A Simnel Cake Recipe for Easter

Thursday, April 13

Before heading to Aviemore for the week I started thinking about something I could bake and take along with me. I will be back home for Easter Sunday but as it is our easter holiday I thought this classic recipe would be perfect. It is easy to do and results in a huge cake so perfect for my big family.

For the almond paste you will need:

250g caster sugar
250g ground almonds
2 free-range eggs, beaten
1 tsp almond essence

and for the cake:

175g butter or margarine
175g soft brown sugar
3 free-range eggs, beaten
175g plain flour
Pinch salt
½ tsp ground mixed spice (optional)
350g mixed raisins, currants and sultanas
55g chopped mixed peel
½ lemon, grated zest only
1-2 tbsp honey
1 free-range egg, beaten for glazing

I pinched this recipe from the BBC food website because it looked simple enough. You start by making the almond paste - I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy this part so I halved the amount and still thought I had plenty to cover the cake. 

Firstly place the sugar and ground almonds in a bowl, add enough beaten egg (you probably won't need it all depending on the size of your eggs) and mix to a fairly soft consistency. Finally add the almond essence and knead for one minute until the paste is smooth and pliable.

Roll out a third of the almond paste to make a circle the right size for your cake tin and reserve the remainder for the cake topping.

For the cake, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs then sift in the flour, salt and mixed spice. Finally, add the mixed dried fruit, peel and grated lemon zest and stir into the mixture. I bought my fruit and peel from Lidl which sells bags of it already premixed which saved buying too many ingredients.

Put half the mixture into a cake tin. Smooth the top and cover with the circle of almond paste. Add the rest of the cake mixture and smooth the top. Bake in the preheated oven at 140°C for 1¾ hours. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack.

Brush the top of the cooled cake with honey (or something similarly sticky) divide the remainder of the almond paste in half; roll out a circle to cover the top of the cake with one half and form 11 small balls with the other half. Place the circle of paste on the jam glaze and set the balls round the edge. Brush the cake topping with a little beaten egg.

Preheat the grill to high. Place the cake onto a baking tray and grill for 1-2 minutes, or until the top of the marzipan begins to brown. 

See my last baking post - Sweet Potato Cake

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