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Simnel Cake

Simnel Cake

Easter | 5th April 2012 | By

 

It’s Easter and I haven’t made a simnel cake for a couple of years, so it just seemed the right thing to do. Last year I made these Amaretto cupcakes decorated with crystalised primroses which were delicious, but just not quite the same as a proper Easter simnel cake – I do like my traditions.

Although simnel cakes were traditionally made for Mother’s Day or by serving girls who were allowed this mid-lenten feast day off, they have become more recently associated with Easter. The eleven marzipan balls on the top of the cake are meant to represent eleven of the twelve apostles, the twelfth being Judas Iscariot who, being a traitor is not deemed worthy of remembering!

Simnel Cake

I wanted to make something rather different to the Chocolate Simnel Cake I made last time, which although good, was not quite good enough. I managed to burn the marzipan under the grill and I used shop bought marzipan rather than making my own. This time I based my recipe on the one from the Great British Bake Off: How to Bake by Linda Collister. I decided to substitute some milk chocolate chips and my homemade candied citrus peel for the glace cherries in the recipe – mostly because I didn’t have any cherries, but I did also want to use these two ingredients. I also soaked the fruit in some amaretto and lemon juice for a few hours before adding to the cake which I’m hoping will make for a moister and more delicious offering. For the marzipan I thought I’d try Pam Corbin’s recipe from Cake. The last marzipan I made for the battenberg, using a recipe from Bake & Decorate by Fiona Cairns was a bit difficult to work with.

This is how I did it:

 

 

  • Placed 350g mixed fruit in a bowl and added half a squeezed lemon and a good slug of Amaretto.
  • Covered the bowl with a plate and left on top of our storage heater for three hours so the fruit could soak up the liquid – which it did.
  • Creamed 175g unsalted butter with 175g light muscovado sugar until very light and fluffy.
  • Grated in the zest of a lemon and creamed some more.
  • Broke in a large goose egg (probably equivalent to 4 large eggs, which is what the recipe stated) and beat until combined.
  • Stirred in 50g ground almonds.
  • Sifted in 225g flour (half wholemeal spelt and half white) with 1.5 tsp of baking powder and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt.
  • Folded the dry ingredients into the egg mixture and added a couple of tbsp of sour milk (just because I had it, ordinary milk would have been fine).
  • Folded in the dried fruit.
  • Stirred in 50g chopped milk chocolate (Green&Blacks 34%) and 50g chopped crystallised orange and lemon peel.
  • Placed half of the mixture in a 23 cm cake mould.
  • Patted out 150g shop bought marzipan (as I had some that needed using up) into a large round and placed it on top of the cake mixture.
  • Spooned the remaining mixture on top of the marzipan and leveled the top.
  • Baked at 180C for 20 minutes and then turned down the oven to 170C and baked for a further 40 minutes or so.
  • Left to cool for a few minutes then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Wrapped in greaseproof paper and stored in an airtight tin for a few days.
  • Whisked the smallest duck egg I could find with 2 tbsp of orange liqueur in a large bowl.
  • Added 125g caster sugar and 250g ground almonds and mixed.
  • Sifted in 125g icing sugar and mixed again.
  • Turned out onto a work surface and kneaded until soft.
  • Divided the mixture into rough halves.
  • Rolled the bigger half out into a 23cm circle.
  • Brushed the top of the cake with Amaretto and pressed onto the top of the cake.
  • Cut of the edges with a knife & scored a diamond pattern on the top.
  • Placed under a hot grill for 2 minutes to brown – I was very careful at this point!
  • Divided the remaining mixture into 11 equal sized pieces and rolled into balls.
  • Placed balls around the edge of the cake.
Next time, I think I shall just leave the grill well alone – the marzipan top looked better before it went in than after. However, I have to say the marzipan is absolutely delicious; I had a  very hard time stopping myself eating too much of it. But despite the urge to munch I did have 100g left over from the amount I made, so I will resist temptation and keep it for something else.

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Jill Colonna
    5th April 2012

    Love this! I totally understand you wanting to eat the leftover marzipan- I would have done exactly the same, adore the stuff! Haven’t had simnel cake in years – it looks perfect. Hm. Slug of Amaretto too? Beauty. Have a lovely Easter!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      5th April 2012

      Thank you Jill. Yes, this is a cake made in heaven for marzipan lovers and I think this might just be the best marzipan I’ve ever made. Happy Easter to you too.

  2. Leave a Reply

    manu
    5th April 2012

    This cake looks so yummy!! I love Amaretto!
    Happy Easter

  3. Leave a Reply

    Hannah
    5th April 2012

    Looks beautiful! I dont think I have ever made a Simnel Cake – might have a crack at one in time for Sunday! That leftover marzipan wouldn’t have stood a chance against me though…

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      5th April 2012

      Hannah, this is a great cake for marzipan lovers – the layer in the middle that gets cooked with the cake is just divine.

  4. Leave a Reply

    Dom at Belleau Kitchen
    5th April 2012

    the cake looks beautiful just plain and simple with nothing on top… i’d love to see what it looked like inside… I’ve never made a simnel cake before so I may give it a go this weekend… lovely sunny photo’s to cheer us all up! x

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      5th April 2012

      Thanks Dom. I’m quite looking forward to seeing what it’s like inside too! If you like marzipan, this is one of the best cakes you will ever eat – especially if you make your layers nice and thick.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      5th April 2012

      Thanks Ren – I’m always hopeful on the chocolate front šŸ˜‰ Hope you have a good Easter too.

  5. Leave a Reply

    Katie
    5th April 2012

    Looks gorgeous! I can’t resist marzipan. Love the idea of the little chunks of chocolate throughout and the amaretto! YUM

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      7th April 2012

      Katie, this was the best marzipan I’ve every made and will be my go to recipe from now on. I’m hoping the cake will be as good!

  6. Leave a Reply

    Gloria
    5th April 2012

    This Sinnel Cake look beautiful and I think in made too, but finally I made the carrots cake, but love yours!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      7th April 2012

      It’s so hard to make a choice Gloria when there are so many lovely things we could make.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      7th April 2012

      Thank you Scott, I’m really hoping it will be delicious – at least I know the marzipan is šŸ˜‰

  7. Leave a Reply

    tea with hazel
    5th April 2012

    every easter i look at simnel cakes and i think it would be a great thing to make since it is a traditional easter cake but i never seem to get around to it..i am a marzipan fan so i love the idea of having it cooked in the middle of the cake as well as on top..i hope you have a happy easter..

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      7th April 2012

      If you love marzipan Hazel, this is the cake for you. Bookmark it for next year, it’s one of the best. Happy Easter to you too.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      7th April 2012

      Thank you Caroline, that’s very kind of you. But you really must try a simnel cake – unless you hate marzipan!

  8. Leave a Reply

    Baking Addict
    6th April 2012

    Beautiful simnel cake and definitely a treat for marzipan lovers (not me I’m afraid!) Have a brilliant Easter šŸ™‚

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      7th April 2012

      Ros, thank you. I know marzipan is a love / hate sort of a thing. Happy Easter to you too.

  9. Leave a Reply

    Green Dragonette
    6th April 2012

    I never realised there was a meaning behind the marzipan balls on the top-just thought they were simple decoration-so I’ve learnt something new!

  10. Leave a Reply

    Janice
    6th April 2012

    I’m not making one this year, but have in the past. Enjoy, it looks great.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      7th April 2012

      Thanks Janice – I’d be happy to have one every year, I just don’t get around to making it that often.

  11. Leave a Reply

    Kit @ i-lostinausten
    7th April 2012

    Looks fantastic! I love marzipan & simnel cake! Have not eaten since 2 years!! Wish you & your family a Happy Easter! šŸ™‚

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      11th April 2012

      Thank you Kit – I’m thinking we have a lot in common šŸ˜‰ Hope you had a lovely Easter too.

  12. Leave a Reply

    laura@howtocookgoodfood
    7th April 2012

    What a gorgeous looking cake and making your own marzipan is most impressive!! Happy to see you back in action Choclette. Happy Easter xx

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      11th April 2012

      Thanks very much Laura. This marzipan recipe is now going to be my go too one, it was delicious – cake wasn’t too bad either šŸ˜‰ Hope you had a fun filled Easter.

  13. Leave a Reply

    Jenny Eatwell
    7th April 2012

    I had been pondering on making a Simnel Cake myself, never having done so. Now, having seen yours, I’m wishing I had! lol Happy Easter to you šŸ™‚

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      11th April 2012

      There’s always next year Jenny šŸ™‚ Hope you had a great Easter.

  14. Leave a Reply

    thelittleloaf
    7th April 2012

    Happy Easter! This cake looks absolutely delicious and love the addition of Amaretto. I’ve never made Simnel cake but have promised myself to try at least one of your recipes (am thinking the chocolate one may win!) next year šŸ™‚

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      11th April 2012

      If you like marzipan, a Simnel cake is a must try. The milk chocolate I used in this one didn’t really come through, but just knowing it was there added a note of additional luxury to it.

  15. Leave a Reply

    celia
    8th April 2012

    Very beautiful special-occasion cake, Choc! Happy Easter!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      11th April 2012

      Thank you Celia. It was an occasion with old friends, so very special indeed. Hope you had a lovely Easter.

  16. Leave a Reply

    Johanna GGG
    9th April 2012

    your cake looks spectacular – I am a fan of a vegan marzipan – I tried one for your marzipan challenge last year – rather than one with egg but I do love marzipan! I have toyed with the idea of a simnel cake – and after my chocolate chunk fruit cake at christmas I think one with chocolate would work for me. I quite like that it is a cake that is rich with history as well as rich in dried fruit and marzipan!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      11th April 2012

      Johanna, I do so agree. Festival food is usually really tasty as well as really interesting. I made marzipan with no egg for the cheesecake I made last month, but it did have butter in, so not vegan. Thank you for all your lovely comments.

  17. Leave a Reply

    cityhippyfarmgirl
    10th April 2012

    Marzipan and I are one… well we should be anyway. I still haven’t tried making my own, so do you think I could have a fair fat slice of this cake? pretty please šŸ™‚

  18. Leave a Reply

    Choclette
    11th April 2012

    Oh Brydie, do have a go at making your own, you’re missing a real treat. But in the meantime, a big fat slice of mine coming your way šŸ˜‰

  19. Leave a Reply

    cakeboule
    12th April 2012

    Oh my I so missed the simmnel cake boat this year but then I saw this one and truly it looks so good! I never knew that about hte balls of marzipan on the top (the 11) so a new fact learned today!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      15th April 2012

      There’s always next year – worth making at least once for Easter.

  20. Leave a Reply

    Lucy Taylor
    21st February 2013

    MMM! a marzipan cake with amaretto soaked fruit sounds heaven! Roll on Easter šŸ™‚

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