Easy Simnel Cake for Easter on

Easy Simnel Cake for Easter

Sticky, spicy and rich in flavour, fruits, and marzipan, this easy Simnel cake for Easter is lighter — in texture and colour — than the Christmas fruit cake.
Keyword Easter, Simnel Cake
Cook Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 12 portions


  • 100 g (4 oz) glacé cherries, chopped into quarters
  • 175 g (6 oz) sultanas
  • 150 g (5 oz) currants
  • 50 g (2 oz) chopped candied peel
  • 100 ml Scotch whisky or Irish whisky
  • 60 ml (1/2 cup, 2 fl oz) milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 225 g (8 oz) butter, softened
  • 225 g (8 oz) light brown sugar or light muscovado sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 225 g (8 oz) self-raising flour
  • 50 g (2 oz) almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • The grated zest of 2 lemons or 2 limes

Filling and Topping

  • 500 g (1.1 lb) marzipan
  • 2 tablespoons sieved apricot jam
  • 1 small egg lightly beaten


  1. Soak the glacé cherries, sultanas, currants and candied peel in the Scotch whisky. Doing so the night before helps!
  2. Warm the milk, and in a small bowl, add the milk, and to it add the saffron and caraway seeds, and set aside to soak.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 150ºC/280ºF.
  4. Grease and line a 20-cm/8-inch deep cake pan.
  5. Over a bain marie, heat the butter till it starts to melt. Take it off the heat and stir, till you have a gooey mass.
  6. Into the same bowl, add the light brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  7. To this, add the eggs in one at a time, beating the mix after each addition on low speed for about 20 seconds.
  8. Sift the flour into the butter-sugar-egg mix.

  9. Drain the soaked fruit, and add only the soaked fruit to the bowl. Also add: the spices, rosewater, milk mix, grated lemon zest.
  10. With a wooden spoon coat the fruits with the flour, then gently stir all the ingredients together until it is all well combined.
  11. Take a third of the marzipan, and roll it out into a circle as big as the cake pan. Rolling it over parchment paper will help it stay in shape. Pinch the cracks that form with your fingers and they’ll disappear.
  12. Pour half the cake mix into the greased and lined cake pan, and level the top. Gently place the marzipan circle on top of the cake mix. Pour the remaining batter on top of the marzipan circle and level the top.
  13. Place it in the oven and allow to bake for 2 hours and 20 minutes. After an hour, cover the top with aluminium foil to prevent too much browning. It’s done when a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  14. Let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then transfer it to a wire rack — after you peel off the parchment paper of course.
  15. When the cake has cooled completely, take half or the remaining marzipan and roll it out into a circle as big as the cake pan.
  16. Slightly warm the apricot jam, and brush it over the cake. Place the marzipan circle over the cake firmly and crimp the edges, like you would a pie crust, to decorate.
  17. Take the remaining marzipan and form 11 balls. Brush the top of the marzipan with the beaten egg and place the 11 balls on top. Brush the tops of the balls as well with beaten egg.
  18. Heat the grill on top in your oven, and when it is hot, place the cake under it for a couple of minutes, until it just about begins to brown. Constantly watch over the marzipan, you only want it to be golden.
  19. Serving: Cool the cake before you serve it. It tastes better the next day.


Equipment: 20-cm/8-inch deep cake pan (preferably aluminium as the bake time is long), big mixing bowl, small bowl, medium bowl (to soak the dried fruits).

If you're out of glacé cherries, use more currants, sultanas and candied peel instead. If you're out of candied peel, use the zest of two oranges, and the juice of one; don't use marmalade.

You can substitute rose water with orange blossom water. Out of the few rose water brands I've tried, I like Cortas.