Recipes & Tips

Easter Simnel Cake


Easter Simnel Cake

I have been making Simnel Cake for 20 odd years now. It’s a fruit cake with a layer of marzipan baked in the middle and then iced with marzipan. There are 12 marzipan balls to represent the apostles – 11 if you don’t include Judas, which I always do.

What you'll need

One 8” deep cake tin, double lined with greaseproof paper.


  • 6 oz butter (soft )
  • 6 oz soft dark brown sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 8 oz plain flour
  • 1 level teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 8 oz sultanas
  • 8 oz currants
  • 2 oz glace cherries
  • washed
  • dried and roughly chopped
  • 2 oz candied peel
  • finely chopped
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons full fat milk


  • 9 oz ground almonds
  • 9 oz icing sugar
  • 2 egg yolks + 1 yolk to glaze
  • approximately 1 tablespoon Brandy or Whiskey
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly or apricot jam


  1. To make the marzipan, sift the icing sugar into a large bowl and add the ground almonds, mix together and make a well in the centre.
  2. Beat the yolks with the Brandy and a squeeze of lemon juice, add this to the almond mixture and mix together with a spoon and then use your hand to bring the mixture together
  3. Add more lemon juice if needed. Knead lightly and cover with cling film.
  4. Meanwhile cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  5. In a small bowl beat the eggs together and then add slowly to the mixture a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. If the mixture looks like it is going to curdle you can add a spoonful of flour.
  7. When all of the egg has been added , sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in using a metal spoon.
  8. Then add the dried fruits, orange and lemon zest and mixed spice and fold in lightly.
  9. If the mixture seems very heavy you can add some / all of the milk to lighten it.
  10. Spoon half of the mixture into the tin and then using one third of the marzipan roll out a circle of marzipan to fit and place on top of the cake mix.
  11. Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top.
  12. Level off and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 ½ – 3 hours or until the centre feels firm and the cake is golden brown.
  13. Allow to cool and then roll out half of the remaining marzipan in a circle to fit the top.
  14. Brush the surface of the cake with a little warm apricot jam and place the marzipan on top, trim the edges if need be.
  15. Brush with a little beaten egg yolk and place under a hot grill until just beginning to turn golden.
  16. You must watch it at this point as it will burn very quickly.
  17. Roll the remaining marzipan into 12 little balls ( to represent the apostles ) and stick on top using a little of the jam.
  18. Brush the tops with a little of the egg wash and place under the grill again until coloured a little.Add a little circle of foil in the middle to prevent the marzipan burning.

Did you make this recipe?

We’d love to see your work.

Tag @wee_buns on Instagram.