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Easter Dessert Recipe: Grandma's Simnel Cake

by Holly
(Exeter, UK)

Easter Dessert Recipe: Simnel Cake

Easter Dessert Recipe: Simnel Cake

This is our traditional Easter Dessert Recipe, and my Mom can remember her Grandmother making it. It is very rich, and lovely served with a dollop of whipped cream.


You make your own marzipan for the layers, which is a bit of extra work, but it is made of real almonds, and does not have the horrible artificial taste of almond essence.

For the Paste:
1 pound ground almonds. Toast very carefully, just a very light coloring - this gives a nicer flavor to the marzipan, but you don't want it flecked with dark brown bits.

Mix in 1 Pound icing sugar.
Beat two eggs and mix into the sugar/almond mixture. Then knead it until it is smooth and glossy. The more the better.

Put a fist sized ball aside for decorating the Simnel cake. You will make 12 balls or egg-shapes to go on the top of the cake in a circle. The ball represent the 12 apostles.

Dust a board with icing sugar and roll it out and cut 3 circles the same size as your baking tin.


For the Cake:
1 pound of butter
1 pound of castor sugar
1/2 pound sultanas
3/4 pound currants
1/2 pound chopped prunes
1/4 pound candied peel
2 small cups flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
6 eggs

Cream butter and sugar, add in the fruit, flour & BP
Beat the eggs separately and fold into the mixture.

Put a quarter of the mixture into your tin - lined with baking paper.

Layer a marzipan circle on top and continue finishing with a layer of cake mixture.

Cook in a low oven for about 3 1/2 hours. My oven setting is in Celsius and I set it at 150 deg.

When it is still a little warm, heat some apricot jam and spread over the top. Place the marzipan eggs or balls around in a circle. A nice idea is to put some edible gold foil on the eggs to burnish them.

I wish I had a photo, but I can't find one that is good enough to show the cake.

Editors Note:
I have found a picture of a Simnel Cake, but it does not have the layers that Holly describes, and has the marzipan all over the top.

So you will have to use your creativity to imagine a glossy top from the apricot glaze with the marzipan eggs around the edge. I love the idea of putting gold on them!

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