The story behind the Easter Simnel Cake
Originally the Simnel cake was a gift that daughters gave to their mothers on Mothering Sunday. This has now become a traditional Easter cake known as Easter Simnel Cake. The eleven almond balls represent the 11 disciples of Christ excluding Judas Iscariot.
New Easter tradition
If you want to introduce a new family tradition to your Easter this is an easy cake to make. You just throw all the cake ingredients into the mixer and off you go.
Ours is rather on the wonky side. You can definitely tell it is “home made” and actually if you count we accidentally ended up with twelve balls. However it is a yummy cake to eat and great to pull out of the cupboard at Easter.
Let the kids get involved too.
You can make the cake and leave over night, once cooled just wrap it in foil. This may mean you can make decorating your Simnel Cake more of an event. The kids can help to roll out the marzipan and make the marzipan balls.
In the unlikely event you have any left over after Easter, try mixing the cake into slightly softened vanilla ice cream to make a lovely fruity ice cream desert.
This recipe is taken from the Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook which we all rate very highly. The recipes really do work.
Easter Simnel Cake Ingredients
175 g (6 oz) of soft butter or margarine plus extra for greasing)
175 g (6 oz) of light muscovado sugar
175 g (6 0z) self-raising flour
175 g (6oz) sultanas
90 g (3 oz) currants
30 g (1 oz) candied peel roughly chopped. (Alternatively you could use 353 g (15oz) mixed fruit)
90 g (3 oz) glace cherries quartered, rinsed and dried
grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
Filling and Decoration of your Simnel Cake
500 g (1 lb) almond paste
2 tabsp of apricot jam
1 gg white
deep 18 cm (7 in) round loose bottomed cake tin
Instructions on how to make your Simnel Cake
1. Roll out one third of the almond paste using the base of your cake tin as a guide.
2. Grease and line the cake tin – both bottom and sides.
3. Combine all the cake ingredients in a bowl. Beat well until thoroughly blended. Spoon half the cake mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Top with the round of almond paste.
4. Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top and level the surface.
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 150 c (300 F, Gas 2) for two and a quarter hours or until brown and firm to touch.
You may need to cover the top of the cake with grease proof paper if it is browning too quickly.
You can test whether it is cooked by inserting a cocktail stick or skewer into the centre of the cake and if it comes out clean – it is cooked.
6. Leave to cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the tin and leave to cool completely.
7. Warm the jam and use to brush the top of the cake.
Decorating your Simnel Cake
To decorate, roll the out the 2nd third of the almond paste and use the tin to cut out an 18 cm (7 in) round and place on the top of the now completely cold cake.
Roll our the remaining almond paste into 11 even sized balls. (Great job for the kids). Place around the edge of the cake attaching them with egg white.
Brush the top of the balls and the cake with egg white.
Place under a hot grill for 1-2 minutes until the balls are golden. You will need to keep a close eye on the cake.
The cake will serve at least 12 people.