Make a Traditional Simnel Cake for Easter

Create your own traditional Simnel Cake to share with family and friends as you celebrate Easter.

A Simnel cake is traditionally a light fruit cake with two layers of marzipan (almond paste) one in the middle and the other on top.

Traditionally eleven or occasionally twelve balls of marzipan decorate the cake, each one representing the twelve apostles – minus Judas, or Jesus and the twelve apostles minus Judas.

Packed with fruit, spices and marzipan why not make this version of classic Easter Cake from Mary Berry for your family.

  • Serves: 12
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 2 ¼ hours

You will need:

175g soft butter or margarine, plus extra for greasing
175g light muscovado sugar
3 eggs
175g self-raising flour
175g sultanas
90g currants
90g glacé cherries, quartered, rinsed, and dried
30g candied peel, roughly chopped
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 tsp ground mixed spice

For the filling and decoration:

500g almond paste
2 tbsp apricot jam
1 egg white
Deep 18 cm (7 in) round loose-bottomed cake tin


1. Roll out one-third of the almond paste. Using the base of the cake tin as a guide, cut out an 18 centimeter round

2. Grease the cake tin and line the bottom and side with greaseproof paper.

3. 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 round of almond paste.

4. Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top and level the surface.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 150°C/gas mark 2 for two and a quarter hours or until golden brown and firm to the touch.

6. Cover the top of the cake with greaseproof paper if it is browning too quickly. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin, and leave to cool completely.

7. Warm the jam and use to brush the top of the cake.

8. To decorate the cake, roll out half of the remaining almond paste and use the tin to cut out an 18 centimeter round. Put on top of the jam and crimp the edges. Roll the remaining almond paste into 11 even-sized balls. Place around the edge of the cake, attaching them with egg white.

9. Brush the tops of the balls and the almond paste with egg white. Place under a hot grill for one to two minutes, until the balls are golden.

We hope you enjoy Mary Berry’s version of this classic Simnel Cake

Happy Easter!

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