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Easter Simnel Cake

We had a wonderful first Easter at St Andrews, three very different  services on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday and I got to play the Organ on Easter Sunday morning (which is definitely the one day of the year when you are practically obliged to pull out all the stops, at least for the last verse of Thine Be The Glory!!).

On Easter Saturday we went over to my aunt and uncle’s for lunch and had a lovely time, as we were leaving my cousin started making a Simnel cake (which I absolutely love!) so I cheekily leant over her shoulder and took a photo of the recipe!  I have no idea what book it was from I’m afraid apart from the fact that it was written for cooking in an Aga.  After adapting it slightly I made this on Easter Sunday – it is truly delicious!

Simnel Cake is a traditional Easter fruit cake made with a layer of Marzipan in the centre, a marzipan coating and eleven balls of Marzipan on the top to represent the disciples (minus Judas).

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Ingredients

225g Margarine

150g Demarara Sugar

75g Golden Syrup

4 eggs

225g Self Raising Flour

225g Sultanas

100g Currants

150g Glace Cherries, quartered

Grated Rind of 2 Lemons

2 teaspoons Mixed Spice

500g Marzipan (I have made this in the past but bought it ready made this time)

Apricot jam

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How to make it

1) Mix all the ingredients apart from the marzipan and jam

2) Line the base and sides of a 20cm cake tin with baking paper, ideally use one with a removable bottom as this is not easy to get out of the tin!

3) Pour half the mixture into the cake tin.

4) Roll a third of the marzipan into a disc the size of the tin and place on top of the mixture.

5) Pour the rest of the mixture on top of the marzipan.

6) Cut a disc of baking paper the size of the tin and place on top of the cake mix then put it in the oven at 130°C for 4-5 hours (I had it in for four hours then turned the oven off and let it cool down in the oven – the original Aga recipe said up to 10 hours in the simmering oven)

7) Remove the cake from the tin and lightly cover the top and sides with apricot jam.

8) Set aside a third of the remaining marzipan then roll the rest into a disc large enough to cover the cake (as you can see I didn’t quite roll it large enough!).  Put it on top then smooth it down the sides.  Roll the rest of the marzipan into eleven balls and place them round the edge of the cake, securing them with a little water.

9) Grill the top lightly to achieve the distinctive Simnel Cake look.

10) Eat and enjoy!

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