Recipe Focus: Easter Special
A star of the show at this time of
year, one recipe to perfect for Easter is Simnel Cake. Eaten since medieval
times, the cakes are often associated with Easter time. Originating from a
custom where girls in domestic service would gift the cakes to their mothers
(for Mother’s Day), the cake would not be eaten until Easter Sunday.
Around this time of year, food stores
were typically quite low, and so the high-calorie, sweet Simnel cake was the
perfect option! After a demise of domestic service after the First World War,
the Simnel Cake began to be associated with Easter in its own right – with the
eleven marzipan balls representing Jesus’ disciples.
Here is our go-to recipe for the
perfect Easter dessert – click through the links to stock up on your
100g Glacé cherries
225g butter, softened
225g light muscovado sugar or brown sugar
4 large eggs
225g self-raising flour
50g chopped candied peel
2 lemons, grated zest only
2 tsp ground mixed spice
filling and topping:
3 tbsp apricot jam
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C / 280F / gas 2. Using
baking parchment, line the base and sides of a 20cm round deep cake tin.
- Cut the cherries into quarters (they can be rather
sticky), add to a sieve and rinse under running water. Drain VERY well and then
dry using kitchen paper.
- Place the cherries in a bowl with the butter,
sugar, eggs, self-raising flour, sultanas, currants, candied peel, lemon zest
and mixed spice and beat well until thoroughly mixed. Pour half of the mixture
into the prepared tin.
- Take one third of the marzipan and roll into balls.
Place these onto the top of the cake mixture. Spoon the remaining cake mixture
on top and smooth out the surface.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 35-45
minutes, or until the mixture is well risen, evenly brown and firm to the
- If the top is browning too quickly then cover with
aluminium foil. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
- When the cake has cooled, brush the top with a
little warmed apricot jam. Roll out half of the remaining marzipan to fit the
top of the cake. Press firmly on the top and crimp the edges to decorate.
- Brush the marzipan with beaten egg and arrange the
marzipan balls around the edge of the cake. Brush the tops of the balls with
the beaten egg and carefully place the cake under a hot grill until the top is
Alternatively, glaze using a blow torch!