This is as far as I know a very traditional cake to make at Easter in Briton. I do not know if there are other version around the world and I am sure that there are but I am not aware of them , so I do apologise if I am mistaken in that. The reason why I say hat is that I do believe that it came back with the crusading night in medieval times and if that is the case then it will probably be all over
Europe. And as most European country had empires all over
the world. That is the problem with food and history it gets everywhere. Now if you do not like fruit cake or almonds
then unfortunately you will not like this as it is packed with fruit, spices
You will needFor the almond marzipan
250g/9oz caster sugar
250g/9oz ground almonds
1 tsp almond essence
And for the cake
175g/6oz butter or margarine
175g/6oz soft brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
175g/6oz plain flour
½ tsp ground mixed spice
350g/12oz mixed raisins, currants and sultanas
55g/2oz chopped mixed peel
The zest of ½ a lemon
1-2 tbsp apricot jam
1egg for glazing
Now you can make your own marzipan but this way you can say I made all of that. Simply take the sugar and ground almonds and put them in a bowl. Add enough beaten egg and mix to a soft pliable consistency. Now add the almond essence and start to knead it all together . it takes a minute or two until you get a smooth finish. Take one third for the cake and the rest for the topping.
To make the cake batter start by creaming the butter and sugar together until nice and light. Then add the eggs beaten, gradually, until incorporated in to the butter and sugar. Now sift the flour, salt and mixed spice in to the mix a little at a time. When you have every thing nicely combined add the mixed dried fruit, peel and grated lemon zest and just stir this in.
Now to bale the cake take the tin you are going to bake it in and grease and line it. Then turn on your oven and preheat it to 140c/275f.
Roll out the third of the almond paste to make a circle to fit your cake tin. Now put half the cake mix in the tin, then the circle of almond paste and then top up with the cake mix. Make a dip in the centre to allow it to rise and then bake it for 1¾ hours. To make sure that it is cooked push a skewer in the middle, if it comes out clean, it is done. Now just set to one side and let it cool on a rack.
Now to decorate the cake you have to do this in a very special way. Heat up you aprict jam in a pan with a little water. Then brush this over the top of the cake . Now divide your marzipan in half. Roll one-half to cover just the top of the cake. Now with the other half you make 11 balls, one for each of the disciples accept Judos. Place the circle on the top of the cake so it sticks to the jam, set the balls round the edge.
Now brush the cake topping with a little beaten egg. Now if you can get it under a grill or use blowtorch. Or even put back in a hot oven, but what you are looking to do is brown the top of the marzipan until it begins to brown. And that is how you make a Simnel cake