Easter Simnel Cake
  • 100g natural glacé cherries
  • 225g softened buuter
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 225g sultanas
  • 100g currants
  • 50g chopped candied peel
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp of ground mixed spice
For the filling, topping and decoration
  • 500g golden marzipan
  • icing sugar, for rolling out the marzipan
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam
  • 1 large free-range egg, beaten
  • small handful of chocolate eggs (I used Mini Eggs)
  • length of ribbon (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 130 deg. C (fan) Grease a 7 inch deep round cake tin (Mary used 8 inch, but a smaller tin will give you a taller cake) and then line the base and sides with baking parchment.
  2. Cut the cherries into quarters and rinse well in sieve. Drain and then dry thoroughly on kitchen paper.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, to stop the mixture from curdling. Sift in the flour and mix a little at a time. Stir in the fruit, peel, zest and mixed spice until well combined. Spoon half the mixture into the tin and level the surface.
  4. Cut one third of the marzipan and roll it out on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to a circle a bit larger than the tin. Place the tin on top of the marzipan and cut around it with a sharp knife. Place this circle of marzipan on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top and smooth the surface.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 2 ½ hours until well-risen, brown and firm to touch. If the cake looks too brown after one hour, cover the top with foil. Leave the cake to cool in its tin for 10 minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and leave to cool on a wire rack (or leave to cool completely in its tin, as I did.)
  6. When cool, warm the apricot jam in a small saucepan. Brush the top of the cake with some of the jam and roll out half of the remaining marzipan into a circle to fit on top of the cake, in the same way as before. Crimp the edges with your fingers to decorate. Form the remaining marzipan into 12 balls (the 12th ball will be used to create the 'nest.')
  7. Brush the top of the marzipan with the beaten egg. Arrange 11 balls around the edge of the cake. Brush the tops of the balls with the beaten egg. Using a cook's blowtorch, toast the top of the marzipan and balls (or place under a hot grill.)
  8. Cut the 12th ball in half and roll into two long ropes. Twist the ropes together and bend into a small circle. Place this in the centre of the cake and top with the chocolate eggs. You may also like to tie a ribbon around the centre of the cake.
Recipe by The Foodie's Way at http://thefoodiesway.co.uk/easter-simnel-cake/