Whether you’re after a traditional Easter Simnel cake recipe or something a bit different, let Dorset Food & Drink Member Lizzie Baking Bird inspire you as she shares her take on this Easter classic.
With Easter fast approaching, Lizzie is busy creating Easter bakes for her Saturday pop ups, markets and events.
These individual Simnel cakes are easy to make and the tins don’t need to be lined with parchment – a task which Lizzie “hates the most in the kitchen”!
Lizzie continues; “A good Simnel cake is a far cry from the heavier, darker Christmas cake. I think this recipe suits the time of year better. I love marzipan and this is a great way to use up any you have left. I soak the fruit in a lighter booze; lime and orange zest add citrus flavours. But you can use whatever dried fruit or alcohol you have knocking about following Christmas. This year my Simnel cakes have a mix of glacé cherries, stem ginger, sultanas, raisins, currants, cranberries, dates, apricots and the last of the Grand Marnier”.
Makes 12 mini cakes
300g dried fruit
150ml alcohol, plus 2-4 tbsp alcohol extra for the batter
175g light brown sugar
4 medium free range eggs
225g self raising flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons mixed spice
Finely grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lime
2 tbsp marmalade
The night before making the cake, soak your dried fruit in the alcohol.
About 30 minutes before making the cake, cut 250g of the marzipan into cubes and put them in an airtight box or plastic bag in the freezer. This ensures that it doesn’t meet into the cake mixture.
Heat the oven to gas 3/160°C.
Butter and flour a 12-hole muffin tin. Beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between each addition. You may need to add a tablespoon of the flour if the mixture begins to curdle.
Tip the rest of the flour, plus the baking powder and mixed spice into the bowl and mix gently.
Add the zest and extra booze, then incorporate the macerated fruit and frozen cubes of marzipan.
Spoon the batter into your prepared muffin tins (about half to two-thirds full) and pop in the hot oven for around 30 minutes.
They will be ready when they are springy to the touch.
Leave in the tins for approximately 15 minutes before turning them out and leaving them to cool completely.
Use the remaining marzipan to finish the cakes.
Roll out about two thirds and cut into discs with a glass or cookie cutter the same size as the cakes.
Heat the marmalade and use it to paint the tops of the cake, then press a circle onto each one.
Lizzie can’t resist adding one of the disciples (i.e. a marzipan ball).
These cakes will keep for weeks in an airtight container.
Lizzie is at the Old Ship Inn in Upwey (Weymouth DT3 5QQ) on Saturdays. She has an Instagram page where you can keep up with what she’s up to! @lizziebakingbird
Don’t forget to tag Lizzie in the socials if you use this recipe and share your versions!