I was in two minds about whether to make a Simnel cake as well as the Hot Cross buns, too much Easter baking? But I woke up on Easter Sunday morning and decided why not?! Simnel cake, historically, was made for Mothering Sunday but over the years has become an Easter cake. I love the look of this Easter treat with it’s marzipan icing and marzipan disciples. There should be 11 marzipan balls, Judas doesn’t get to have one for obvious reasons!
I used Nigella’s recipe for this cake and sized it down to a 6 inch tin, only the two of us eating it so best to go small! I use the Cakeometer online tool for this, it is great for sizing up and down. This is a light fruit cake with a layer of marzipan baked in the centre of the cake. I used the creaming method, creaming the butter and sugar and adding the beaten eggs slowly before folding in the flour (and spices) and the mixed fruit. Half of the mixture goes into the prepared tin and then a layer of marzipan is added and the rest of the mixture tops this. The 8 inch cake cooks for 2 hours in a low oven and the 6 inch one was done in about one and a half hours.
It is left to cool down completely before taking it out of the tin. Mine sunk a bit in the middle, I think it may have needed a little longer in the oven. Once it is cooled I took it out of the tin and prepared it for it’s disciple topping. The marzipan is supposed to be stuck to the cake with apricot jam, I didn’t have any but I had some homemade lemon curd (more on that later). Once the marzipan was in place I rolled out the 11 balls for the disciples and stuck them on with the lemon curd too. I brushed it with an egg white and put it under the grill to brown which gives it a lovely nutty brown colour. I had to use the grill as I don’t have a blowtorch, I may have to get one they seem like good fun!
The finished cake was so pretty and being small it looked quite cute too! We had a slice for afternoon tea and my husband made lots of approving noises. To be fair he usually makes lots of approving noises when he eats my cakes but he seemed to enjoy the Simnel cake more than usual. Maybe it was the lapsed Catholic in him, eating a disciple!
(In this picture you can see Nigella’s Simnel cake in the background, I think the blowtorch makes a better finish!)