Don’t wait a year to try my tasty Simnel cake!


I know Easter is over, but I just had to share a recipe with you that I found for Simnel cake. My son and and I baked it to take up to my sister's house where we spent Easter. My wife doesn’t like fruit cake, but she thought it was yummy!

The little almond paste balls on the top of this cake (which was traditionally associated with Mothering Sunday, but has become an Easter thing) are supposed to represent the Apostles. As my son told me, “Eleven; as Judas wasn’t so nice to Jesus, so we don’t need 12!”

See what you think as you don’t need to wait until Easter next year to try this…


450g mix of sultanas, raisins and currants
50g mixed peel
Juice and grated zest of a lemon
175g butter
175g light muscovado sugar
4 medium free range eggs, beaten
225g plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice
100g flaked almonds, toasted
Apricot jam, preferably warmed and sieved
25g glacé cherries
500g pack marzipan


– Preheat the oven to 170°C, gas mark 3.
– Grease and line the sides and base of a 20cm round, loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment.
– Place the fruit into a bowl with the grated zest and lemon juice and set aside.
– Beat together the butter and sugar for 2 – 3 minutes, ideally with an electric whisk until pale.
– Gradually add the eggs, beating well between each addition – if the mixture begins to curdle, add a little flour.
– Sieve the flour and mixed spice into the mix, then fold in.
– Cut 200g of the marzipan into cubes and fold into the mixture with the fruit and almonds.
– Spoon the mixture into the cake tin, leveling the top.
– Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour 45 minutes – 2 hours. The cake should be firm to the touch and a skewer should come out clean.
– Cool in the tin.

To decorate

– Turn the cake out and remove the baking parchment.
– Roll half the remaining marzipan into a 20cm round tin.
– Brush the top of the cake with the apricot jam and place the rolled marzipan on.
– Roll the remaining marzipan into 11 balls and place around the outside edge of the cake (this is a great bit for the kids to join in with)
– Place under a preheated high grill for 1-2 minutes or until golden. I didn’t manage to get mine under our grill as the decorations were so high, but the solution was to use a blow torch, gently – those DIY shows come in handy!!
– Add whatever other Easter decorations you like (again, great to get the kids to help with this bit).

Enjoy! Simon x


  1. julie April 16, 2009 at 10:44 am -  Reply

    Hi Simon
    I have made Simnel cake every Easter for years. It’s delicious. My recipe id very similar to yours.
    Your right the 12 balls do represent the 12 apostles.
    Unfortunately my husband doesn’t like fruit cake so i share it with my mum and dad. Although he like to eat the marzipan, he he!
    Hope you enjoyed yours.
    All the best,

  2. Carole April 17, 2009 at 7:22 am -  Reply

    Hey Simon
    At 65 years I made my first simnel cake this year! The recipe I found required a layer of marzipan on half the mixture before putting the remaining cake mixture on top. I shall try your recipe it looks very interesting.
    How great you are involving your son. If only everyone played with and taught their children good cooking perhaps we would have less bored and obese teenagers – (and they wouldnt be 65 before making their first simnel cake!)

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