Simnel Cake

As a country we seem to love fruit cakes for celebrations.  Christmas cake and wedding cake and then this Simnel Cake for Easter.  There are signs that times are a changing of course with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry choosing a lighter Elderflower and Lemon Cake for their wedding but I do hope we keep the Simnel Cake as part of our Easter traditions just as it has been for centuries.

Simnel cake has a layer of marzipan running through the middle and with yet more marzipan, this time toasted, on top.  It seems to be a particular favourite with everyone I know.  Not as rich as Christmas it is traditionally  nowadays made for Easter with the eleven marzipan balls on top representing the apostles minus Judas.

The marzipan centre makes the cake very moist as it kind of melts into the cake.  The marzipan on the top is toasted with a blow torch which gives the whole cake another dimension.  I can’t resist adding chocolate mini eggs to the centre but they really aren’t necessary. Just cute!


  • 175g raisins
  • 175g sultanas
  • 125g natural glacé cherries, quartered
  • 125g dried ready to eat apricots, each cut into six
  • 9tbs sweet sherry
  • 150g soft butter
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • zest of a lemon
  • zest of an orange
  • 225g plain flour
  • 75g ground almond
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 400g marzipan
  • 2tbsp apricot jam

Optional decoration of mini eggs and maybe fluffy chicks


  1. The day before you want to make the cake put the raisins and sultanas into a bowl along with the apricots and glacé cherries. Stir in the sweet sherry. Cover and leave overnight so the dried fruit can plump up.
  2. The next day cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  3. Whilst mixer is creaming, line an 18cm loose bottomed cake tin (sides and base) with baking parchment and heat oven to 170c or 160c fan
  4. Add the eggs gradually, adding a tablespoon of the flour between each addition to help stop mixture from curdling ( don’t worry if it does curdle, the cake will come right when you fold in rest of flour)
    Grate in zest of lemon and orange and combine thoroughly
  5. Begin to fold in flour, ground almonds, baking powder and mixed spice. Don’t worry if it’s a little stiff as you can now add the soaked fruits down its juices to the mix which, when you continue, will loosen the mix to a dropping consistency (add a tablespoon of milk if mix doesn’t drop off spoon)
  6. Put half of the mix into the prepared tin and smooth
  7. Roll 200g of the marzipan into a circle that will fit neatly inside the tin and press on top
  8. Add remaining mix and smooth again
  9. Place cake in preheated oven and Bake in oven for an hour and a half to two hours until cake is springy in centre
  10. Allow to cool completely in tin before unwrapping
  11. Turn cake upside down and spread top with the apricot jam
  12. Roll 100g of remaining marzipan into a disc to cover the top of the cake and put on top
  13. Divide the last of marzipan into eleven balls using a little water press each round the edge of the cake
  14. With a blow torch scorch the marzipan until toasted
  15. Decorate with mini eggs and mini fluffy chicks if desired


  1. What a beautiful fruity cake!! Sort of the cake version of hot cross buns. You are such an amazing baker Rosie. Are you making Easter dinner this year?? We have having family in and a fruity cake like this would be perfect. Hope your Easter is blessed and a sunny happy day there! xox

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