«previous next»

Friday 21st April 2006

Better Late than Never - Simnel Cake!
What did the Easter Bunny bring you?

He brought me a full on delirious fever and flu bug, causing me to spend most of Saturday in bed, most of Sunday in the bathroom, and most of Monday ... you get the picture!

Oh Happy Easter … I very rarely get ill, but when I do, I really do get ILL! I must have been pretty bad, I was turning away chocolate!!! Thankfully I have the love and care of a wonderful man, who helped me through.

I had hoped to post about Simnel cake on Mothering Sunday, unfortunately I didn’t find the time then due to a bereavement in the family, so postponed the idea for Easter, suffice to say I didn’t quite feel up to it at Easter … we’ve had quite a time of it with one thing and another recently. But here it is now, better late than never, right?

Simnel cake is synonymous with the season of Lent and the lead up to Easter, although originally made for Mothering Sunday. Mothering Sunday was in mediaeval times, a day when young servant maids would be allowed return home to honour their mothers, and present them with flowers and / or a Simnel cake.

Mothering Sunday is still celebrated in traditional churches in England, where often a piece of Simnel cake and a small posy of flowers are given to all the women in attendance at the Mothering Sunday family service.

Simnel cake is a light fruit cake, similar to a Christmas cake. It is iced with a layer of marzipan or almond paste. Often a layer is also baked into the middle of the cake. On the top of the cake, a circle of eleven marzipan balls are placed to represent the 11 apostles, omitting Judas who as you will remember from your Sunday School teacher, betrayed Jesus.

  • Almond paste
  • 300 grams of icing sugar, sifted
  • 160 grams of ground almonds
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 5 drops of almond essence
  • Cornflour, to assist rolling
  1. Firstly it’s important to make your own almond paste, don't be tempted to use bought almond fondant because it contains lots of sugar and few almonds - it will turn to liquid in the oven.
  2. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, place the icing sugar and almonds.
  3. Process, slowly dripping in the beaten egg yolk, orange juice and almond essence until the mixture resembles a pliable paste which you can roll out.
  4. Divide the paste in thirds, one portion for inside the cake, one for the top and one for the 11 apostles.
  5. A little dusting of cornflour of the bench makes working and rolling the paste easier.
  6. Take the first third of paste and roll out a circle which is the approximate size of the 20 cm tin and set aside.
  • Simnel Cake
  • 250 grams of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground cinnamon
  • 300 grams of dried currants
  • 250 grams of dried sultanas
  • 70 grams of mixed peel
  • 160 grams of butter, softened
  • 160 grams of caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, (reserve a little of the egg for brushing over the top layer of almond paste!)
  • 200 mls of milk, approximately
  1. Line a 20cm round cake tin with foil and baking parchment.
  2. Preheat oven to 155ºC.
  3. Sift the flour and spices together.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar thoroughly until light and creamy and beat in the eggs one at a time, continue beating until the mixture is very light and fluffy.
  5. Stir the flour, dried fruit and mixed peel into the creamed mixture adding enough milk to make a dropping consistency.
  6. Place half the mixture into the lined cake tin.
  7. Place the previously rolled disc of almond paste over the top.
  8. Cover with the remaining second half of the cake mixture.
  9. Before baking the cake, give the filled cake tin a bang on the bench to settle the mixture and prevent holes in the finished cake.
  10. Bake for 1 hour, (I start checking it from 50 minutes, as sometimes it can tend to dry out just a little too much) or until a thin metal skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  11. Leave the cake to cool.
  12. With half of the remaining almond paste, roll out a second circle which is the approximate size of the 20 cm tin, (or the top of the cake) and set aside.
  13. Remove the foil and baking paper from the cooled cake, and cover the top with the second round of almond paste.
  14. Divide and roll the final third of almond paste into 11 small balls of paste and place evenly around the top of the cake.
  15. Brush the top with a little beaten egg and very lightly brown under the grill until the almond paste turns light golden brown.
  16. Leave to cool before slicing and serving to your deserving mother.

White Nectarine and Purple Basil Mini Cakes Smoking Hot Tuna A Bowl of Sunshine Pear Shaped Something New To Feast Your Eyes On, Berries and Bunnykins Winners of The Edible Journey and Billington's Giveaway
Billingtons Light Muscovado Roasted Radish Brochettes - Sweet Giveaway The Edible Journey - A Taste of Banks Peninsula - Giveaway! The Packaging, The Book and The Little Guy. My Annual Christmas Contribution Sneaky Peek For Later in the Week Chocolate and Marzipan Tea Cakes
Seedlings in Black and White Chicken and Broad Bean White Chili Sunday Showcase on Monday Salted Caramel Custard and Baked Rhubarb with Orange Miners Lettuce with Sundried Tomatoes and Apricots Petites Elderflower Madeleines
Blog Recipes · Cakes Recipes · Culture & Tradition Recipes · Easter Recipes · The Baking Tins Recipes
Home · About Bron · Portfolio · Recipe Index · Unit Converter
RSS Feed · Atom Feed · Twitter · Facebook · Flickr · Bron's Amazon Store