Easter Simnel Cake
A recipe for this traditional cake
This is now the traditional Easter cake, but originally it was given by servant girls to their mothers on Mothering Sunday.
6 oz (175 gm) soft margarine or butter
6 oz (175 gm) light soft brown sugar
6 oz (175 gm) self-raising flour
2 level teaspoons of mixed spice
10 oz (275 gm) of mixed fruit
2 oz (50 gm) ground almonds
1 lb (450 gm) almond paste (see below)
A little pale yellow glace icing made with 6 oz (175 gm) icing sugar
Sugar eggs and chickens
Heat the oven to 325 deg F, 160 deg C, Gas mark 3. Grease and line an 8 ins (20 cm) round cake tin with greased greaseproof paper.
Put all the ingredients, except for the almond paste, into a large mixing bowl and beat well with a wooden spoon until well blended. Place half the mixture in the bottom of the tin and level out the top.
Take 12 oz (350 gm) of the almond paste and roll out to a circle the size of the tin and then place on top of the cake mixture. Cover with the remaining cake mixture and level the top.
Bake in the oven for about 1.5 hours until evenly browned and shrinking away slightly from the sides of the tin. Leave in the tin to cool for about 10 minutes, then turn out, peel off the paper and finish cooling on a wire rack.
With the remaining almond paste, make a long sausage then lay this in a circle around the outside top of the cake. Pour the icing into the centre of the circle and leave to set. Decorate with sugar eggs and chickens.
You can buy ready prepared almond paste. However, there is a basic recipe in case you want to make your own.
8 oz (225 gm) ground almonds
8 oz (225 gm) caster sugar
8 oz (225 gm) icing sugar, sieved
4 egg yolks, or 2 whole size 3 eggs
about 6 drops almond essence
Mix the ground almonds and sugars together in a bowl, then add the yolks or whole eggs and almond essence. Knead together to form a stiff paste. Do not over-knead as this will make the paste oily.
Store wrapped in clear film in the refrigerator until required.