Hello my lovely bakers, time seems to slip by so quickly… so here I am once again and as this week ends with Easter, I thought it would be a good time to make an Easter Simnel Cake, not such a popular cake now, which is a great shame, because it is delicious and relatively easy to make.
This cake came about in Medieval times with the 11 balls supposedly representing the disciples (Judas was excluded). Although nowadays this cake is used to celebrate Easter, it was traditionally given to young servant girls to take home on Mothering Sunday. This was the day when they re-visited their ‘Mother Church’, rather than going to visit ‘Mum’. The Mother Church being near their ‘home’, Mum normally received a visit as well. Over time Mothering Sunday became Mother’s day. Anyway, it’s a lovely light fruit cake and well worth the effort to make it.
So, remembering all the rules, here we go……
225g of butter, 225g of brown sugar, 4 large eggs loosely beaten, 225g of self-raising flour (preferably English), 225g of sultanas, 100g.of currants, 100g of glace cherries (washed dried and quartered), 50g of candid peel, the grated rind of 2 lemons, 2 teaspoons of mixed spice (I really like Tesco’s own but of course any type will be good), 450g.of almond paste, 2 tablespoons of apricot jam. 1 beaten egg to glaze.
Remember to have all ingredients at room temperature especially the eggs!
White Island Corner Shop in Santa Eulalia or Thomas Green’s in San Antonio will have the majority if not all of these ingredients.
You can make your own marzipan : 250g icing sugar, 250g of ground almonds, 1 tsp. almond essence and 2 eggs beaten. Mix all ingredients together until you have a soft paste, knead thoroughly on a surface dusted with icing sugar until you have a smooth pliable ‘dough’.
Prepare a 20cm round cake tin with either baking liner on the base and sides or greased greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 150C or 300F or gas 2.
In a large mixing bowl mix the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, slowly add the beaten eggs try not to let it curdle, if it does add a small amount of the flour to ‘bind it’. Now using a metal spoon fold in the sieved flour and mixed spice. Add all the rest of the ingredients into the mixture, folding in until completely mixed; do not over beat as this will lose all the air you added earlier. Add half of the cake mixture to the prepared cake tin. Knead the marzipan until it is pliable, and then on a flat surface dusted with icing sugar, roll out about a third of this softened marzipan. Roll it into a circle the same size as the cake tin. Cover the cake mixture in the tin with this marzipan and add the remaining half of the cake mixture to the tin. Smooth this out evenly with a slight ‘dip’ in the centre – this allows the cake to rise. Put the cake on the middle shelf into the hot oven, for about two and a half hours. After the first hour cover the cake with foil to stop the top becoming too brown. After the second hour or so, test the cake by inserting a skewer into the centre – if it comes out clean it’s ready, if not leave the cake another few minutes or so and try again.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes then turn the cake out on to a wire rack to completely cool.
Warm the apricot jam and then spread over the top of the cake, roll out another third of the marzipan and lay it on top of the jammed cake; crimp the edges and mark criss-cross lines with a sharp knife. With the remaining third of the marzipan, shape eleven balls and add them evenly around the cake.
To finish: brush beaten egg all over the surface of the cake then place under a hot grill until the marzipan is golden brown. Add any other decoration as you wish – crystallised flowers or even a couple of fresh flowers. Serve and enjoy!!!
‘Till next week,
Ibiza’s Queen Of Cakes xxxxx