Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter Simnel Cake

Recipe Number Twenty Seven:  Page 146.

I have been looking forward to making this special Easter cake for several weeks. The picture of the cake in Mary Berry's book looks delicious and rather pretty. This is my first fruit cake of the challenge; I usually only make fruit cake once a year for Christmas! The recipe is torn out of a magazine and is rather worn. Every year I lose it and have to hunt the house for it. You would think I might have put it somewhere safe!

I was delighted to see the cake included glacé cherries; in my opinion it's not a fruit cake without their presence. I had the sticky job of cutting them into quarters and washing and drying them. I am still not sure if washing them stops them sinking, especially in a heavily fruited cake such as this. I realised that I had forgotten to take the butter out of the fridge. I had been getting so much better at remembering - a little relapse! I put the rock hard butter onto the sunny window sill and got on with adding all the other ingredients to my bowl. I had to grate two lemons - oh the joy! I think Mum's grater is a bit shaper than mine, as it didn't take as long as it usually does. Adding the mixed spice nearly spelled disaster. I tried to shake the spice out of its jar and onto my teaspoon, but only a tiny amount ended up on my spoon; the rest went into the bowl. So, I took the lid completely off and shook the jar again. Thankfully, I had moved away from the bowl and was holding the spoon over a plate so, when the whole contents of the jar suddenly fell out, it had somewhere to land!! After scraping the mixed spice off the plate, I checked on the butter. It had taken mere minutes to soften. I wish I could rely on this all year round! Once I had thoroughly mixed all of my cake ingredients together, I put half of the batter into my waiting cake tin and then rolled out some marzipan.

If you have read last week's entry, you will know that buying marzipan was a very wise decision. I don't see the point in making your own as you can buy such good quality. Why add unnecessary stress to your life? As I rolled out the marzipan, I marvelled at how effortless it was to work with. I had a nice circle rolled within several minutes. I placed this circle on top of the cake mixture in the tin and then placed the remainder of the cake mixture on top. Into the oven it went, for two and a half hours. As I was visiting my parents, I took the opportunity of lounging around and eating a delicious lunch while my mum washed up and my sister entertained my baby. Life is good! 

After the two and a half hours I rolled my body off the sofa and checked on my cake. It appeared to be cooked through. After I had let it cool for ten minutes, I tipped it out and noticed that it had dipped very slightly in the middle. As the beach was calling to me I didn't let it worry me as I headed out through the door! 

Once home and feeling a little overheated, I just had to roll out another marzipan circle and also eleven marzipan balls and place them on top of the cake. I made a criss cross pattern on the top of the marzipan and then brushed it with beaten egg. I needed to put the finished cake under the grill to give it a golden colour. My mum put the grill on for me and told me I had to keep the door shut as much as possible. I gave it about 20 seconds and then checked on the cake; it was still anaemic. I checked again after another 20 seconds and the cake was slightly scorched, so annoying!  It was hard to keep an eye on it through the oven door. Oh well, not the end of the world I know, but I wanted it to look perfect! 

My family had been commenting all afternoon how appetizing the cake looked, so I bowed to the pressure and cut the cake. It was a bit difficult to cut as it was so moist. I could really taste the lemon and the marzipan. It was fairly easy to make but, because of the decoration and the layer of marzipan in the middle, it gives the illusion of being more complicated than it actually is. It was quite delicious – even if I say so myself and I think by the comments everyone agreed!
Left under the grill a bit too long, whoops!


  1. Thank you for telling me about this post; you cake does not look scorched, it looks lovely. You should be very proud of yourself - if you had seen mine, you'd realise how good yours looks. Thank you again for your help Anneliese. xx

  2. Aww thank you Francesa, you are such a sweetheart. I'm sure yours was no where near as bad as you thought. We're are own worse critics!! xxxx