Easter Simnel Cake. Simnel cake is a moist, heavy fruitcake divided and topped with almond icing. Traditionally served at Easter, it is a lovely treat for any Sunday afternoon.
Makes 20cm round cake
650g purchased marzipan
250g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1¾ cups self-raising flour
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice
½ cup sweet sherry
2 cups currants
1½ cups sultanas
½ cup glacé cherries, halved
2 tbsp apricot jam
2 tbsp icing sugar
1 Preheat oven to 160C. Lightly grease and line a 20cm deep round cake pan with a double layer of baking paper.
Roll out 300g of the marzipan between 2 sheets of baking paper. Using a dinner plate as a guide, cut out a 20cm round. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Repeat with 250g of the marzipan.
2 Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Transfer to a large bowl. Sift flours and mixed spice into butter mixture. Add sherry, currants, sultanas and cherries. Stir until well combined.
3 Spoon half the cake mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a wet spoon. Gently place the thinner round of marzipan over the cake. Spoon the remaining cake mixture over the marzipan, smoothing the top. Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Stand for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
Put apricot jam in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until warm. Brush jam over cake.
4 Put the remaining round of marzipan on top of the cake. Roll remaining marzipan into 11 small balls. Arrange balls on top around edge of cake. Heat a grill on medium and put the cake under the grill for 2 minutes or until the marzipan is light golden. Cool. Dust with icing sugar and serve.