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220Total Time
20Prep Time
2Bake Time
A little effort

Chocolate simnel cake

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About the bake

A chocolate variation of the traditional Easter treat, Simnel cake. The balls used to decorate a simnel cake represent the 11 true disciples (excluding Judas).

220Total Time
20Prep Time
2Bake Time
A little effort


  1. Step 1:

    Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan, 325°F, gas mark 3). Grease and line a deep 20cm round cake tin with baking paper.

  2. Step 2:

    Lightly dust a work surface with some icing sugar. Roll the marzipan to the thickness of a £1 coin and cut into a round the same size as the tin. Leave to the side while making the cake.

  3. Step 3:

    Beat together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl or using an electric mixer until very pale and creamy. This could take about 5- 7 minutes.

  4. Step 4:

    Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little flour if the mixture curdles.

  5. Step 5:

    Fold in the remaining flour, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, cherries, mixed fruits and nuts. Stir until well mixed but do not overwork .

  6. Step 6:

    Spoon half the cake tin into the lined cake tin. Top with rolled marzipan tucking the marzipan into the sides. Top with remaining cake mixture.

  7. Step 7:

    Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 150°C (130°C fan, 300°F, gas mark 2) and bake for a further 1 1/2 hours, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. If the cake is getting to dark cover the surface with brown paper.

  8. Step 8:

    Cool in the tin for 1 hour then turn out and allow to cool completely.

  9. Step 9:

    Take another 125g marzipan and roll to the thickness of a £1 coin and cut into a round the same size as the tin. Brush the surface of the cake with warmed apricot jam.  Place the marzipan round on the surface and smooth lightly.

  10. Step 10:

    Take 150g of the marzipan and divide 3 and roll into long thin ropes about 40cm long. Plait the three together and wrap around the top of the cake.  Take the remaining marzipan and roll into 11 balls.  Place in the middle of the cake.  Wrap a ribbon round the cake and serve.

  11. Step 11:

    This can be stored for two weeks if wrapped in greaseproof paper and kept in an airtight container.


  • For the cake

    • 6 tsp Unrefined golden icing sugar
    • 500g Marzipan
    • 200g Butter (unsalted) (softened)
    • 225g Billington's Unrefined Light Muscovado Sugar
    • 4 Egg(s) (free range)
    • 225g Allinson's Plain White Flour
    • 50g Cocoa powder
    • 100g Dark chocolate chips
    • 125g Glacé cherries
    • 350g Dried mixed fruits
    • 75g Almonds (whole) (chopped)
    • 3 tsp Apricot Jam

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