Easter fruit cake with pistachio and bitter orange Recipe

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serves: 8
Skill: medium
Prep: 45 min
Cooking: 1 hr 30 min

Nutrition per portion

Calories 925 kCal 46%
Fat 48g 69%
  -  Saturates 19g 95%
Carbohydrates 103g 46%

This Easter fruit cake with pistachio and bitter orange is a delicious twist on your traditional Easter Simnel cake. Using bitter orange in this sweet Easter fruit cake gives it a really moreish, grown-up flavour.

What is Easter fruit cake?

Also known as Simnel cake, Easter fruit cake is a light cake topped with marzipan and is most commonly eaten at Easter. It’s delicious if you’re looking for easy but impressive Easter cake ideas. 

Simnel cake, how many balls?

Top your Easter fruit cake with 11 marzipan balls to represent the 12 apostles minus Judas.

Simnel cake, how long does it keep?

Easter Simnel cake is best eaten fresh as it will dry out, but could be kept in an airtight container for a week.


  • 2 oranges, skin removed and cut into small pieces, juice reserved
  • 2tbsp caster sugar
  • 400g marzipan, we used Dr. Oetker
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 100g pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 100g blanched whole almonds, roughly chopped
  • 200g sultanas
  • zest 1 lemon, juice reserved
  • 50g icing sugar
  • you will need
  • 8” cake tin, lined with parchment


  • Heat the oven to 200C, Gas 6. Arrange the orange pieces on a baking tray and sprinkle with the caster sugar. Cook for 15 mins, until caramelised.

  • Roll out the marzipan, use the base of the tin to cut out a circle of marzipan, set this to one side. With the remaining marzipan create 11 balls and break the rest into chunks to add into the cake later.

  • To make the cake: cream butter and sugar until light. Beat in the eggs. Add the reserved marzipan pieces and remaining ingredients, except the citrus juices and icing sugar.

  • Pour into the prepared tin, cover lightly with foil (avoiding touching the batter with the foil) and bake for 1 hr 30 mins, or until cooked through. Leave to cool in the tin.

  • Preheat the grill. Make a drizzle from the icing sugar and reserved citrus juices. Poor over the cake, then remove from the tin and arrange the marzipan disc on top and place the balls around the edge. Place a foil circle in the centre of the cake and grill, to char the very edges slightly.

Top Tip for making Easter fruit cake with pistachio and bitter orange

If you have a handheld chef’s blowtorch they work wonderfully for the top, instead of grilling

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