Simnel Cake Recipe

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 Updated 09/01/2016

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Originally Simnel cake was a case of hard pastry, coloured gold with saffron and filled with all types of dried fruits. The pastry was made from a high quality wheat flour, called 'simila', hence the name Simnel. Now, of course, the cake has no pastry case but is covered in yellow marzipan. See also Bury Simnel Cake Recipe.


  • 8oz (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 8oz (1 1/2 cups) soft brown sugar
  • 4 medium eggs, beaten
  • 8oz (2 cups) plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2oz (2 tablespoons) corn flour
  • 8oz (1 cup) sultanas
  • 4oz (1/2 cup) currants
  • 4oz (1/2 cup) raisins
  • 4oz (1/2 cup) glace cherries, chopped
  • 2oz (2 tablespoons) ground almonds
  • grated rind of 1 organic lemon
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 1/2 lbs marzipan
  • a little apricot jelly
(see measure conversions for more information on quantites)


  1. In large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until light in colour and fluffy in texture.
  2. To this add the eggs a little at a time, beating well each time some beaten egg is poured in.
  3. If the mixture looks as if it is curdling add a spoonful of flour and beat in well.
  4. Stir in the dried fruit and the lemon peel.
  5. Sift the flour with the spices, corn flour and baking powder.
  6. Fold the flour mixture into the creamed mixture.
  7. Add the brandy, a little at a time.
  8. Do not allow the mixture to become too wet even if this means leaving out a little of the brandy.
  9. Spoon half of the mixture into a well greased 8 inch tin.
  10. Roll out the marzipan onto a board dusted with icing sugar.
  11. Roll out a circle of 7 3/4 inch diameter and place onto the smoothed cake mix in the tin.
  12. Cover with the rest of the cake mixture and bake at 170 degrees centigrade for about 2 1/4 hours.
  13. The cake should be firm to the touch and a golden brown colour.
  14. Turn cake from tin and allow to cool on a wire cake rack.
  15. Roll out the remaining marzipan and cut out an 8 inch circle.
  16. Stick this marzipan onto the top of the cake with a little melted apricot jelly.
  17. Roll the remaining marzipan into 11 equal balls and use these to decorate the top of the cake.
  18. Tie a decorative, traditionally yellow ribbon around the cake.

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 135 minutes

Yield: 1 Simnel Cake


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