English Simnel Cake Recipe

English Simnel Cake Recipe
Most European countries have special Easter traditions that have been followed for hundreds of years. In England, it’s traditional to serve a Simnel Cake, which is a fruitcake, similar to a Christmas cake, but covered with marzipan and decorated with additional balls of marzipan to represent the 12 apostles minus Judas. The cake is generally laden with raisins, sultanas (golden raisins), and currants, along with mixed candied fruit. Over the years, there have been dozens, even hundreds, of variations of this moist cake, but the following Traditional Easter Simnel Cake is typical of those made in English homes and sold in English bakeries. The cake is very moist, and keeps well when tightly wrapped.
When decorated, the cake makes a nice centerpiece if you’re planning to serve an Easter buffet, or it’s a nice addition to an Easter dessert buffet. You can easily make this cake a week or more ahead of the holiday, or, it can be frozen. The actual decorating and glazing are quick, and can be done the day before Easter, or even that morning if there’s time.

16 Servings

1 1/2 cups almond meal, or very finely ground blanched almonds
1 1/3 granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg

3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice, or pie spice

3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup currants
1/3 cup candied peel
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 cup apricot jam

1 beaten egg
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Spray a 7" springform pan with non-stick spray, line the bottom with parchment, and spray the parchment with non-stick spray; set aside.
  3. Marzipan:Place the almond flour or finely ground almonds and sugar in a food processor; process until very fine and well-mixed.
  4. Add the extract and egg; process until the mixture comes together. If it is very dry, add a bit more of a beaten egg. You can use the remainder of the second beaten egg for glazing at the end.
  5. Divide the mixture into three parts; roll one into a 7" circle. Cover the remaining with a damp towel to avoid drying out.
  6. Cake: Cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy; add the eggs, one at a time and continue beating until very light.
  7. Stir in the flour, salt, and mixed spice; mix well.
  8. Fold in the raisins, golden raisins, currants, mixed peel, orange zest, and lemon zest.
  9. Scoop half of the batter into the prepared pan, top with the rolled out marzipan round, and cover with the remaining batter.
  10. Bake 60-75 minutes, or until set in the middle and the sides begin to pull away from the pan.
  11. Remove from the oven and brush with the apricot jam.
  12. Remove the sides of the springform pan and let cool thoroughly.
  13. When the cake has cooled, roll one portion of the remaining marzipan to a 7" circle; place it on top of the apricot jam.
  14. Divide the remaining portion of the almond paste into 11 pieces and roll them into small balls (to represent the apostles minus Judas) and place them evenly around the outside of the cake.
  15. Brush the almond paste and balls with the beaten egg and place under a broiler until lightly browned.
  16. Cool thoroughly and tie a pretty ribbon around the outside of the cake for decoration.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 272 Calories from Fat 94
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 35% Protein 6% Carb. 59%

Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 10 g
Saturated Fat 6 g
Cholesterol 90 mg
Sodium 186 mg
Total Carbohydrate 40 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 4 g

Vitamin A 9% Vitamin C 2% Calcium 0% Iron 6%

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