It is gradually becoming the tradition that when we have family get-togethers everybody brings along some food to spread the cost and effort, so naturally I opted for puddings and cakes. I always make a simnel cake, which I have recently learned is actually a cake that was made for Mother’s Day but somehow is now made for Easter, and decided to try my own recipe (mainly to fit in with the ingredients I had in the house!) I also decided to make cupcakes (some chocolate and some lemon), scones, summer berry pavlova and the plum and almond tart from one of my previous posts. Unfortunately, on the day the camera battery went flat so there are very few photos of the cakes and puddings :-(

This is the recipe I used for my simnel cake:

4oz butter, softened
4oz light muscovado sugar
5oz self raising flour
1oz ground almonds
12oz mixed dried fruit
2oz mixed peel
3oz glace cherries
2 large eggs
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp cinnamon
1 450g pack of marzipan
a little apricot jam

1. Preheat the oven to about 140°C.

2. Wash the dried fruit and soak in 1 litre of hot tea (or boiling water if you don’t like tea) for about 30 minutes. Drain well or your mixture will end up too runny!

3. Cream together the butter and sugar then gradually add the flour, spices, ground almonds and eggs (I usually just throw all mine into the food processor!)

4. Wash the glace cherries and add them to the dried fruit.

5. Combine the cake mixture with the dried fruit and mix well with a wooden spoon.

6. Pour half of the cake mixture into a greased and lined 6 inch tin (preferably a loose bottomed one). Roll out a circle of marzipan and place on top of the mixture, then pour in the rest of the cake mixture.

7. Level the top, making a slight indent in the centre to help the cake rise evenly. Bake for around 2 hours (you will need to keep an eye on the cake as the first cake I tried cooked much quicker than the second one!)

8. After the cake has cooled completely, cover the top in a little warmed apricot jam, roll out another circle of marzipan for the top of the cake and add 11 small marzipan balls.

9. Brush the marzipan with a little milk and put in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 5-10 minutes or until the top has started to brown. Watch the marzipan doesn’t melt all down the sides of the cake!!

    Tea and cake