Easter Simnel Cake
What is Simnel cake? A rich fruit cake which includes lumps of marzipan stirred into the mixture that melts and combines with all the other flavours during cooking. It is then finished off with more marzipan. As it’s now popular at Easter, sugared primroses make a good decoration, for stockists click here or see the Sugared Flowers recipe below. to make them yourself.
|225g natural marzipan (for homemade Marzipan, see related recipe below)|
|225g plain flour|
|1 level teaspoon baking powder|
|1 level teaspoon mixed spice|
|175g spreadable butter|
|175g golden caster sugar|
|3 large eggs|
|3 tablespoons milk|
|50g glacé cherries, rinsed, dried, and cut into quarters|
|50g unblanched almonds, roasted and chopped (see method)|
|50g chopped candied peel|
|zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon|
|For the topping:|
|300g natural marzipan|
|1 rounded dessertspoon apricot jam|
|Pre-heat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2|
|Need help with conversions?|
|Equipment: A 20cm round loose-based cake tin, greased with base and side lined plus some baking parchment.|
This recipe is from Delia's Cakes
First of all, when the oven is pre-heated you need to roast the almonds, just spread them out on a tray and pop them into the oven near the centre for 8 minutes – use a timer to help you remember.
Then cut the marzipan into 1cm cubes and then toss them in 2 level tablespoons of flour (taken from the measured amount above).
Now sift the remaining flour, the baking powder and spice into a roomy mixing bowl, holding the sieve quite high to give the flour a good airing as it goes down, then add the butter, caster sugar and eggs.
Now, using an electric hand whisk, mix to a smooth, creamy consistency for about 1 minute. Then whisk in the milk.
Take a metal spoon and gently fold in the fruit, nuts, candied peel and grated orange and lemon zests followed by the marzipan cubes.
Now spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level it out with the back of the spoon.
Finally, take a double square of baking parchment with a 50p-sized hole in the centre (for extra protection during cooking) and place this not on the top of the mixture itself but on the rim of the liner.
Bake the cake near the centre of the oven for about 2 hours 40 minutes – or until the centre is firm and springy.
Leave the cake in the tin to cool for 15 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack.
Roll out the marzipan to a round approximately 22cm in diameter.
Brush the top of the cooled cake with apricot jam, top with the round of marzipan, and scallop the edges using your thumb and forefinger.
To toast the marzipan: cut out a circle of foil to cover the top of the cake inside the scalloped edge and place the cake under a pre-heated grill so the marzipan is 10cm from the heat source for 1½–2 minutes (watching carefully) until the scalloped edge is toasted to a golden brown. Alternatively this works well with a cooks’ blowtorch.
Finally, top with the sugared flowers.
This cake keeps beautifully stored in an airtight tin.
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