food & drink

Simnell Cake: perfect Easter treats

Written by ClaraLucea

Every year in our house I’m charged with the making of this years Simnell Cake. which for people who have never heard of it, it’s a lighter version of Christmas cake. copious amounts of fruit and marzipan at required or this cake.

It’s one of the few times a year I enjoy using a blowtorch in the kitchen.

Simnell Cake has been around since the Middle ages, it’s associated with Lent Laeterae Sunday, Mother’s day, a day the Lenten fast was relaxed, hence the fruit and sweetness which would have been abstained from during Lent a fast breaking cake.

Later Servants would take this cake home to their mothers Laeterae Sunday, being Mother’s day in the UK. Sometimes it was saved till Easter. In our house we like to have it as the Easter centrepiece as it is a very pretty cake.


  • 200g butter
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 200g flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 400g mixed fruits
  • 60g mixed peel
  • 1 tsp apricot Jam
  • Zest of 1 lemon (lime or orange work too)
  • 500g Marzipan (homemade or shop bought)


  • Cream butter and sugar together until pale.
  • Beat 4 eggs.
  • Add eggs to butter and sugar, mix.
  • Sift flour into cake mix with Lemon zest and mixed spice. Beat until smooth.
  • Add mixed fruit and mixed peel. Mix well.
  • Grease round cake tin, line with greaseproof paper.
  • Roll mazipan to 1cm thick, use cake tin as a guide to cut a circle.
  • Pour/Spoon half the cake mix into tin. level off with wooden spoon.
  • Place marzipan circle, on top of mix, pat slightly till it becomes a cover on the cake.
  • Add other half of cake mix over the marzipan layer. Level off with wooden spoon.
  • Place cake in preheated oven at 140c for 90 – 120 mins.
  • Test with wooden skewer if it comes out clean, it’s ready.
  • Let cool on cake rack.
  • Decorating cake.
  • Brush the apricot jam onto the cool cake, sometimes, you need to warm jam.
  • Cut another circle of marzipan, just to cover top of cake.
  • Fashion twelve small balls from the marzipan place one in the middle of the cake and the others surrounding the central one.
  • Beat the last egg.
  • Glaze cake.
  • Use blowtorch to get pretty brown and black speckles.
  • Tie with ribbon
  • Show off.