For years I have been making the same simnel cake recipe – Easter Simnel Cake. This year, not by choice, I changed it up a little. It was a Saturday afternoon and it was lashing rain. I had zero intention of leaving the house so I made do with whatever ingredients were available. Hence, the 2023 edition of the Simnel cake was born.
The Simnel cake is a traditional cake. Typically it was made by girls to give to their mothers on mother’s day. The traditional decoration is simply a marzipan topping, with one marzipan ball in the middle and eleven surrounding it to represent Jesus’ eleven faithful disciples. I tried the marzipan decoration one year but decided it’s more fun using Easter as an opportunity to get creative.
Hope you enjoy!
200g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
260g self-raising flour
100g glace cherries
Dark rum (optional)
Marmalade, marzipan, icing and extras to decorate (optional)
Prepare an 7.5inch/18cm round cake tin by lining the base and the sides with greaseproof paper. Tie a double band of brown paper or newspaper around the outside of the tin. Preheat the oven to 160C.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. One-by-one, beat in the eggs and 4 tbsp dark rum, if using. Gradually fold in the flour and fruit.
Pour half the mixture into the prepared tin.
Take one-third of the marzipan and roll it out to a circle the size of the tin and then place on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top and level the surface.
Bake for approximately two hours until the cake is firm to touch, or, when pierced with a skewer, it comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and pierce all over the top with a skewer while still hot. Drizzle over 2 tbsp dark rum. Allow to cool completely in the tin before wrapping in a greaseproof paper, followed by tin foil. Every 2-3 weeks, drizzle with another 1-2 tbsp dark rum up until two weeks prior to decorating.
If decorating, brush the cake with a layer of “no-bits” marmalade and drape over the remaining marzipan. Brush the marzipan with a layer of water and drape over the icing. Decorate as you wish.