Simnel cake is a traditional dessert of the Lent period that has kept its popularity throughout the centuries.
Originally it was made on the fourth Sunday of Lent, to ease the restrictions, and thus it has become associated with Mothering Sunday. Nowadays it is eaten all through Lent and in Easter.
Here we have an easy way to bake it, Easter is just around the corner.
- 250 g mixed dried fruit (sultanas, currants, raisins and candied orange peel)
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- 500 g pack marzipan
- 250 g pack unsalted butter, softened
- 200 g light brown muscovado sugar
- 4 eggs, plus 1 beaten to glaze
- 175 g self raising flour
- 100 g ground almonds
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100 g glacé cherries, halved
- 3 tbsp apricot jam
Preheat oven 160C/320F/Gas 3.
– Grease and line the base and sides of an 20cm/8in deep, round cake tin with baking parchment.
– Measure all the cake ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat well until thoroughly blended. Place half the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
– Take one third of the marzipan and roll it into a circle the same size as the cake tin, place the circle on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the remaining mixture on top of the marzipan and level the surface.
– Bake for about 110 minutes to two hours, or until golden brown and firm in the middle. If the cake is getting too brown, cover it with a piece of foil. Allow the cake to cool in the tin before turning it onto a cooling rack.
– When the cake is cool, brush the top with the warmed apricot jam. Roll out half the remaining marzipan to the size of the cake and sit it on the top. Make 11 even sized balls from the remaining marzipan and arrange them around the edge.
– Brush with beaten egg and glaze under a hot grill for about five minutes, turning the cake round so it browns evenly, so the marzipan is a bit brown all over.
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