This step-by-step guide will teach you how to prepare simnel cake.
- 225g/1 cup butter, softened
- 225g/1 cup caster sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 500g/3 1/3 cups mixed dried fruit
- 115g/1/2 cup glace cherries
- 45ml/3 tbsp sherry (optional)
- 275g/2 1/2 cups plain flour
- 15ml/1 tbsp mixed spice
- 5ml/1 tsp baking powder
- 675g/4 1/2 cups yellow marzipan
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- ribbons, sugared eggs and sugar paste
- animals, to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Grease a deep 20cm/8in round cake tin, line with a double thickness of greaseproof paper and grease the paper.
- Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs. Stir in the dried fruit, glace cherries and sherry, if using. Sift over the flour, mixed spice and baking powder, then fold in.
- Roll out half the marzipan to a 20cm/8in round. Spoon half of the cake mixture into the cake tin and place the round of marzipan on top. Add the other half of the cake mixture and smooth the surface.
- Bake for 2 1/2h hours, or until golden and springy to the touch. Leave in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack, peel off the lining paper and leave to cool.
- Roll out the reserved marzipan to fit the cake. Brush the cake top with egg yolk and place the marzipan on top. Flute the edges and make a pattern on top with a fork. Brush with more egg yolk. Put the cake on a baking sheet and grill for 5 minutes to brown the top lightly. Cool before decorating.
Image author: Edward