Simnel cake is the traditional spiced fruit cake served at Easter, topped with 11 marzipan balls and gently toasted before serving.
This recipe uses apricot jam and glacé cherries, as well as currents, sultanas and all-spice.
- 175g (6oz) butter or margarine
- 175g (6oz) soft brown sugar
- 3 medium eggs
- 250g (9oz) self raising flour
- A pinch salt
- ½ tsp mixed spice
- 5 tbsp milk
- 2 tsp golden syrup
- 450g (1lb) currants
- 50g (2oz) raisins
- 100g (4oz) sultanas
- 25g (1oz) glacé cherries, quartered
- 100g (4oz) mixed peel, chopped
- 450g (1lb) almond paste
- 1 egg (beaten - to glaze)
- Apricot jam
- Heat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 20.5cm (8") round cake tin.
- Beat fat and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the three eggs, one at a time, with a little flour, beating well after each addition.
- Stir in salt and spice, add milk and syrup with a little more flour. Mix well.
- Fold in remaining flour and fruit. Place half the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth level.
- Divide the almond paste in two. Roll out one into a 20.5cm (8") round on sugared, greaseproof paper, remove from paper and place on top of the cake mixture. Cover the remaining cake mixture.
- Bake for about 1 hour, then reduce the temperature to 140C/275F/Gas Mark 1 and bake for a further 2½ hours.
- Allow cake to cool. Divide the remaining almond paste in two. Roll one half into a 20.5 cm (8") round, brush cake with apricot jam and place almond paste on top. Roll the remaining paste into 11 small balls.
- Brush top of the simnel cake with beaten egg and place balls of paste round the edge close together, then brush again with egg.
- Place under a hot grill to brown marzipan.