Golden Layered Simnel Cake

Simnel Cakes go way back, all the way to medival times in fact. I’ve never actually eaten a traditional one before, which just have one layer of fruit cake, but I see them in the shops every Easter. The marzipan balls on top represent the twele apostles, minus Judas. Although I’m not religious myself, I love Easter and baking around this time of year. I wanted to make the Simnel cake a bit more modern and also more to my own tastes, so this Golden Layered Simnel Cake is filled with delicious almond buttercream and the sponge is much lighter with less fruit.

Jump straight to the recipe!

I started by creaming together butter and golden caster sugar.

Then I whisked in eggs, adding two at a time and mixing well.

I folded in mixed spice, salt and self raising flour. Then I gently mixed in lemon zest and dried fruit.

I divided the mixture between 3 lined cake tins.

They baked for 25 minutes until golden brown. I tipped the sponges out of the tins and left to cool.

When the sponges were fully cool I made some buttercream by mixing icing sugar, butter and almond extract together. I piped it around the edge of the first layer and smeared it in the middle.

I placed the second layer on top and did the same with the remaining buttercream.

Then I added the final sponge layer and brushed some apricot jam over the top to help the marzipan stick.

I used natural marzipan for the decoration. Each ball was 15g each and the rest I rolled out into a disc.

I placed it on top of the cake and trimmed the edges. Then I brushed it all over with egg white, placed the balls around the cake and brushed them with egg white too.

I then used my handy cook’s blowtorch to scorch the marzipan in the centre and on top of each ball. If you don’t have a blowtorch you can put the cake under the grill to achieve this effect, however I would recommend decorating the top sponge on it’s own and grilling it before placing it over the buttercream, which will melt under a grill!

I loved the final effect of the Golden Layered Simnel Cake, a gorgeous golden delight! My boyfriend’s eyes lit up with excitement when he saw it as he loves marzipan. He quickly ate up the first slice and was full of compliments for the flavour.

The sponge of the Golden Layered Simnel Cake was lovely and light with just enough fruit for me and the sweet almond buttercream was the perfect accompaniment. It was a large cake and was cut into about 18 slices – plenty for a hungry group of family and friends at Easter!


Golden Layered Simnel Cake

Servings 12

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 350 g Butter or baking spread
  • 350 g Golden caster sugar
  • 6 Eggs large
  • 350 g Self raising flour
  • 250 g Dried fruit
  • 2 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1 Lemon

For the buttercream

  • 400 g Icing sugar
  • 200 g Butter or baking spread
  • 1 tsp Almond extract

For decoration

  • 320 g Natural marzipan
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 2 tbsp Apricot jam
  • 1 Egg white

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line three 9" sandwich tins

  2. For the cake, cream together the butter and the golden caster sugar

  3. Whisk in the eggs, adding them two at a time, and mix well

  4. Fold in the mixed spice, salt and self raising flour. Then gently mix in the zest of the lemon and the dried fruit
  5. Divide the mixture between the cake tins

  6. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Tip the sponges out of the tins and leave to cool

  7. To make the buttercream by mix the icing sugar with the butter and the almond extract until smooth. Pipe it around the edge of the first layer and smear it in the middle Place the second layer of cake on top and do the same with the remaining buttercream

  8. Add the final sponge layer and brush the apricot jam over the top to help the marzipan stick
  9. Roll up 11 marzipan balls weighing 15g each and roll the rest out into a disc
  10. Place it on top of the cake and trim the edges. Then brush it all over with egg white, place the balls around the cake and brush them with egg white too
  11. Use a cook's blowtorch to scorch the marzipan in the centre and on top of each ball

Recipe Notes

Mixed spice is a British spice blend containing Cinnamon, Coriander Seed, Nutmeg, Clove, Pimento, Ginger. If you can't get hold of it, use a Pumpkin Spice mix instead

You can find more of my Cake recipes by clicking here!

8 comments / Add your comment below

    1. Hi, yes you could do this as one cake and slice into three. I can't confirm exactly how long it would take to cook as it depends on your oven, but keep the temperature on 160C and check on it after 30 mins, use a skewer to see if it's done in the middle and give it longer if not. Hope it goes well!

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