Just in time for Easter, Executive Head Chef Gopi Chandran, at Sopwell House has shared his fool-proof Simnel cake recipe. The traditional Easter treat has been enjoyed since Medieval times as a cake that is symbolic of the Easter story. This light fruit cake with a hidden almond centre, is adorned with eleven almond paste balls to represent Jesus’s disciples (minus Judas).
175 g soft butter or margarine
175 g light muscovado sugar
175 g self-raising flour
175 g sultanas
45 g dried apricots
45g dried apples
90 g glacé cherries, quartered, rinsed, and dried
30 g candied peel, roughly chopped
Grated Lemon zest
1 tsp ground mixed spice
500g almond paste
2tbsp apricot jam
1 egg white
Equipment: 7 inch deep round loose bottom cake tin.
1. Preheat the oven to 165C.
2. Roll out one-third of the almond paste. Using the base of the cake as a guide, cut out
an 18cm disc.
3. Grease the cake tin, then line the bottom and side with greaseproof paper.
4. Combine all the cake ingredients in a bowl. Beat well until thoroughly blended. Spoon
half of the cake mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Top with the
pre-cut disc of almond paste.
5. Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top of the disc and smooth the surface.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown and firm
to the touch. If the cake is browning too quickly cover the top of the cake with
7. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin, and leave to cool fully.
8. Warm the apricot jam and brush on top of the cake.
9. To decorate the cake, roll out half of the remaining almond paste and use the tin to
cut out another 18cm disc. Put it on top of the jam and crimp the edges. Roll the
remaining almond paste into 11 even-sized balls. Place the balls evenly around the
edge of the cake, attaching them with egg white.
10. Brush the tops of the balls and the almond paste top with egg white. Place under a
hot grill for 1-2 minutes until golden.