A traditional Easter simnel cake topped with marzipan and of course with a layer of marzipan in the centre. The perfect Easter cake for any marzipan lover!
The marzipan is the best thing about a simnel cake!
The best thing about certain cakes is the marzipan. At Christmas I'm indifferent to the icing but I love the marzipan layer below it. The more marzipan the better and if there's some left over to eat by itself then that's even better.
If that's how you feel too then an Easter simnel cake has to be the perfect cake. Not only does it have a layer of marzipan on the top, that marzipan layer is topped with eleven large balls of marzipan as well as there being a layer of marzipan in the middle of the cake.
You can't get better than that! If only my lovely husband agreed with me, then this would not have been my very first simnel cake.
What ingredients do you need for simnel cake?
To make this cake you'll need:
- butter or margarine - Either are fine so just use whichever you prefer
- Soft brown sugar - This helps to keep the cake moist and adds a caramelly flavour.
- Self-raising flour - If you don't have self raising flour then replace it with plain flour and a large teaspoon of baking powder.
- Mixed spice - If you don't have mixed spice you can make your own using a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
- Dried fruit - A mixture of sultanas, currants and raisins. You don't need to stick to the exact proportions as in the recipe but keep the overall weight the same
- Chopped mixed peel - If you're not a fan of mixed peel then you can miss this out.
- Apricot jam - This is to help the marzipan stick to the cake. If you don't have apricot then raspberry is fine too.
- Marzipan - I normally buy a block of marzipan but feel free to make your own.
Why are there 11 balls of marzipan on a simnel cake?
A simnel cake is a traditional Easter cake and the eleven balls of marzipan represent the eleven disciples, not including Judas Iscariot as he betrayed Jesus.
My new cake stand
As an Easter simnel cake looks really impressive with the toasted marzipan balls on the top, I was pleased to have a chance to use my new VonShef ceramic cake stand with its glass dome.
I'd wanted one of these for a while as I always struggle to put cakes in tins and then take them out to slice them. This is perfect as I can just leave it out on the sideboard, although it does encourage me to keep taking a slice!
Can you adapt this simnel cake recipe?
Feel free to vary the proportions of the different dried fruit and peel. Just keep the overall quantities the same and it will be fine. You can also add glace cherries or other dried fruit such as chopped dried apricot.
If you like zesty cakes then you can also add some lemon zest.
More Easter Recipes
I love baking for my family at Easter. Why not try one of my other Easter recipes too.
Easter Simnel Cake
- 175 g butter or margarine at room tempterature
- 175 g soft brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 175 g self-raising flour
- 2 teaspoon mixed spice
- 100 g sultanas
- 150 g currants
- 100 g raisins
- 55 g chopped mixed peel
- 2 tablespoon apricot jam
- 500 g marzipan
- Preheat the oven to 140C.
- Cream together the butter and the sugar.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Fold in the flour and then the dried fruit and mixed peel.
- Take a third of the marzipan and roll it out into a circle the same size as the cake tin you are using.
- Put half the mixture into a greased and lined 20cm cake tin. Put the circle of marzipan on it and then cover with the rest of the cake mixture.
- Bake the cake for 90 minutes. It's ready when a skewer comes out almost clean.
- Let the cake cool completely.
- Heat the jam for 30 seconds in the microwave. Brush the top of the cake with the melted jam.
- Roll out half of the remaining marzipan and put it on top of the cake. Roll the rest of the marzipan into 11 balls and put them on top of the cake.
- Put the cake under the grill until the marzipan browns slightly.
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Disclosure: I received the VonShef Cake Stand for free but the views about it are my own.