The meaning of a Simnel cake relates to springtime. This is a time when the world comes back to life. Ancient Anglo-Saxon tradition, refers to Eostre, the Goddess of Spring. They claimed that this was the time when she'd return back to Earth. To welcome her back, they'd make what's known today as Simnel Cake.
Today's version is a fruit filled cake baked with marzipan in the middle. It's then topped with marzipan and decorated with 11 balls to represent the apostles minus Judas. You can sometimes find a ball in the middle which represents Christ. "We've missed you Eostre!" is probably what you should say when you eat one of our miniature versions of this fruity treat.
This version is an easy simnel traybake baked in a rectangular baking tin making it an ideal shape to cut into bite sized pieces. We've decorated ours with mini eggs rather than marzipan but you can choose whatever you like- get creative!
Strorage instructions: Leaving the marzipan topping off helps with the shelf life of a Simnel cake. It can be made up to a week in advance. If you want to bake the cake even further in advance, you can freeze it. However, once you decorate the cake, it will keep well in an airtight box in a cool place for up to 5 days.
Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C, gas mark 4). Grease and line a (17 x 27cm) 7 x 11 inch rectangular tin.
Put the butter into a heatproof bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute until it’s melted.
Put the flour, cinnamon and mixed spiced into a large bowl. Stir in the light muscovado sugar and then add the mixed dried fruit and dried apricots.
Coarsely grate 100g (3½oz) marzipan and add to the dry ingredients.
Crack the eggs into a jug, pour in the milk and mix together with a fork. Pour in to the dry mixture with the melted butter and stir together with a large spoon to combine.
Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for 30 minutes until well risen and firm. Insert a cocktail stick into the centre, the cake is ready if it comes out clean. Cook for a few more minutes if needed, then cool.
Allow to cool before cutting into mini cubes. Roll out the 300g of marzipan and cut pretty flower petals for the cakes. Slightly warm the apricot jam and spread on top of the cooled cake and apply the marzipan. Decorate with mini eggs.
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23 March 2020
These are so easy to make. I used mini marzipan balls on mine as I accidentally ate the mini eggs whilst it was baking in the oven. Definitely recommend this recipe!
19 March 2020
I love Simnel cake and this traybake version is a cute idea. My 2 year old tried a bit and I was totally expecting her to spit it out but she didn't! Think I've converted her to a simnel fan.
16 March 2020
Yum! These worked out so perfectly! I took them into work and even the non-simnel cake likers had a couple each.
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