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Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Rosie's Simnel Cake

After my bout of flu last week, today is the first time I have really ventured into the kitchen to bake up some treats for Easter. I have always baked a Simnel cake for Easter Sunday teatime to cut into and I have played around with my recipe for a few years now having eventually settled for this one I am sharing with you. Of course the spices can be altered to each individual taste by omitting mixed spice and adding cinnamon instead etc.

I always have bags of dried luxury fruit that also contain dried mixed peel in my store cupboard from Sainsbury’s which I find work for me, but there is no reason why you can’t just add the dried fruit of your choice as long as the weight remains the same. If you haven’t got a kitchen blowtorch a preheated grill will brown the top of the marzipan on the cake just as good. Like my dad would have said to me, “where there’s a will there’s a way”, and he was so right! The decorations are optional and you could even place fresh primroses in the centre of the cake before serving to give it that spring feeling.

Next on my list to bake is my Easter Nest Chocolate Cake that I have been baking since the start of time *giggle*. Keep an eye out for this cake coming in the next day or two!

Simnel Cake

225g (8 oz) softened butter
225g (8 oz) soft dark brown sugar
350g (12 oz) Self-raising flour
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp mixed spice
400g (14 oz) luxury mixed dried fruit, see above
50g (2 oz) glace cherries, washed, dried and chopped into quarters
Zest of 1 lemon
100g (4 oz) chopped hazelnuts
4 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp milk
3 x 225g (8 oz) blocks of golden marzipan
Icing sugar, for dusting
1 tbsp apricot jam warmed with 1 tbsp water
For Decoration
A yellow ribbon to fit around the cake
A few sugar flowers (optional)
A little furry yellow Easter chick (optional)
23cm (9 in) cake board

You will need a 20cm (8 in) round springform tin double lined base and sides with greaseproof paper.


Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/325°F/Gas mark 3.

In a large mixing bowl add the flour, nutmeg, mixed spice, dried fruits, lemon zest and nuts coating them through with your hands.

In another large mixing bowl add the butter and sugar and beat together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg mixture a little at a time beating well in; making sure all is combined into the mixture between each addition. Next add the flour mixture from the other bowl and carefully fold through with a large metal spoon adding the milk lastly, working this through until you have a well combined mixture.

Spoon half the mixture into the prepared singform tin, levelling off with a spatula. Roll out one of the blocks of golden marzipan making a circle slightly smaller than the cake tin size, on a lightly dusted surface of icing sugar. Place the marzipan circle on top of the cake mixture in the cake tin, spreading the remaining cake mixture over the top of the marzipan and smoothing down with a spatula.

Place the cake into the bottom of the preheated oven and bake for 2 hours or until fully baked. You can check by inserting a skewer into the centre and if it comes out clean the cake is ready. Leave to fully cool in the tin.

Take the cake out of tin removing all the greaseproof paper and place onto the cake board. On a slightly dusted surface of icing sugar roll out another block of marzipan the size to fit the top of the cake, crimping all the way around the side. With the warmed apricot jam and water spread this over the top of the cake to ‘glue’ the marzipan down. Place the marzipan on top and smooth it down with your hands. Make 11 balls of marzipan out of the remaining marzipan, (you may not require the entire block), sticking these around the edge of the cake. With a kitchen blowtorch slightly brown the top of the marzipan and the marzipan balls or brown under a preheated grill for a few seconds.

To finish off, tie the yellow ribbon around the cake securing the ribbon at the back with a pin but remember to remove before serving. Place the sugar flowers and chick in the centre of the cake to finish off.


Jules said...

Looks fantastic! I'm hoping to get make a simnel cake later on this week.

Maria said...

Rosie one lovely traditional Simnel Cake. Love the added touch of the flowers in the centre ;o)


Rosie said...

Hi Jules,ahh thanks :D Ooh I can't wait to view your Simnel cake too for Easter.

Hi Maria, awe thanks sweetie and the flowers were so much fun to make too :D

Lovely to *see* you both and thanks for calling by!

Rosie x

Pixie said...

this is just beautiful rosie! a stunning creation, I'm glad that you are feeling better and can't wait to see your chocolate cake!

Peter M said...

Rosie's back and with a bang! A lovely Easter cake and a cute little chickadee.

Rosie said...

Hi Pixie, I am so glad to be up and baking once again – I think I was having withdrawal symptoms no baking for a week heehee...

Hi Peter, it’s great to be back and able to bake my Easter treats now, I have so missed my blogging too..

Lovely to *see* you both and thanks for calling by!

Best wishes Rosie x

Antonia said...

What a lovely Simnel cake. I just can't imagine Easter without one. And the fluffy chick is absolutely obligatory in our household too! I spoke to my mother on the phone last night and she was just baking ours - I can't wait to get 'home' to eat a slice!

Rosie said...

Hi Antonia, I'm such a traditional person with having a Simnel cake at Easter too. I can just imagine how much you are looking forward to having a slice of your mum's cake have a lovely Easter at home :D

Thanks for calling by and best wishes

Rosie x

RecipeGirl said...

Absolutely LOVELY!

Cakespy said...

Oh my. I have never met a Simnel cake before, but I think I love it. So cute with the decoration too!

Indigo said...

Ooh, this is a stunner. No one really eats simnel cake in my house, but we usually make one anyway... maybe if ours were more like this they'd have more takers, lol. ^__^

Rosie said...

Awe thanks recipegirl :D

Hi Cakespy, Simnel cake used to be baked by servants serving in large house for Mother’s Day. This is the day they would be given off to visit family and take a cake with them. The mother's would then keep their cakes for Easter.

Hi indigo, my daughter is the same and doesn’t like Simnel cake because she dislikes marzipan.

Thank you all for your lovely comments and lovely to *see* you!
Rosie x

Coffee & Vanilla said...

That is very impresive cake!!
I will make cupcakes for kids and maybe some salad.... all I want this long weekend is to rest ;) I'm tired...
Have a wonderful evening, Margot

Gigi said...

Gorgeous! I have never had the cake before but it sounds very good. I love the idea of decorating with marzipan and all the fruit on the inside.

Kevin said...

That cake looks great! I have never had a Simnel cake. It sounds good.

dabrah said...

What a fabulous looking cake. I love marzipan. It all just looks perfect.

Cakelaw said...

This is just gorgeous Rosie. Happy Easter!

Namratha said...

Ah, another lovely creation..fabulous Rosie dear :)

Hope you are feeling better now.

Happy cook said...

Hi hi I was really expecting you to make this simmel cake as i know it is a tradition in UK.
Looks delicious as always.
Happy Easter

Saswati said...

wow what a beautiful creation....hope you are feeling better now Rosie.

Anonymous said...

Dear Rosie , Fabulous inspired confection of delight darling - I really don't know how you do it .

Katey X

Rosie said...

Hi Margot, you have a lovely rest this weekend sweetie and build your energy levels!

Hi Gigi , I hope sometime you will try out this cake but you must be a marzipan lover ;D

Hi Kevin, this is such a traditional cake here in the U.K. to serve at Easter time.

Hi Dabrah, awe if you love marzipan this cake is for you sweetie :D

Hi Cakelaw, awe thanks & wishing you a very Happy Easter too :D

Hi Namratha, ahh thanks sweetie & I am feeling much better now :D

Hi Happy, geeze girl you have me worked out *giggle* you are so right about this cake being a tradition in the U.K.

Hi Saswati, awe thanks and yes I am much better now – it’s so lovely to getting back into the swing of things again :D

Hi Katey, ahh thanks, I just wish I could send you a slice down to try out

Many thanks for all your lovely comments and best wishes lovely to *see* you all!

Best wishes Rosie x

Dhivya said...

This looks yumm..

Rosie said...

Hi Dhivya, awe thanks :D

Best wishes Rosie x

glamah16 said...

Thats a beautiful cake. I wish I had the energy to bake this Easter!

giz said...

Another cake I know absolutely nothing about. I think I'm just going to have to cross the pond with a notebook and a pen and my digital camera. Just gorgeous.

Uma said...

another wonderful creation.

Rosie said...

Hi Giz,I'm always learning to from my foodie friends on dishes or cakes I have never heard of before. I find I never stop learning and always some great treat to learn about :D

Hi Uma, thank you sweetie :)

Best wishes

Rosie x

Sophie said...

i love your little easter egg cakes :)...i tried making an easter cake this year, but i have yet to perfect the actual cake hehe.