easter simnel cake
Easter Sunday, the fading of winter and first signs of spring. Our treat for the weekend is a big sticky simnel cake, adorned with edible flowers.. Everyone joins in the decoration, 11 marzipan balls to be rolled, flowers to be placed, and maybe the odd cheeky easter chick.
350g (12 oz) plain flour.
½tbsp baking powder.
½tbsp ground mixed spice.
225g (8oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature.
225g (8oz) light muscovado sugar.
4 eggs, beaten.
grated rind and juice of two lemons.
550g (1¼lb) mixed dried fruit.
100g (4oz) glacé cherries, chopped.
500g (1lb) marzipan.
a greens of devon easter selection of edible flowers
- primulas and primroses work particularly well.
1 egg white.
25g (1oz) caster sugar.
icing sugar, for dusting.
2 tbsp apricot jam.
preheat your oven to 160° (325°f, gas mark 3). sieve flour, baking powder and mixed spice into a mixing bowl. cream butter and sugar together in another. gradually beat in eggs and flour mixture alternately, then stir in lemon juice, lemon rind and, mixed fruit and cherries.
spoon half fruit mixture into a greased and lined 20cm (8") deep round tin. level the surface. roll out ¾ of the marzipan to same size as the tin. place over fruit mixture, then cover with the remaining mixture. cook for 2½ hours until well risen and test by inserting a skewer: it will come out clean when the cake is done. invert the tin onto a wire rack and allow to cool.
roll out the marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar. cut out a circle a little larger than the diameter of the cake tin. brush the top of the cake with apricot jam and place the marzipan on top. crimp the edges.
shape 11 small balls from the remaining marzipan, and arrange around the top of the cake, then preheat your grill and flash the cake under it (or use a cook's blowtorch) until the marzipan is browned slightly.
now let your artistry with flowers loose. they can be pressed into the marzipan, or scattered loose, perhaps stuck with a little eggwhite. express the joy of springtime, rebirth, sunny mornings and afternoon tea picnics. we can't resist fluffy chicks.