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Recipe: Easter Simnel Cake

Traditionally eaten over the Easter holiday, Simnel cake is a delicious fruit cake topped with a smooth layer of marzipan. Delight your guests this Easter by following our Head Pastry Chef’s recipe...

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For the fruit cake 

100g glacé cherries

225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

225g light muscovado sugar

4 large free-range eggs

225g self-raising flour

225g sultanas

100g currants

50g chopped candied peel

2 lemons, grated zest only

2 tsp ground mixed spice

For the filling and topping 

450g marzipan

1–2 tbsp apricot jam, warmed

1 free-range egg, beaten, for glazing


  1. Preheat the oven to 150C or 130C if using a fan oven.
  2. Grease and line a 20cm/8inch cake tin.
  3. Cut the cherries into quarters, put in a sieve and rinse under running water. Drain well then dry thoroughly on kitchen paper.
  4. Place the cherries in a bowl with the butter, sugar, eggs, self-raising flour, sultanas, currants, candied peel, lemon zest and mixed spice and beat well until thoroughly mixed. Pour half the mixture into the prepared tin.
  5. Take one-third of the marzipan and roll it out into 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.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 2½ hours, or until well risen, evenly brown and firm to the touch. Cover with aluminium foil after 1 hour if the top is browning too quickly. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out, peel off the paper and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  7. When the cake is cool, brush the top with the apricot jam and roll out half of the remaining marzipan to fit the top. Press firmly on the top and crimp the edges to decorate. Mark a criss-cross pattern on the marzipan with a sharp knife. Form the remaining marzipan into 11 balls.
  8. Brush the marzipan with the beaten egg and arrange the marzipan balls around the edge of the cake. Brush the tops of the balls with beaten egg and then carefully place the cake under a hot grill until the top is lightly toasted.
  9. Enjoy!

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