Simnel Cake

Simnel cake is a traditional rich fruit cake recipe made for Easter topped with a layer of marzipan and 11 marzipan balls

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  • Serves 16

  • Prep time 25 mins

  • Cooking time 1 hr 30 mins

  • Calories 406 per serving

  • Prepare ahead yes


  • 500g marzipan
  • 175g butter
  • 175g light muscovado sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 250g plain flour, sifted
  • ½tsp baking powder
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 300g mix of raisins, sultanas and currants
  • 50g candied peel, chopped
  • zest 1 lemon
  • 2tsp mixed spice
  • 2tbsp milk
  • 2tbsp brandy
  • 1tbsp apricot jam

You will need:

  • 18cm loose-bottomed cake tin, greased and double-lined with baking parchment


  1. Preheat the oven to 170 C, 150 C fan, gas 3. 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, then gradually add 3 eggs while beating.
  3. Sift in the flour and baking powder, fold in the almonds, then 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. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes, until nicely browned, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool.
  5. 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 layer of marzipan on, crimping the edges. Roll the remaining marzipan into 11 balls. Beat the last egg and use to brush the cake top, then stick on the marzipan balls. Put the cake under a medium grill for a minute or so to glaze. The cake will keep for up to 7 days in an airtight container. You could also wrap it and store in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.