Simnel Cake … for Easter!

Simnel Cake

 

I’m a keen baker of Simnel Cake. Truthfully the kids are not that bothered with fruit cake but for me this signals the start of Spring. I know other people look at the bulbs pushing through, lambs pushing out etc, etc . I do too but my internal calendar is punctuated with recipes.

Simnel cake is a good excuse to eat rich fruit cake (if one were needed) and was traditionally baked ready for Mothering Sunday. It somehow turned into an Easter Cake, the benefit of fruit cake being it actually improves with keeping.  It needs to be moist, and preferably, contain a bit of booze!

Simnel cake must have marzipan, and be decorated with 11 marzipan balls around the top outer layer, to represent the 11 true apostles.

I have baked two of these. The puppy had the marzipan off the first, rejected the fruit cake thankfully as with all those raisins it would have been poisonous, but only rejected it after licking the apricot jam off. The puppy is called Milly, she is a Sprocker and I Know…. it’s my own fault!

Ingredients

 

175g light brown sugar

175g softened butter

175g self-raising flour

1 level tsp baking powder

3 large free range eggs

50g ground almonds

100g sultanas

100g moist, vacuum packed pitted prunes

100g mixed peel

Grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon

2 teaspoons mixed spice

1-2 tablespoons of whiskey

A splash of milk, for moisture

600g marzipan

2 tablespoons apricot jam

 

METHOD

 

Cream together the butter and sugar, then add all of the ingredients (apart from the marzipan and jam) and mix together.

Line a 20cm tin with Bake-O-Glide or grease proof paper and spoon half the mixture into the tin.  Roll out 240g marzipan into a circle and place on top of the cake mixture.  Add the remaining cake mix to the tin, and reserve the rest of the marzipan to decorate the top of the cake.

 

2 Oven Aga.

Use the AGA Cake Baker to ensure a perfectly cooked Simnel Cake, in the Aga roasting oven with the grid shelf on the bottom cook for 1 ½ hours. If you don’t have a cake baker place your cake tin inside your deepest roasting tin and place this on the grid shelf on the floor of the roasting oven with the cold plain shelf above. Remove and cool the cold plain shelf every ½ hour or swap it over if you have two.

Otherwise if you have a baking oven in your Aga use that (you lucky thing!)

For a conventional oven cook at 170 degrees for 1 ½ – 2 hours, checking every 10 mins after the first 1/2 an hour.

When the cake has cooled, brush the top with some warmed apricot jam.  Roll out the remaining marzipan, reserving enough to make 11 evenly sized balls, and place these on top of the layer of marzipan, pressing down slightly to fix in place.

(Q: Who else peels the marzipan off to enjoy separately?)

 

 

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Posted in Aga Tips, Memories of an Aga, Recipes, Uncategorized

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