Traditional Simnel Cake

07/08/2012 20:06

Simnel Cake is a lovely light fruit cake with a layer of marzipan in the centre and on the top. The traditional decoration for the simnel cake is eleven balls of marzipan arranged in a circle on top, these represent Christ's disciples - Judas is left out for obvious reasons :) Also a candle can be placed in the middle of the cake which represents the "light of Christ".

Serves 16

175g unsalted Butter + extra for greasing
175g light muscovado sugar
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs, beaten
2tsp ground mixed spice
100g currants
100g sultanas
55g chopped mixed peel
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
700g marzipan
3 tbsp apricot jam

Preheat the oven- 150C/300F/GAS 2

Grease and line a 20-cm/8 inch round deep cake tin with baking paper.

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and cream together until light and fluffy.
Gradually beat in the eggs. Sift the flour, baking powder and mixed spice. Use a large metal sppon to fold into the creamed mixture. Stir in the lemon rind, currants, sultanas and mixed peel mixing evenly. Spoon half the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth level.

Roll out 250g of the marzipan to a 20-cm/ 8inch round and place over the mixture in the tin. Add the remaining cake mixture and smooth level.

Bake the cake in oven for 2 1/4 hours or until firm and golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam. Roll out two thirds of the remaining marzipan to a around to cover the top of the cake. Using a knife, mark a lattice design in the surface and pinch the edges to decorate.

Roll the remaining marzipan into 11 small balls and arrange around the edge of the cake. Place under a hot grill for 30 seconds or so to brown lightly. Cool before storing.