Simnel Cakes

Traditionally baked at Easter time, this symbolic Simnel cake is packed with fruit, spices and marzipan. We called on The Cheshire Cookery School to show us how to master this classic cake. 

Method:

INGREDIENTS

100g                         Glacé cherries

225g                         Butter, softened

225g                         light muscovado sugar or brown sugar

4                               large eggs

225g                         self raising flour

225g                         sultanas

100g                         currants

50g                           chopped candied peel

2                                lemons, grated zest only

2 tsp                         ground mixed spice


FOR THE FILLING AND TOPPING

500g                         marzipan

3 tbsp                       apricot jam


METHOD

1.     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.

2.     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.

3.     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.

4.     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.

5.     Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 35-45 minutes, or until the mixture is well risen, evenly brown and firm to the touch.

6.     If the top is browning too quickly then cover with aluminium foil.  Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.

7.     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.

8.     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 lightly toasted.


Alternatively glaze using a blow torch!

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