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Traditional Simnel Cake Recipe

A lovely recipe to relieve the munchies at Easter tea time. Traditionally, Simnel cake was made for Mothering Day. Girls working in service were allowed to use the leftover dried fruits from the Christmas celebrations to make this cake as a present for their mothers. Nowadays, Simnel cakes are often made for Easter.

Customer Rating:
5.0 (3 votes)
1 Customer Review(s)

Posted by: pip phillips




1 - 2 hrs

Skill Level




Courses etc.

Baking Sweet
Easter Recipes

You will need

For the almond paste or marzipan:
250g/9oz caster sugar More products
250g/9oz ground almonds More products
2 free-range eggs, beaten

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1 tsp almond extract

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Alternatively, use 500g of ready-made marzipan More products
For the cake:
175g/6oz butter OR Available only in our Edinburgh shops More products
175g/6oz diary free spread

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175g/6oz dark muscovado sugar More products
3 free-range eggs, beaten (as above)
175g/6oz plain flour More products
pinch of salt More products
½ tsp ground mixed spice (optional) More products
350g/12oz mixed raisins, currants and sultanas More products
55g/2oz chopped mixed peel More products
½ lemon, grated zest only More products
1 to 2 Tbsp apricot jam OR More products
1 to 2 Tbsp damson jam

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1 free-range egg, beaten for glazing (as above)

Need help converting measurements? View our recipe measurement conversion tables here.


  • For the almond paste:
  • Place the sugar and ground almonds in a bowl.
  • Add enough beaten egg and mix to a fairly soft consistency.
  • Add the almond essence and knead for one minute until the paste is smooth and pliable.
  • Roll out a third of the almond paste to make a circle 18cm/7in in diameter and reserve the remainder for the cake topping.
  • For the cake:
  • Preheat oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1. Grease and line a 18cm/7in cake tin.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  • Gradually beat in the eggs until well incorporated and then sift in the flour, salt and mixed spice (if using) a little at a time.
  • Finally, add the mixed dried fruit, peel and grated lemon zest and stir into the mixture.
  • Put half the mixture into a greased and lined 18cm/7in cake tin.
  • Smooth the top and cover with the circle of almond paste.
  • Add the rest of the cake mixture and smooth the top leaving a slight dip in the centre to allow for the cake to rise.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 1¾ hours. Test by inserting a skewer in the middle - if it comes out clean, it is ready.
  • Once baked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack.
  • Brush the top of the cooled cake with the jam. warmed or diluted in 1 Tbsp hot water.
  • Divide the remainder of the almond paste in half; roll out a circle to cover the top of the cake with one half and form 11 small balls with the other half.
  • Place the circle of paste on the jam glaze and set the balls round the edge. Brush the cake topping with a little beaten egg.
  • Preheat the grill to high. Place the cake onto a baking tray and grill for 1-2 minutes, or until the top of the marzipan begins to brown.
  • Alternatively, lightly heat the cake topping using a cook's blow torch, until the marzipan is golden-brown.

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Customer comments

Added ByComment
michelleLove the picture ! And the recipe is fairly straight forward too, I will definitely give it a go this Easter. With loads of flowers like yours !

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