Skip to content

Simnel Cake Recipe – how to make a simnel cake

Good Housekeeping UK

A spiced fruit cake is topped with marzipan, much like a Christmas cake, but lighter in texture, not covered in royal icing or fed with alcohol. This Easter cake was traditionally baked to celebrate Mother’s Day but soon transitioned into a way to mark the end of slow where sugar and butter could once again be indulged in.

There are a few ways to ensure you achieve a light fruit sponge;

Using self-raising flour in this recipe, rather than plain flour, means the raising agent in the flour helps the sponge rise and remain springy and light.

Beating the butter and sugar together for at least 3min, until very pale and fluffy will incorporate as much air as possible into the mixture from the beginning of the baking process.

Very gently folding in the flour with a large metal sponge will help prevent knocking out any air.

retaining moisture;

The large amount of fruit used in the recipe helps keep the sponge moist throughout cooking and helps the cake retain its moisture over time.

Cooking the cake at a lower temperature of 170°C (150°C fan) mark 3 and for a longer time of 1hr 25min than other cake recipes, will help yield a moist sponge.

The marzipan:

This recipe uses shop bought marzipan, but to make this cake extra special try making your own marzipan.

The 11 balls of marzipan on the top of the cake represent the 11 apostles (minus Judas).

The blowtorching isn’t necessary, it’s only for aesthetics.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below





Preparation Time:





Cook Time:





Total Time:






(8oz) butter, softened, plus extra to grease


(8oz) self-raising flour

2 tsp.

ground mixed spice


(14oz) mixed dried fruit


(5oz) light muscovado sugar

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons


medium eggs, lightly beaten to decorate

This ingredient shopping module is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content on their web site.

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C (150°C fan) mark 3. Grease a 20.5cm (8in) round cake tin with butter and line with baking parchment.

  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, mixed spice and dried fruit until combined. Put the butter, muscovado sugar, syrup and lemon zest into a separate large bowl and beat together using a handheld electric whisk until pale and fluffy, about 3min. Gradually beat in eggs, whisking well after each addition. Add flour mixture and fold everything together with a large metal spoon.

  3. Empty mixture into prepared tin and bake, covering with foil after 1hr of cooking, for 1hr 25min, or until cake is risen and springy to the touch. A skewer inserted into the center should come out clean, but don’t be tempted to test too early or the cake may sink. Leave to cool completely in tin.

  4. Take cake out of tin, peel off parchment and transfer to a serving plate. To decorate, dust the work surface with icing sugar and roll out two-thirds of the marzipan until large enough for a 20.5cm (8in) circle (cut round base of cake tin). Heat jam with 1tsp water in a small pan over a medium heat until runny. Brush the top of the cake with some jam, then lay the marzipan circle on top and gently press down to stick. Using a small knife, score lines on top of the cake to make a diamond pattern. Crimp the edge of the marzipan using the thumb and forefinger of one hand, and the index finger of the other.

  5. Roll remaining marzipan into 11 equal-sized balls. Brush the underside of each with a little jam or water and stick to the top of the cake. If you like, use a blowtorch to lightly brown the marzipan. Serve in slices.

To store

Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week

Per Serving:

  • Calories: 546
  • Total carbs: 83g
  • Sugars: 69g
  • Total fat: 23g
  • Saturated fat: 11g

    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at

    Advertisement – Continue Reading Below


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.