A simnel cake, but not as you know it! We’ve taken this medieval classic cake and given it an extremely sophisticated chocolate makeover.
We’ve replaced the same-old dried fruit with sour cherries and introduced plump, sweet and sour Amarena cherries, chocolate and cinnamon for a truly decadent Easter treat. With layers on homemade chocolate marzipan baked into each cake, this double-heighted showstopper will certainly impress your guests.
Traditionally, servant girls with gift the cake to their mothers on Mothering Sunday (take a look at our other Mother’s Day recipes), also known as Simnel Sunday. It was a time of year when food was scarce and the high calorie cake provided much needed nutrients. Its not typically enjoyed over the whole Easter period.
Looking for easy Easter cake recipes? Try baking one of our favourite easy Easter cakes.
- for the chocolate marzipan:
- 300g ground almonds
- 250g icing sugar
- 60g cocoa powder
- 120g glucose
- 50ml kirsch or amaretto
- for the cake:
- 400g dried sour cherries
- 400g Amarena cherries or cherries in kirsch, chopped
- 100ml kirsch or amaretto
- 350g unsalted butter
- 350g dark brown sugar
- 6 eggs at room temperature
- 350g plain flour
- 90g cocoa powder
- 2tsp baking powder
- 200g ground almonds
- 2tsp ground cinnamon
- for the ganache:
- 3tbsp cherry jam, to assemble
- 150ml single cream
- 150g dark chocolate
- you will need:
- 2 x 18cm cake tins, double-lined with baking parchment
Heat the oven to 170C/Gas 3. For the chocolate marzipan, put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it forms a ball; you’ll need to add more glucose if the marzipan isn’t coming together. Divide into 5 equal-sized balls and roll 4 into 18cm discs. Divide the remaining marzipan ball into 11 smaller balls for decoration.
For the cake, soak the cherries in kirsch or amaretto and leave for at least 1 hr. Cream the butter and sugar together until light, then add the eggs gradually until the mix is smooth. Sift the our, cocoa powder, baking powder, and ground almonds and cinnamon together, then fold into the egg mix, followed by the cherries.
Fill each cake tin halfway with cake mix and add a disc of marzipan. Add the remaining cake mix and smooth the tops with the back of a spoon. Bake in the middle of the oven for 2-21⁄2 hrs, or until the tops of the cakes spring back when pressed. Leave to cool.
To assemble, trim the tops of each cake, heat the jam and brush over each one, leaving some for the top. Placea disc of marzipan on top of one cake and smooth. Place the second cake, upside-down, on top of the marzipan layer, so the top of the cake will be completely at. Brush the top with jam, add the final marzipan disc and arrange the 11 marzipan balls around the edge.
For the ganache, heat the cream, then pour over the dark chocolate and mix until melted. Cool the chocolate slightly and then pour onto the centre of cake, so it drips down the edges.
Top Tip for making Chocolate and cherry simnel cake
This recipe can be halved if you would just like to make 1 cake