highly recommended
10th Apr, 2013
Fab! Best simnel recipe I've tried! Will definitely make this again, everyone loved it. Topping made it special and was still delicious and moist a week later. I used a normal deep 8" round cake tin and cooked for time stated. (Also added half tsp mixed spice and quarter tsp nutmeg to the flour).
19th Aug, 2012
A lovely simnel cake, I love the addition of the Cointreau! I made a traditional round with traditional topping (8" round I think) because I couldn't work out the loaf tin size either!
10th Apr, 2012
A delicious cake that the whole family enjoyed! I used half the quantities used in the recipe in a 2lb loaf tin and cooked it for about an hour and a quarter which was just right. I didn't put the almonds on top and it was still fantastic.
13th Nov, 2011
I have made this several times and it is lovely and goes down well.As was suggested i cook it in 2 2lb loaf tins for 1 hour.We have had it instead of xmas cake as we like cooked marzipan rather than raw.It slices well and is not too rich and heavy like a traditional xmas cake.You do not need as much marzipan as stated.
29th Jun, 2010
I have been cooking this cake since I got the magazine in April 2005. Everyone who tries it thinks it is delicious. I have recently modified it to reduce the saturated fat content by: Using one whole egg and 3 egg whites Using dark brown sugar rather than golden caster sugar Replacing butter with 100ml of oil My husband thinks it now tastes even better-if this is possible! I do cook it way more often than once a year
15th Apr, 2010
Beware the odd tin size, as others have commented! I misread it, and used a 2lb loaf tin, and needless to say ended up with burnt cake on the oven base. It took ages to cook too. My hand mixer also struggled with the amount of mixture too - a food mixer might be better. Nice cake, easy to make, but would be better if it were for 2 lb size.


18th Apr, 2014
Help? What are the dimensions of a 2 kg loaf tin? Thank you Gala
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