Making an Easter Cake

The traditional Easter cake is a fruit, spices and marzipan concoction known as Simnel Cake. It is simple enough to make but takes some time and a variety of baking accessories including two mixing bowls. The quantities given in the recipe supplied should serve 10-12.

Almond paste:

  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g ground almonds
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon almond essence


  • 175g butter
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 175g plain flour, sifted
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of mixed spice
  • 350g dried fruit (a mixture of raisins, sultanas and currants)
  • 55g mixed peel, chopped
  • Grated zest of half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1 beaten egg to glaze

Baking accessories:

  • Sieve
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • Wooden spoon
  • Rolling pin
  • 18cm deep cake tin, greased and lined
  • Spatula
  • Skewer
  • Pastry brush
  • Sharp knife

mixing bowls

In the first of your mixing bowls:

Make the almond paste by mixing the ingredients and kneading to form a soft dough consistency. Roll out a third of the mixture and cut into an 18cm circle. Set aside for later with the remainder of the almond paste mixture.

Preheat the oven to 140ºC.

In the second of your mixing bowls:

Start making the cake by creaming together the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Continue beating as you gradually add the eggs and, once well combined, add the flour, salt and mixed spice, followed by the fruit, peel and lemon zest, then mix together well.

Put half the dough into the cake tin, smooth the top and cover with the almond paste circle. Add the remaining cake mixture and smooth over, making a slight dip in the centre to allow for rising. Bake the cake for about an hour and 45 minutes – when it is cooked a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake will come out clean. Allow to cool completely on a wire tray.

Decorate the cake

Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam. Take half of the remaining almond paste and roll into a circle slightly larger than the cake. Lay the paste circle on the top of the cake and form 11 small balls from the rest of the almond paste. Place the balls on top of the cake around the edges and glaze the top with beaten egg. Place the cake under the grill set on a high temperature for a couple of minutes until the marzipan starts to colour golden brown.

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