I made this Easter Simnel cake last year and it was so good that I thought that I would make it again so that I could share it with you. Shhh…keep it between us though as you will definitely get the trumps card with your friends for outdoing them on the Easter front!
This recipe is one of Hugh’s recipes except their are a couple of things that I have changed about it.
You will need:-
For the marzipan:
250g ground almonds
100g flaked almonds
250g icing sugar
50g cocoa powder
1 large egg
Juice of half an orange
For the cake mixture:
250g plain flour
2 level tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground mixed spice
200g soft unsalted butter
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges and juice of one orange
3 large eggs
125g chopped mixed peel
1 tbsp smooth jam, marmalade or fruit jelly
Icing sugar to serve
Serves approx 10 people
Time to make approx 20 minutes, 2 – 2 1/2 hours to cook in normal oven, approx 4 hours in Aga
Start by making the marzipan. Put the ground almonds in a bowl and sift in the icing sugar and cocoa. Lightly beat the egg and pour into the mixture and start bringing the ingredients together.
Start pouring in the orange juice but only do a little at a time. You don’t want to pour in too much as otherwise it will become too sticky to handle (voice of experience here!) When you have a smooth lump of marzipan roll it into a bowl and wrap it in cling film and put into the fridge.
Heat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. Grease and line a deep 20cm diameter cake tin.
Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and mixed spice into a mixing bowl. Put the butter, sugar and orange zest into another bowl and beat for a couple of minutes until soft and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of flour to stop it from curdling.
Fold in half the remaining flour and half the orange juice then the rest of the flour and then rest of the orange juice. Now fold in the dried fruit and mixed peel.
Put half the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and level out. Take your marzipan out of the fridge and take just slightly under half. Roll this out into a circle so that it is roughly the same size as your cake tin, use your tin as a guide. Place this on top of the cake mixture. Pour the remaining cake mixture on top of the marzipan and level out with a knife or spoon.
Bake for two to two and a half hours, until the top is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean when poked in. If cooking in a Aga then it’s nicest if you place in the simmering oven on a grid shelf on the lowest set of runners and cook for approximately four hours. Leave the cake to cool completely before removing from the tin.
The remainder of your marzipan is needed for the 11 balls (representing the 12 disciples minus Judas) and another circle of marzipan to cover the top of the cake. Put your flaked almonds onto a baking tray and lightly toast in the oven. Be careful here as you don’t want to burn them. They take approx 2 minutes. Cool slightly and then chop with a knife. Roll out your 11 balls and cover in the flaked almonds. Then roll out the remaining marzipan into a circle. Use a knife to put your marmalade or jam in a smooth layer on top of the cake, now put your marzipan on. This helps it to stick and stay in one place. Dust with icing sugar using a sieve. Now put on your almond marzipan balls. Magic.