Thursday, 5 April 2012

Simply scrumptious Simnel Cake for Easter

Grandma’s Easter Simnel Cake
I’ve been getting all the ingredients together for Grandma’s Easter Simnel Cake – it’s one of my favourite cake recipes.  Simnel Cake is said to mark the period at the end of the 40 days of Lent. The word ‘Simnel’ comes from the Latin ‘simila’ meaning wheaten flour which was used to make the cake.  It’s also a traditional cake for Mothering Sunday. As Grandma explains in her recipe, for this Easter cake, it’s traditional to decorate it with 11 marzipan balls on the top marzipan layer to signify Jesus’ 11 disciples, omitting Judas Iscariot.   

Quite a few of you have been in touch saying you are busy making Simnel Cake too so here’s a reminder about the recipe from Grandma’s book. It’s really easy as you simply mix all the cake ingredients in a bowl together apart from the almond paste or marzipan. You can buy ready prepared almond paste/marzipan but, again, it’s easy to make homemade Almond Paste.
Simnel Cake
4oz/110g margarine or butter
3oz/75g sugar
1 tbsp syrup
2oz/50g ground almonds
2 large eggs (save some of egg white)
1lb/450g mixed fruit
2oz/50g chopped peel
2oz/50g glace cherries
Grated rind of one orange or lemon
8oz/225g self raising flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp mixed spice
2-3 tbsp milk
1lb/450g almond paste  
2 tbsps warmed apricot jam

“Mix all of the ingredients except the almond paste together. Turn half the mixture into a well greased tin and on it place one third of the almond paste, rolled out slightly smaller than the cake measurement. Turn the remaining mixture onto this and bake for 2 - 2 ½ hours in a slow oven. ” (300 F, Mark 2, 150 C) “Allow to cool. Then brush the top of the cake with the apricot jam. Roll out the remaining almond paste and place on top of cake. Shape the remaining almond paste into 11 balls and arrange them around the edge of the cake and brush with egg white.  Place under a hot grill or in a very hot oven for 1- 2 minutes to allow top to brown. To finish off, then decorate as you like with Easter chicks and mini chocolate eggs.”

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