Simnel Cake

Make Easter extra special by baking this delicious, light fruit cake.

Ingredients


  • for the almond filling and icing (make this first)
  • 12 oz ground almonds
  • 6 oz castor sugar
  • 6 oz icing sugar (sieved)
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk (at room temperature)
  • a few drops of natural almond extract
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • for the cake
  • 6 oz unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 6 oz caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 8 oz plain flour
  • 2 level teaspoons of mixed spice (make sure that it is fresh)
  • 1 level teaspoon ground ginger
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tblsp milk
  • 1 oz chopped almonds
  • 6 oz sultanas
  • 4 oz currants
  • 2 oz glace cherries (finely chopped)
  • 1 oz mixed peel
  • to decorate
  • remaining almond icing
  • 3 tblsp apricot jam (heated)
  • a little beaten egg

Method

  1. To make the icing. Sieve the two sugars together into a heat proof bowl.
  2. Add the eggs plus the yolk and stir. Put the bowl over a saucepan of hot water and whisk until the mixture is fluffy.
  3. Beat in the almond extract and lemon juice. Whisk cool. Add the ground almonds and mix well into the mixture. Dust a board with sieved icing sugar and knead until firm. Wrap in cling film until needed.
  4. To make the cake. Line a 7" Cake Tin. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Sieve the flour and spice together and fold into the mixture. Add the dried fruit, cherries, mixed peel and chopped almonds.
  5. Place half the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
  6. Roll out 1/3rd of the almond filling into a round to fit the cake and place on top of the mixture that  is in the tin.
  7. Add the rest of the cake mixture on top and level it out. Bake at 160°C for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Allow to cool completely.
  8. To decorate. Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam. Roll out one third of the almond icing and place on top of the cake. Roll out some of the remaining icing into a long strip and twist it.
  9. Brush the top of the cake with the beaten egg and put the twist around the edges. Using some more of the paste make eleven balls and place around the inside of the cake. Brush everything with egg.
  10. Put the cake into a hot oven for about 5 minutes to slightly brown the paste or, use a blow torch. Allow to cool.
  11. If you like, you can make a little nest in the centre of the cake and put some Easter chicks on it.




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