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As it’s Easter my contribution this week is Simnel Cake. This recipe is from Marguerite Patten’s Everyday Cook Book in Colour, which was first published in 1968. It was the first cookery book I bought and I’ve used it extensively ever since.
The ingredients are the same as a Rich Dundee Cake (fruit cake). You put half the cake mixture into an 8 inch round cake tin, put a layer of marzipan on top of that and then add the remaining cake mixture. Bake for 2 to 2½ hours at 160°C or Gas 3. When cold brush the top with egg white or apricot jam and cover with a round of marzipan. Traditionally this is decorated with eleven marzipan balls, representing the eleven disciples (leaving out Judas), or sugared eggs, or chicks.
Originally Simnel Cake was made for Mothering Sunday, but it has now become an Easter Cake. Nigella Lawson’s beautiful book Feast: Food that Celebrates Life also has a recipe for Simnel Cake and she uses a light fruit cake mixture and after decorating the cake with marzipan she paints it all with egg white and blow-torches it to give it a burnished look. I haven’t tried that.