A guest blog post for a Hopeful Home by Esther Linkens, hobby baker. Find the meaning behind and the recipe for an Easter Simnel Cake here.
Today my dear sister in law, Esther, is sharing the recipe for an Easter simnel cake. With Easter coming up, I thought it would be really fun to create some Easter themed posts. Esther is a fantastic hobby baker and she has been taking a lot of commissions in the past year.
I’ve had the honour to see her grow as a baker and to see her mastering different techniques and recipes. If you live in the Cardiff area and would like to commission a birthday or a wedding cake for example. Do make sure to check out her Instagram where she displays a lot of her work.
EASTER SIMNEL CAKE
Hello readers of a Hopeful Home,
Jenna has kindly asked me to share a recipe with you today. We had a discussion about the sort of recipe she wanted to share, and decided to go with a traditional Easter cake seeing it’s so close to Easter. So I’m going to show you a recipe for a Simnel Cake.
A Simnel cake is a type of fruit cake, traditionally with two layers of marzipan, one in the middle and one on the top of the cake. Additionally, the cake is topped with eleven balls of marzipan, said to represent the apostles of Christ minus Judas. It has been eaten as both a rich and sweet treat since medieval times, so it must be quite a cake if we continue to enjoy this Easter treat to this very day.
300g mixed dried fruit (I used a bag of mixed fruit that also contained cranberries and apricots)
1 orange, zested and juiced
500g pack marzipan
250g pack butter, softened
200g light brown soft sugar
4 eggs, plus 1 beaten to glaze
175g plain flour
100g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1 lemon, zested
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g glacé cherries, halved 3 tbsp apricot jam
1. Place the mixed dried fruit in a microwave safe bowl with the orange juice and zest and 2 tbsp of water. Cover with some cling film and microwave for 2 minutes, then leave to cool completely.
2. Heat your oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2.
3. Roll out about 170g of the marzipan and use the base of a deep 20cm cake tin as a template to cut out a circle. Wrap any offcuts and the remaining marzipan and set aside for later.
4. Butter and line the cake tin with some grease proof paper.
5. Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy.
6. Add the eggs, flour, almonds, baking powder, lemon zest, mixed spice and vanilla essence and mix until well combined.
7. Mix in the cooled soaked dried fruit and fold in the cherries.
8. Spoon half the cake mixture into the tin. Top with the disc of marzipan, then the remaining cake mixture, and level the top with a spatula.
9. Bake for 2 hrs. Check it’s cooked by inserting a skewer or a knife to the centre of the cake, if any wet mixture clings to the skewer, return to the oven for another 10 mins, then check again.
10. Cool in the tin for 15 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
11. Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam. Roll out half of the remaining marzipan and use the base of the cake as a template to cut out another disc. Place it on top of the cake and crimp the edges, if you like.
12. Roll the remaining marzipan into 11 equal-sized balls for the apostles. Brush the marzipan with beaten egg and arrange the apostles on the top, brush them with a little egg too.
13. Put under a hot grill for a minute or two until just starting to caramelise – be very careful as the marzipan will burn easily. Leave to cool.
There you have it. An Easter Simnel Cake recipe. A big thank you to Esther for sharing it with us. I find the story behind the eleven marzipan balls so cool and I will definitely have a go at this recipe sometime!
I have some super fun minimalist Easter decoration ideas lined up, so do make sure to tune in for that this coming week. But until then make sure to have a little look at my minimalist and foraged Easter tree idea from last year!