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Simnel Cake

Simnel cake has been made for many years and is traditionally made for easter, the marzipan is toasted after the cake is topped.

11 Balls of marzipan are circled around the fruit cake to represent the apostles, the 12th being left off as Judas was the betrayer of jesus.

Ingredients for the cake:

For the marzipan or almond paste:

To glaze the cake

How to make Simnel Cake

  1. Prepare an 18cm (7 inch) deep circular cake tin by greasing and lining the base and the sides. 
  2. To make the marzipan, mix together the caster sugar, ground almonds, Steenbergs natural almond essence and beaten egg and knead with your hands to a smooth pliable mix.  If it feels too gooey, just add a bit more almond and knead some more.  Roll out a third of the marzipan  – almond paste - into a circle and set aside.  Reserve the remainder for topping the cooked cake.
  3. Now put the oven on and preheat to 140oC / 275oF.
  4. To make the cake, cream the butter and muscovado sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs a little at a time.  Sieve together the plain flour, sea salt and Steenbergs mixed spice together and add to the mixture alternately with the dried fruit, mixed peel and grated rind, mixing all the ingredients together.
  5. Put half the mixture into the cake tin, then smooth the top and cover with the circle of almond paste.  Add the rest of the cake mixture and smooth the top, hollowing out a small hole in the centre.  Bake in the oven for 1½ hours.
  6. When the cake has cooled, brush the top with apricot jam.  Now put the oven on and preheat to 180oC / 350oF.  Then with the reserved marzipan, roll 11 small balls (for the good disciples and definitely smaller than the massive balls that I made) and then roll out the rest of the almond paste over the top of the cake.  Now place the almond paste balls evenly around the edge of the cake.  Return the cake to the oven and bake for 10 minutes until the paste has gone slightly brown.
  7. Leave for a couple of weeks to mature and then eat and enjoy.

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