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Coles

  • Peanut free
  • Sesame free
  • Soy free
  • Shellfish free
  • Seafood free
  • Vegetarian
  • High in dietary fibre
  • 1 serve veg or fruit

Simnel cake is a traditional Easter treat consisting of a dense fruit cake topped with 11 marzipan balls said to represent the apostles of Jesus (minus Judas).

  • Serves12
  • Cook time1 hour 40 minutes
  • Prep time20 minutes, + cooling time
Mar-24-PVX-Simnel-Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 orange, rind finely grated, juiced
  • 1 lemon, rind finely grated
  • 2 1/2 cups (400g) mixed dried fruit
  • 1 1/4 cup (185g) self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp mixed spice
  • 175g butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (165g) brown sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1/4 cup (50g) glacé cherries, cut into quarters
  • 500g marzipan
  • 1 tbs apricot jam
  • 1 free-range egg white, lightly whisked to glaze

Nutritional information

Per serve: Energy: 2236kJ/535 Cals (26%), Protein: 8g (16%), Fat: 21g (30%), Sat Fat: 9g (38%), Sodium: 157mg (8%), Carb: 79g (25%), Sugar: 62g (69%), Dietary Fibre: 4g (13%).

Check ingredient labels to make sure they meet your specific dietary requirements and always consult a health professional before changing your diet. View dietary information here.

Percentage Daily Intake information on our recipes is calculated using the nutrition reference values for an average Australian adult.

Method

  1. Step 1

    Place the orange rind and juice, lemon rind and 2 tbs of water in a medium saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the mixed dried fruit and stir to combine. Set aside to cool.

  2. Step 2

    Lightly dust a clean work surface with sifted icing sugar. Roll a third of the marzipan into a 20cm disc, using the cake pan as a stencil. Wrap remaining marzipan in plastic wrap to stop it drying out.

  3. Step 3

    Preheat the oven to 150°C. Grease a 6cm deep, 20cm round (base measurement) cake pan. Line base and side with baking paper, allowing the paper to reach 3cm above the pan.

  4. Step 4

    Combine the self-raising and plain flour, cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice in a large  bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until just combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until just combined. Sift over the combined flour mixture. Add the fruit mixture and cherries and stir until well combined.

  5. Step 5

    Spoon half the mixture into the lined pan and use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface. Top with the marzipan. Spoon over the remaining cake mixture and smooth the surface. Bake for 1 hour 45 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Set aside in the pan to cool.

  6. Step 6

    Meanwhile, roll half of the remaining marzipan into another 20cm disc. Roll remaining marzipan into 11 even balls. Line a baking tray with foil. Invert the cooled cake onto the tray. Brush the top of cooled cake with apricot jam and top with the marzipan disc.

  7. Step 7

    Preheat a grill on high. Brush marzipan with egg white. Place the cake under the grill on the lowest shelf for 3-4 mins or until marzipan is starting to caramelise.

  8. Step 8

    Arrange marzipan balls around the edge of the cake. Lightly brush balls with a little of the remaining egg white. Return to the grill and cook for a further 2-3 mins or until marzipan balls are lightly caramelised. Alternatively, use a blowtorch to complete this step.

  9. Step 9

    Cut cake into wedges to serve.

Recipe tip

As with any good fruit cake, while it’s delicious on its own, it can only be made tastier with a good drizzle of custard or whipped cream. Depending on your individual taste preferences, the custard can be served warm or cold. 

COOK. STORE. SAVE.
Clever storage:
The great thing about this simnel cake recipe is that it will last longer than many cakes. It can be made up to a month ahead, stored in an airtight container and then decorated before serving. Once decorated, place it in an airtight container and store it in a cool place for up to 5 days.

Make a traditional simnel cake this Easter

All good celebrations require easy cake recipes. For Easter, one of the traditional desserts is a dense marzipan-topped fruit cake called simnel cake. As with many recipes that have been around for hundreds of years, there are mixed interpretations of the exact simnel cake history and why it is called simnel cake. One such theory includes a mythical couple, Simmy and Nell, who allegedly argued over whether the cake should be boiled like a pudding or baked like a cake. They decided to do both cooking methods and chose to combine their names to come up with ‘simnel’.

While this mythical story has an intriguing tale attached to it, another theory identifies a potential link to a claimant to the throne from King Henry’s time, Lambert Simnel. However, the true origin is more likely to relate to the Latin word ‘simila’, which means fine wheat flour. The cake was originally associated with Lent and coincided with what was known as ‘Mothering Day’ – a day when servants would be given time off to bake cakes to gift to the church.  

The essential ingredients: what is simnel cake made with?

To ensure this traditional Easter cake works out well when making it as part of your Easter entertaining feast, you want to start with the best ingredients. The cake itself is similar to a regular or Christmas fruit cake, with a dense yet moist texture packed with mixed dried fruits, glacé cherries, spices and citrus rind. The main differences between a Christmas cake and this Easter version are the simnel cake decorations and also the extra layer of marzipan through the centre of the cake.  

What is marzipan? 

Marzipan is an almond-based confection mostly used for the creation of sweets and as a cake topping. The smooth, white topping is similar to fondant, makes a fabulous cake icing and is also easily moulded into shapes like the balls on this cake – and also into small fruits and vegetables – for cake top decorations. The marzipan is grilled slightly after being placed on the top of the cake to caramelise slightly and give it a touch of colour and flavour. If you have a blowtorch you can use this instead of the grill.  

FAQs

Simnel cake

Simnel cake
  • Serves12
  • Cook time1 hour 40 minutes
  • Prep time20 minutes, + cooling time
Ingredients
  • 1 orange, rind finely grated, juiced
  • 1 lemon, rind finely grated
  • 2 1/2 cups (400g) mixed dried fruit
  • 1 1/4 cup (185g) self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp mixed spice
  • 175g butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (165g) brown sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1/4 cup (50g) glacé cherries, cut into quarters
  • 500g marzipan
  • 1 tbs apricot jam
  • 1 free-range egg white, lightly whisked to glaze
    Description

    Simnel cake is a traditional Easter treat consisting of a dense fruit cake topped with 11 marzipan balls said to represent the apostles of Jesus (minus Judas).

    Method
    1. Step 1

      Place the orange rind and juice, lemon rind and 2 tbs of water in a medium saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the mixed dried fruit and stir to combine. Set aside to cool.

    2. Step 2

      Lightly dust a clean work surface with sifted icing sugar. Roll a third of the marzipan into a 20cm disc, using the cake pan as a stencil. Wrap remaining marzipan in plastic wrap to stop it drying out.

    3. Step 3

      Preheat the oven to 150°C. Grease a 6cm deep, 20cm round (base measurement) cake pan. Line base and side with baking paper, allowing the paper to reach 3cm above the pan.

    4. Step 4

      Combine the self-raising and plain flour, cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice in a large  bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until just combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until just combined. Sift over the combined flour mixture. Add the fruit mixture and cherries and stir until well combined.

    5. Step 5

      Spoon half the mixture into the lined pan and use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface. Top with the marzipan. Spoon over the remaining cake mixture and smooth the surface. Bake for 1 hour 45 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Set aside in the pan to cool.

    6. Step 6

      Meanwhile, roll half of the remaining marzipan into another 20cm disc. Roll remaining marzipan into 11 even balls. Line a baking tray with foil. Invert the cooled cake onto the tray. Brush the top of cooled cake with apricot jam and top with the marzipan disc.

    7. Step 7

      Preheat a grill on high. Brush marzipan with egg white. Place the cake under the grill on the lowest shelf for 3-4 mins or until marzipan is starting to caramelise.

    8. Step 8

      Arrange marzipan balls around the edge of the cake. Lightly brush balls with a little of the remaining egg white. Return to the grill and cook for a further 2-3 mins or until marzipan balls are lightly caramelised. Alternatively, use a blowtorch to complete this step.

    9. Step 9

      Cut cake into wedges to serve.