Easter Simnel Cake
Member recipe

Easter Simnel Cake

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(7 ratings)

Member recipe by


Serves 1 - 12 Slices

Simnel cake is a light fruit cake, similar to a Christmas cake, covered in marzipan, and eaten at Easter in Great Britain and Ireland.

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  • * 225g sultanas
  • * 100g currants
  • * 50g mixed peel
  • * juice of 1 lemon (optional
  • * 50 ml brandy (optional)
  • * 50 ml orange juice (optional)
  • * 225g soft butter
  • * 225g light muscovado sugar
  • * 4 eggs
  • * 225g self-raising flour
  • * 100g glace cherries, rinsed in hot water, dried and quartered
  • * grated rind of 2 lemons
  • * 2 tsp mixed spice
  • For the topping:
  • * 450g best quality marzipan
  • * 2tbsp apricot jam
  • * 1 egg beaten, to glaze


    1. Two days before you intend to make the cake place the sultanas, currants and mixed peel in a bowl with the lemon juice, brandy and orange juice, mixing it well and leaving to one side for the fruit to soak up the liquid. This will produce a much moister cake when baked, but can be omitted.
    2. Pre-heat the oven to 150C/Gas 2. Line the base and sides of a 20cm deep round tin with silicone paper.
    3. Measure the rest of the cake ingredients in with the fruit and beat well until thoroughly mixed. Put half of this mixture in the bottom of the cake tin and level it off so that it is as flat as possible. Divide the marzipan into three equal parts and roll out one piece into a circle 20cm diameter, and put it on the top of the cake mixture. Gently spoon on the rest of the mixture, levelling the surface again.
    4. Bake for approximately 2 ½ hours until brown, well risen and firm to touch. Allow to cool for 15 mins and then turn out to cool on a wire rack.
    5. When the cake is cool, warm up the apricot jam in a small saucepan and brush the top of the cake with it. Roll out half of the remaining marzipan to the size of the top of the cake. Press it down firmly and push the edges down with your thumb to crimp it round the sides. Roll the rest of the marzipan into eleven balls to represent the Apostles, without Judas. Brush the top of the marzipan with the beaten egg and place the balls evenly around the outside, brushing the tops of the balls as well. Place the whole cake under a hot grill until the marzipan turns a light golden colour.

Comments, questions and tips

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21st Apr, 2019
Yum yum in my tum. This got rave reviews from all that tasted it. I used all the optional ingredients but replaced brandy with more orange juice. I only soaked the fruit for a few hours but all the liquid was absorbed in that time and the cake still beautifully moist. I used chopped dried apricots in place of the mixed peel just because I had them in the cupboard. When I make it again, I will tie some brown paper around the outside of the cake tin to stop the sides getting too cooked before the inside, and I will make sure I stick a skewer down to the bottom of the middle even when it feels firm to the touch as mine could have done with a bit longer in the oven (we have a fierce oven so this was before the 2h30m cooking time advised). I laid a sheet of parchment over the top of the cake when it was in the oven so the top didn’t get too overdone and this worked well. Thanks so much for the fab recipe - it went down a storm and I shall definitely be making it again. A lovely fruit cake.
Jen Henley's picture
Jen Henley
29th Mar, 2019
Can this cake be made in advance same as a Christmas cake?
1st Apr, 2015
Lovely flavour, very moist; family rated thos highly. Used slightly less marzipan for the balls as is very sweet and didn't bother with the beaten egg to glaze.
31st Mar, 2015
Very moist cake, lovely flavour; family enjoyed this.
3rd Apr, 2013
Great recipe, worth soaking the fruit 2 days before. Tip for the jam is to push through a sieve first to prevent any lumps when spreading. Overall a fairly easy recipe, lovely taste and the marzipan in the middle gives that extra moist.
31st Mar, 2013
This is the most delicious, moist cake. I've tried other simnel cake recipes and this is by far the best.
1st Apr, 2012
Surprised that this recipe makes 20 cakes! See note next to "Moderately Easy"!
Emily Metcalfe Sibley's picture
Emily Metcalfe ...
25th Oct, 2019
Has anybody tried to keep this cake? I made it at Easter and it was the nicest fruit cake I had ever tasted. Would love to use this recipe as a Christmas cake.
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