Simnel cake is traditionally served on Easter Sunday in Britain, marking the end of Lent.
- 625 ml cake flour
- 12 ml baking powder
- 10 ml ground cinnamon
- 2 ml nutmeg
- 270 g unsalted butter
- 250 ml caster sugar
- 5 extra-large eggs
- grated rind of 1 orange
- juice of 2 oranges
- 300 ml ground almonds
- 250 ml each currants, sultanas and glacé cherries
- 80 ml mixed citrus peel
- 560 g marzipan
- smooth apricot jam
The cake is decorated with 11 marzipan balls to symbolise the 11 faithful apostles and sometimes has a larger ball in the middle to represent Christ.
Preheat the oven to 170 °C.
Lightly grease a 23 cm springform cake tin with margarine and line the inside with 5 layers of baking paper that protrude 2,5 cm above the tin.
1. Sift together the flour, baking powder and spices.
2. Cream the butter with the caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition.
3. Use your hands to mix the sifted flour mixture, orange rind and juice, almonds, dried fruit and citrus peel into the creamed mixture.
4. Turn half the batter into the tin and spread it evenly.
5. Roll a third of the marzipan into a 22 cm disc and put it on top of the batter in the tin.
6. Spoon the remaining batter on top and spread evenly. Bake the cake for 2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
7. Leave to cool in the tin, then remove and transfer it to a cake platter. Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam. Roll out a 22 cm disc and 11 small balls from the remaining marzipan.
8. Cover the cake with the marzipan disc and place the 11 balls in a circle on top, securing them with apricot jam. Dust the cake with cinnamon.
TIPS • The cake keeps well for about 10 days in an airtight container. • Use milk instead of the orange juice and rind.