Simnel Cake

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (May 2014) and taken from The Baker’s Daughter by Louise Johncox.

IMG_1829

Serves : 10-12

Ingredients:
225g natural marzipan
175g caster sugar
175g butter
3 eggs
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
115g sultanas
350g currants
75g mixed peel
50g glace cherries (chopped)
1-2 tblsp milk
4 tblsp apricot jam
1 egg yolk, beaten

For the yellow icing (optional)
85g icing sugar
1 tblsp water
2-3 drops yellow food colouring

Step One : Preheat the oven to 160oC / Gas Mark 3. Grease an 18cm round, 7cm deep cake tin and line it with baking parchment. Knead the marzipan on a board dusted with icing sugar until it softens. Divide into 3 equal portions. Roll out 2 of these into 18cm circles to fit the cake tin. Divide the remaining amount into 11 equal portions, roll these into 11 balls, cover with cling film and set aside.

Step Two : Cream the sugar and butter together. Add the eggs gradually, plus 1 tblsp flour if the mixture shows signs of curdling. Sift the flour, spices and salt into a large bowl. Add the sultanas, currants, peel and cherries. Mix the flour and fruit into the creamed mixture, adding a little milk, if required. Aim for a soft consistency.

Step Three : Place half the mixture in the tin and flatten. Place a circle of marzipan on top. Put the remaining mixture on top of this and smooth out. Put the tin on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, then reduce the temperature to 150oC / Gas Mark 2. Bake for 2 – 2 1/2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Once baked, allow it to cool completely.

Step Four : Preheat the grill to medium. Gently heat the apricot jam in a pan until it’s warm, or in a microwave for 1 minute until it’s soft. Brush the top of the cake with the warm jam. Place the second circle of marzipan or almond paste on top. Decorate with the 11 marzipan balls. Brush the marzipan with egg yolk, then place it under the grill until the marzipan colours, just a little.

Step Five : If you like, you can add yellow icing. Simply mix the icing sugar, water and yellow food colouring to decorate your cake.

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