Thursday, 5 April 2012

Simply scrumptious Simnel Cake for Easter

Grandma’s Easter Simnel Cake
I’ve been getting ready to bake Grandma’s Easter Simnel Cake. It’s one of my favourite recipes.  Simnel Cake is said to mark the period at the end of the 40 days of Lent. ‘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. It’s traditional to decorate it with 11 marzipan balls on the top marzipan layer to signify 11 of the 12 disciples of Jesus.  
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
Almond Paste
Apricot Jam
Almond Paste 
8oz/ 225g ground almonds
4oz/ 110g caster sugar
4oz/110g icing sugar
A few tablespoons of lemon juice or water
Mix the almonds and sugars together. Add sufficient lemon juice and/or water to make a stiff paste. Chill for 15 to 20 minutes.

 To make the Simnel Cake
Pre heat the oven to 300 F, Mark 2, 150 CMix all of the ingredients except the almond paste together. Some recipes divide the mixture into 2 and place one third of the almond paste, rolled out slightly smaller than the cake measurement with the remaining cake mixture on top. Turn the mixture into a well greased tin and bake for 2 - 2 ½ hours in a slow oven. Allow to cool.
Decorate the cake  
Brush the top of the cake with the apricot jam. Roll out the almond paste and place on top of cake. Shape any 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 with Easter chicks and mini chocolate eggs.
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Have a wonderful Easter!

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