- Pre heat the oven to 140C.
- Place the sugar and ground almonds in a bowl with 2 beaten eggs and mix.
- Add the almond essence and knead for a minute. The paste should become smooth and soft
- Divide the marzipan into 3 equal portions.
- Cream the butter and sugar until it becomes pale and fluffy.
- Slowly beat in the eggs until it mixes in well and then sift in the flour, salt and the spices.
- TIP: Dust the dried fruit, peel and grated lemon rind in plain flour. Shake off the excess flour in a sieve. This will ensure the fruit doesn’t sink to the bottom of the cake mix during cooking.
- Stir the dried fruit, peel and rind and essence into the mixture.
- Cut or break up one third of the marzipan into small chunks and fold into the cake mix
- Grease and line an 18cm cake tin. Spoon out the Simnel cake mixture and smooth over the top.
- Leave a small dip in the centre of the cake mixture to allow the cake to rise evenly.
- Place in the pre heated oven for one hour and thirty minutes.
- Remove from the oven and set aside on a cake rack to cool down.
- Brush the top of the cooled cake with apricot jam
- Roll out the second third of the marzipan and cover the top of the cake (18cm)
- With the final third of marzipan split it into 11 equal pieces and roll into balls.
- Place the 11 marzipan balls around the edge of the cake and glaze with beaten egg.
- Put the cake under a hot grill and brown the top of the cake slightly.
- Leave to cool and serve with a dollop of crème fraiche or cream.
The significance of the marzipan balls is to represent the 12 disciples.
1 ball is omitted because of Judas’s betrayal
TIP: you could use Organic prunes, cranberries, apricots or dates for a twist