the Simnel cake just might be the one to convert you.
Simnel Cake – Heavily adapted from the Diana’s Desserts recipe
1 ½ sticks butter, softened to room temperature
1 ¾ cups light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon each ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and cinnamon
4 large eggs
2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups mixed candied fruit peel and/or dried fruit, chopped and coated in all-purpose flower to prevent clumping (I used 1 cup currants, ½ cup candied orange peel, and ½ cup candied citron. Each measure was packed and generous.)
2 pounds prepared marzipan (I used Odense.) Directions here for making the roses.
1/3 cup jam, any flavor
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric beater until light and fluffy. In a small bowl, dissolve the spices in the vanilla extract. Add to the creamed butter and sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour in ½ cup increments, again, beating well after each addition. Batter will be thick but light. With a wooden spoon or spatula, incrementally stir in the candied peel/dried fruit until well distributed.
Grease the bottom and sides of an 8-by-3-inch cake pan. Cut out a circle of parchment to line the bottom of the pan as well as one or more strips of parchment to line the sides of the pan. (If using multiple strips, it is helpful to use bag clips to hold them in place as you pour the batter in). Grease all surfaces of parchment with butter or a non-stick spray. Carefully pour the thick batter into the pan, removing clips, if applicable. Smooth the batter uniformly in the pan.
Bake for 60 - 80 minutes or until a knife or skewer pulls clean when inserted in the center of the cake. Start testing at 60 minutes, then every 5-10 minutes thereafter. Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting over a large plate and peeling off the parchment paper. Keep the cake inverted. The underside will be crisply planed for decorating.
Divide marzipan in half. Roll each half between sheets of waxed paper. Roll one half to an 8 ½ inch round to cover the top of cake. Leave smooth or press in a design of your choosing. (I made the diamond pane with skewers.) Trim off any excess marzipan from cake edges. Roll the second half to cut out enough circles to create the roses (three circles per two roses). [Decorate with as many roses as desired; Christian tradition is eleven.] Gather up and roll again any leftover trim should you need to use it.
Arrange roses on top of cake. Either serve as is or toast the marzipan under the broiler until golden brown (about 8 minutes, but watch it carefully). The cake will more uniformly brown if you first toast the flat topping, then on a separate cookie sheet, toast the roses. Affix each rose to its position with a dab of jam.
Serves 8-10. --
This post is dedicated to my Aunt Lloraine, who died on March 9, and my Aunt Doris, who died on March 23.
I am sending this post to Julia of A Slice of Cherry Pie, hosting Easter Cake Bake - Round 2.
Been There, Done That ~
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