Easter recipes – Simnel cake and more!

Posted on: April 21st, 2011 by admin No Comments

Easter is such a great time for treats! Many countries have traditional foods made at Easter and while we’re not particularly religious. We do enjoy making new treats each year. Have a look at our past years’ recipes for some inspiration. (I know my favs I’ll be baking again!)

Delicious Paska – Ukranian Easter Bread That was a hard choice between European Easter Breads.

Wonderful Koulourakia (κουλουρακια) Greek Easter biscuits, so good make sure you make a double batch.

Hot Cross Buns! One of my all-time favorite things to eat at ANY time of year.

Or you can always try this recipe for Simnel cake.  This cake wasn’t always made for Easter, but has been for a long time now, especially in England.  It is a very light fruit cake, totally different in taste and texture from the damp, dark offerings of Christmas.  Traditionally topped with delicious marzipan, including 11 balls representing the apostles (minus Judas).

  • 175g/6oz butter or margarine
  • 3/4 c (175g) brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c (175g) plain flour
  • 1/4 c almond meal
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice (optional)
  • 2 1/2 c mixed raisins, currants and dried fruit (ginger, cherries, apricots)
  • 1/2 c chopped mixed peel (optional)
  • 1/2 lemon, grated zest
  • 1-2 Tbsp apricot jam

If you want to make your own Almond paste you will also need these ingredients, otherwise buy a good size block of marzipan. (About 800 g)

Almond paste/ Marzipan

  • 2 1/3 c icing sugar mixture
  • 1 Tbsp brandy (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 c almond meal

Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF). Grease a 20cm round cake pan and line with baking paper.

Combine almond paste ingredients – icing sugar, brandy, egg yolk, vanilla, lemon juice and 1 cup almond meal in a bowl. Turn onto a clean work surface and knead until smooth. Cover this almond paste and refrigerate.

Beat butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well with each addition. Add the flour, salt, mixed spice, lemon zest and 1/4 cup of almond meal and stir to combine. Add the dried fruit and stir until combined.

Spoon half the cake mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Roll out a third of the almond paste on a lightly floured surface to a 20cm disc. Place over cake mixture and smooth surface. Spoon remaining cake mixture over almond paste. Bake in oven for 45 minutes. Reduce temperature to 150°C (300ºF) and bake for another 1 to 1.5 hours or until a skewer comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

Heat jam in a saucepan over low heat for 2 minutes or until jam melts. Divide the remaining almond paste into 2 portions. Roll out 1 portion on a lightly floured surface to a 20cm disc (about 3/4 centimeter thick). Brush the top of the cake with jam and place the almond disc on top of the cake. Use your hands to smooth the surface. Divide remaining almond paste into 11 even balls. Arrange balls on top of the cake. Place your cake on a baking tray then pop back into the oven and cook under the grill for 2-3 minutes or until almond paste is lightly caramelised.  If you don’t have a grill, just pop it into a really hot oven for 3 minutes, or scorch the top with a blowtorch.

Happy Easter all.

This is a family recipe, which I am sure came from somewhere, but the tatty scrap of recipe is no longer identifiable, a magazine?  A book?  If you recognize it – let us know!

Song for this recipe:

“New Religion” – Alice Smith New Religion - For Lovers, Dreamers & Me

Alice Smith is a wonderful soul/r&b singer.  As you will obviously need an entire album for this recipe,  hers – For Lovers, Dreamers and Me – really is enjoyable.  I like her mix of styles and bluesy voice, she’s definitely not just r&b, there’s a hint of rock and country in there too, making her album a really interesting listen and giving her more dimensions than others similar to her (Corinne Bailey Ray, Alicia Keys).

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