Instead of Easter eggs this year, or perhaps in addition to chocolate easter eggs, why not try a traditional English Easter cake as well! This is a gluten and vegan free recipe for a Simnel cake! It has no eggs, milk or dairy products and is a lovely recipe from the Dove’s Farm website, which I thought I would share. Simnel cake is a traditional part of the Easter celebration and is a spicy fruit cake with a marzipan layer baked into the middle. The 11 marzipan balls that decorate the top are said to represent the true disciples of Jesus. In the UK we tend to eat a lot of fruit cakes around religious holidays, our Christmas cake for example is a dark rich fruit cake ladled with booze … ugh … I mean brandy, sherry and rum in absolutely measured and controlled amounts 😉
What you need to know:
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 1¾ to 2 hours
Oven temp.: 160ºC/Fan 140º/300ºF/Gas Mk3
Ingredients for an 8 inch cake:
10.5 oz / 300 g ground Almonds
10.5 oz / 300 g Icing Sugar
2 lemons rind & juice
1 medium apple
4.2 fl oz / 125 g Sunflower Oil
5.3 oz / 150 g Brown Sugar
2.5 fl oz / 75 ml Water
½ tsp Grated Nutmeg
½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 tsp Baking Powder
6.2 oz / 175 g Gluten Free Plain Flour or Rice Flour
7 oz / 200 g Currants
3.5 oz / 100 g Mixed Glace Peel
1 tbsp Apricot Jam
1. First of all we need to make the marzipan so mix together the almonds, sugar, lemon rind and lemon juice and form into two balls of dough. Cover and set these aside.
2. Grate the whole apple into a bowl and the sugar and oil then beat vigorously.
3. Add the water, nutmeg, cinnamon, xanthan gum and baking powder beating vigourously again.
4. Mix in the flour, currants and peel.
5. Press half the mixture into a greased and lined 20cm/8” round deep springform tin.
6. Take one ball of the almond paste or marzipan, roll or pat it into a 22cm/9” circle and place it on top of the cake mixture.
7. Spread the remaining cake mixture on top of the almond paste.
8. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 1¾ to 2 hours.
9. Allow the cake to cool then run a knife around the cake edges and turn it out from its tin.
10. Brush the top of the cold cake with the apricot jam.
11. Take the second ball of almond paste and break off enough to make 11 marble sized pieces.
12. Roll out the remaining almond dough into a circle 20cm/8” round using the spring form tin base as a guide.
13. Place the almond dough circle on top of the apricot jam.
14. Press the 11 balls of almond paste onto the top of the cake, moistening the base of each slightly if they do not stick.
Enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee!