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A classic easter bake, Simnel Cake. Full of fruit and flavour, with marzipan on top and inside… delicious! 

When it comes to easter baking, I am quite the fan. I have so many bakes under my easter baking section now that I don’t really know what to pick when I have a craving. There are too many delicious choices and yet, I wanted a classic bake added in there. After the downright success of my Christmas cake, I knew I needed to do a simnel cake as well. 

Simnel Cake

At Christmas time I posted my Christmas Cake recipe and oh wow golly it went a little bit mad! I couldn’t really keep up with the Christmas cake hype to be honest and never thought so many people would make it. The recipe has a lot of ingredients, and takes it’s time to make, but it’s worth it.

Simnel cake, for me anyway, is very similar to Christmas cake in the flavours and ideas. I’ve already had many people ask if they can use my Christmas cake recipe for an easter fruit cake, so I thought I would post a Simnel cake anyway! 

This recipe is a classic bake, with the same dense fruity texture, but with added marzipan. A layer in the middle, a layer on top, and also 11 balls of marzipan (meant to represent the apostles) and it’s so easy to make. 

The fruit

When it comes to the dried fruit, I did stick to a similar idea as the Christmas cake by using a mixture of raisins, currant, sultanas, mixed peel and glacé cherries. Yes, I know it sounds like a lot, but if you’re going to make a fruit cake you want it to be fruity. 

Of course, if you happen to have no raisins in for example, you can replace them with more currants and sultanas. You just want the weight of the fruit to be about the same so that the ratios of the cake work. 

I also added in the zest and juice of an orange to this recipe, as it’s such a classic addition, but I know a lot of people can’t consume orange. If this is the case, or you just fancy it, you can use lemon instead. 

The other ingredients

After you have prepped all of the fruit, the rest of the ingredients are so easy to prep. It’s basically like mixing a normal cake mixture again, and then you mix in the fruit. 

  • Butter – where this mixture mixes slightly different, and you don’t melt the butter, either a baking spread or block butter works well 
  • Sugar – I use light brown soft sugar as I do in so many cakes, but most other sugars work well 
  • Eggs – I use 3 medium eggs 
  • Flour – this time, I used plain flour. However, I then did add a raising agent. You can use self raising flour and no baking powder if needed
  • Almonds – a key part of the bake. It’s delicious, and there is already almonds in the marzipan 
  • Raising agent – as mentioned above, I use a little baking powder in this to prevent a completely stodgy cake 
  • Spices – a lovely mixture of mixed spice, ginger and cinnamon for a delicious mix 

Marzipan 

So basically a simnel cake and marzipan come hand in hand, and you can’t really have a classic simnel cake without it. I know, marzipan isn’t to everyone’s taste, but it really is best. 

You can easily use shop bought marzipan, and often it’s found in 500g packets which is ideal. You tend to split it into three portions, roll two of these into 8″ circles to match the size of the cake, and then use the rest for the decoration. 

If you really don’t want to use it, you can leave it out and decorate differently. 

Baking

The actual baking of the simnel cake is so easy, as you basically have to pour half of the cake mixture into the tin, add a layer of marzipan, add the second half of the cake mix… and bake. It’s super easy because it’s such an easy cake mix to put together, and once baking, there’s very little left to do. 

Fruit cake can vary slightly in baking times naturally, but I always bake mine for two hours at a lower temp. The lower temp of the oven makes sure that the cake stays moist, it doesn’t dry out the fruit, and creates the perfect texture. 

The marzipan layer will make the cake look a little odd in the middle but it’s just the marzipan, so no worries. You can see cake is bake throughout otherwise, and honestly… it was DELICIOUS. 

Decoration 

The decoration is quite individual depending on who makes it. They tend to be similar in the sense that I use apricot jam to stick the marzipan to the cake, and follow the same idea of the marzipan balls representing the apostles. 

I brush the apricot jam over the top, and press down the second marzipan circle of the recipe. You can decorate it more heavily here by crimping the edges of the marzipan, but I didn’t myself. I then brushed the top with egg wash, as this will help it brown, and then rolled the rest of the marzipan into the 11 balls. 

Place the marzipan balls around the edge of the cake, and stick down. Brush the top of these with egg wash as well, and then you need the grill. I place my cake onto a baking try to make this easier, turn my grill on, and just watch it start to brown. It may take a while to look like it’s doing anything, but it will turn brown suddenly. After that, it’s ready to devour! 

Tips & Tricks

  • If you want a boozy cake, follow my Christmas cake recipe and add the marzipan to that one
  • This cake will last for 14+ days easily, if not longer. But I do tend to eat it quicker than that. 
  • I use this cake tin for my bake 
  • You can find marzipan in some supermarkets, or online easily. 

Simnel Cake!

A classic easter bake, Simnel Cake. Full of fruit and flavour, with marzipan on top and inside... delicious! 
Print Pin Rate
Category: easter
Type: Cakes
Keyword: Easter, fruit
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Cooling & Decorating: 2 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12 slices
Author: Jane's Patisserie

Ingredients

  • 75 g raisins
  • 75 g sultanas
  • 75 g currants
  • 50 g mixed peel
  • 100 g glacé cherries (halved)
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 225 g unsalted butter
  • 225 g light brown soft sugar
  • 3 medium eggs (plus extra)
  • 150 g plain flour
  • 150 g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 tbsp apricot jam
  • 500 g marzipan

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 150ºc/130ºc fan and double line a deep 8” cake tin 
  • Cut out a circle of marzipan that matches the size of cake tin (8"), using about 1/3 of the marzipan 
  • Add the raisins, sultanas, currant, mixed peel, glace cherries, orange zest and orange juice to a bowl and 50ml of water
  • Microwave for 2 minutes on high, or heat in a pan for 10 minutes
  • Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and beat together 
  • Add the eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder, mixed spice, ginger, and cinnamon and mix
  • Add the soaked fruit and mix in 
  • Add half of the cake mix to a pan, add the circle of marzipan, and pour the rest of the cake mix on top
  • Bake for 2 hours, until a skewer inserted comes out clean and cool fully 
  • Brush the top of the cake with the apricot jam
  • Add another circle of marzipan using another third of marzipan and roll the rest into 11 balls and add around the edge of the cake
  • Brush the top with a little egg wash and grill in the oven for 1-2 minutes to golden  

ENJOY!

Find my other recipes on my Recipes Page!

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J x

© Jane’s Patisserie. All images & content are copyright protected. Do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words and credit me, or link back to this post for the recipe.

11 Comments

  1. KFC on May 18, 2024 at 8:30 pm

    American here. Mixed peels of what? Mixed spice is what mix?

  2. Janet Whitehead on April 4, 2024 at 1:46 pm

    5 stars
    This cake turned out beautifully and I have had lots of compliments. However, I did not follow the recipe to the letter. I soaked the fruit in tea for a couple of days before beginning the recipe. Also, instead of putting a marzipan circle in the middle of the cake as is traditional, I froze the third of a block of marzipan and then grated it using a cheese grater into the mixture. The result was a very soft and moist textured cake. Absolutely delicious.

  3. Susan on April 1, 2024 at 3:14 pm

    5 stars
    Wow, my previous Simnel cakes have been a bit dry and I hate dry cakes but this recipe is PERFECT! Love it. Thank you Jane.

  4. Katy on March 28, 2024 at 5:57 pm

    Can I use soft dark brown sugar instead?

  5. Janette on March 27, 2024 at 9:07 pm

    5 stars
    Amazing Simnel cake recipe. Made it on Monday, it was supposed to be for the Easter holidays 😂 That’s not going to happen so making another one tomorrow. Beautifully moist and the spices are just perfect. Thank you for another wonderful recipe.

  6. Linda on March 23, 2024 at 2:01 pm

    If I halved the recipe, what size tin would i use

  7. Emily on March 4, 2024 at 6:44 pm

    5 stars
    I made this yesterday and now have 1/4 of a cake left (not entirely eaten by myself I should add)! Absolutely delicious and will definitely be making another one before Easter – yet another great, easy to follow, fail proof recipe. Thanks Jane x

  8. Linda on March 4, 2024 at 1:31 pm

    Hi could you bake this in a Ninja air fryer?

  9. Karen Walton on March 3, 2024 at 11:06 pm

    How long will the simnel cake keep?

  10. Helen on March 3, 2024 at 5:46 pm

    Hello Jane, I have never made Simnel cake and I don’t know why as I love marzipan, but I will be making this for Easter this year. For some reason I have not received any emails from you this year (not in my spam folder either), have you any idea why, or how to rectify this?

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