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Easy recipe: Easter simnel cake

  Easter simnel cake (Photo: iStock)

As Easter approaches, there's no better way to celebrate than with a traditional Easter Simnel Cake. With a rich history going back centuries, this marzipan-covered fruitcake is a delicious treat.

The word 'simnel' is derived from the Latin word 'simila', meaning fine flour, highlighting the quality ingredients used in this delicious dessert.

Whether it's enjoyed as the centrepiece of your Easter feast or given as a thoughtful gift, this cake is sure to delight with its blend of spices, fruit and almond goodness.


For the cake:

- 250g of currants

- 250g of sultanas

- 250g of raisins

- 75g of mixed peel

- One lemon zest

- One orange zest

- 150ml brandy (optional)

- 250g of unsalted butter, softened

- 250g of light brown sugar

- Four large eggs

- 300g of all-purpose flour

- One tsp of baking powder

- Two tsp of ground mixed spice

- 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

- 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg

- 100g of ground almonds

- 75g of glace cherries, chopped

For decoration:

- 500g of marzipan

- Two tbsp of apricot jam, warmed

- One egg white

- 250g of icing sugar

- Green food colouring (optional)

- Mini chocolate eggs or marzipan balls (for topping)


Preheat the oven to 150°C. Grease and line a round cake tin with baking paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the currants, sultanas, raisins, mixed zest, lemon zest and orange zest. If using, pour the brandy over the fruit and mix well. Set aside to soak while you prepare the cake mixture.

In another bowl, cream the softened butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, mixed spices, cinnamon and nutmeg. Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture until completely incorporated.

Fold in the ground almonds and chopped cherries until evenly distributed. Finally, fold in the soaked fruit mixture until well incorporated.

Spoon half the cake mixture into the prepared tin and smooth down the top with a spatula.

Roll out a third of the marzipan into a circle slightly smaller than the cake tin. Place this on top of the cake in the tin.

Spoon the rest of the cake mixture over the marzipan, smoothing the surface.

Bake in the preheated oven for three hours, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. If the cake starts to brown too quickly, cover loosely with foil.

Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and leave in the tin to cool for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cake has cooled, brush the top with the warmed apricot jam. Roll out half of the remaining marzipan into a circle the same size as the top of the cake. Gently place this on top of the cake.

Brush the edges of the marzipan with a little whisked egg white and place the marzipan balls around the edge.

If you like, mix a few drops of green food colouring into the icing sugar to make a pale green icing. Drizzle this over the marzipan balls to create the leaves of a spring tree.

Finally, place the mini chocolate eggs or marzipan balls in the centre to complete the decoration.

Allow the icing to set before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

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