|Preparation time:||30 minutes|
|Cooking time:||2 hours 30 mins|
This light and delicious fruit cake dates back to mediaeval times and is traditionally made and eaten at Easter. Similar to Christmas cake, it is covered in marzipan and sometimes toasted before eating. On the top of the cake eleven marzipan balls represent the true disciples of Jesus, although occasionally a 12th is placed in the middle to represent the traitor Judas.
Although they are now associated with Easter, Simnel cakes were originally made by girls in service to take home to their mothers on Mothering Sunday.
- 225g soft butter
- 225g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 225g plain flour
- 225g sultanas
- 120g currants
- 110g glace cherries
- Zest of 3 oranges
- Zest of 3 lemons
- 2tsp ground cinnamon
- 450g marzipan
- 2tbs apricot jam
- 1 egg beaten
Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas 2.
Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, beat in the eggs, sift in the flour and cinnamon and fold together gently. Fold in the fruit and zest and pour half the mixture into a buttered and lined 20cm round cake tin. Roll a third of the marzipan into a circle the same size as the cake tin, fit over the mixture in the tin and add the remaining cake mix on top. Bake for 2 1/2 hours (if it is browning too much cover with foil) and allow to cool for 15 minutes before turning onto a wire rack.
When the cake is cold brush the top with apricot jam and cover with the second third of marzipan rolled to the same size as the cake. Decorate with a criss-cross pattern and crimp the edges. Make 11 balls with the remaining marzipan and arrange around the edge of the cake for a traditional treat......