So this year, like last year I decided I wasn’t going to by Easter Eggs for my in-laws. I was going to make another cake. Though this year I wanted to give my self a challenge. So I decided to make a Simnel Cake, only there were two problems. The recipe I had included Brandy and candied peel. I, as a muslim don’t have any alcohol in my food and my mother in law can’t stand candied peel. I had a horrible fear that omitting these to ingredients would have a huge impact on how the cake would taste, but I thought I’d try it anyway. So off I went to the supermarkets to get all my ingredients. Do you know how hard it is to find dried mixed fruit with out candied peel? I ended up having to buy a packet of raisins, a packet of currents and a packet of sultanas.
Anyway here are all the ingredients for the Simnel Cake I made –
* 175g (6oz) butter, plus extra for greasing
* 500g (1lb 2oz) marzipan
* 175g (6oz) light brown sugar
* 4 large eggs
* 250g (8oz) plain flour
* ½ tsp baking powder
* 50g (2oz) ground almonds
* 350g (12oz) mix of raisins, sultanas and currants
* 1 lemon, zest only
* 2tsp mixed spice
* 2tbsp milk
And here’s how I made it –
1. Grease a 18cm (7in) loose-bottomed cake tin with butter and double-line the base and sides. Roll out a third of the marzipan into a round the size of the cake tin and set aside.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add three eggs while beating.
3. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in the almonds. Add the rest of the ingredients, apart from the apricot jam and the last egg.
4. Spoon half the mixture into the cake tin, place the rolled out piece of marzipan on top, pressing lightly, then cover with the rest of the cake mix. Make a slight dip in the top of the mixture to stop it rising when cooking.
5. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven at 170°C (325°F, gas mark 3) for about 90 mins, or until set and nicely browned. Allow to cool.
6. Roll out half the remaining marzipan to the size of the cake. Spread a thin layer of apricot jam on the top of the cake and lightly press the marzipan on top, crimping the edges.
7. Roll the remaining marzipan into 11 balls. Beat the last egg and use to brush the cake top, then stick on the marzipan balls.
8. Put under a medium grill for 1 to 2 mins to glaze.
The finished cake went down a treat on Easter Sunday and for a couple who don’t like fruit cake and complained that we had to have a layer of our wedding cake as a fruit cake, both my husband and I were very tempted to ask for seconds!!! This cake makes a lovely alternative present for Easter as well as a lovely desert after Easter lunch! I hope you will all give it a go, even if you don’t like fruit cake! 🙂