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Modern Simnel Cake

Modern Simnel Cake

Light fruit cake, almond buttercream and marzipan topping

Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Keyword Cake
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12
Author thebakingexplorer


For the sponge

  • 350 g Butter or baking spread
  • 325 g Light brown sugar
  • 1 Lemon zest only
  • 4 Eggs large
  • 150 ml Milk
  • 350 g Plain flour
  • 3 tsp Baking powder
  • 2 tsp Mixed spice
  • 250 g Dried fruit
  • 125 g Glace cherries

For the buttercream

  • 400 g Icing sugar
  • 200 g Butter or baking spread
  • 1 1/2 tsp Almond extract

For decoration

  • 285 g Golden marzipan
  • 1 tbsp Apricot jam


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 150C Fan/170C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line two 8" cake tins

  2. Make the sponge by mixing the butter and light brown sugar in a large bowl with a spoon until fluffy, or mix using an electric mixer

  3. Add the eggs, lemon zest and milk, and whisk until fully incorporated

  4. Add the plain flour, baking powder and mixed spice, and whisk in until you can't see any flour anymore

  5. Toss the fruit and cherries in a little flour, then gently stir them into the batter

  6. Divide the mixture between the cake tins, use scales for accuracy

  7. Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave them to fully cool either in the tins or remove from the tin and place on cooling racks

  8. To make the buttercream mix the butter and icing sugar together. Once it starts to come together add the almond extract and mix until smooth. I use my electric hand whisk to do this but you can also do it by hand

  9. If the cakes have domed on top, level them off with a cake leveller or a serrated knife

  10. Put one of the sponges on your serving plate and pipe or spread buttercream all over the sponge, I used a Wilton 8B nozzle to pipe it on

  11. Roll up 12 marzipan balls weighing 15g each, then roll the rest of the marzipan out using icing sugar so it doesn't stick to your surface. Use a small plate to cut out a disc shape that's smaller than the cake

  12. Add the final sponge layer and brush the apricot jam over the top to help the marzipan stick
  13. Place the marzipan disc on top of the cake

  14. Use a cook's blowtorch to scorch the marzipan in the centre and the top of each marzipan ball

  15. Pipe more buttercream around the edge of the cake, then add the marzipan balls on top

  16. Store leftovers in an airtight container in a cool place and eat within 3 days

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