Recipe for Easter Simnel Cake

March 28, 2024

Recipe for Easter Simnel Cake

Simnel cake is a delicious and traditional Easter cake that dates back to medieval times. Originally, it was probably an enriched, yeast-leavened bread. However, it was considered special because it was made from the finest flour. Simnel is derived from the Latin simila – meaning ‘the whitest and finest of flours’. By the 17th century, the bread had evolved into a pudding a little bit like a spotted dick and was given by servant girls to their mother’s when they returned home on mothering Sunday. By the 18th century, the cake had become similar to the cake we know today with fruit, marzipan layers and the 12 disciples on top.

Find my recipe below for a rich and tasty cake that brings a little Easter magic to the table.


  • 500g marzipan
  • 225g softened butter
  • 225g muscovado sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 225g plain flour
  • 2tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground spice
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • zest of two lemons
  • 325g mixed fruit
  • 100g glacier cherries
  • icing sugar for dusting
  • 1 beaten egg
  • apricot jam
  • icing sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat your oven to 150°C. Grease and line a 20cm/8in cake tin with greaseproof paper.
  1. Open up the marzipan so it’s at room temperature when you’re ready to use it, place it to one side.
  1. Cut the cherries into quarters then pop them in a sieve and rinse well under running water, then dry thoroughly on kitchen towels.
  1. Then place the cherries in a bowl with the butter, sugar, eggs, self-raising flour, sultanas, currants, candied peel, lemon zest and mixed spice and beat well until thoroughly mixed. Pour half the mixture into the prepared tin.
  1. Take one-third of the marzipan and roll it out to a circle the size of the tin and then place on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top and level the surface.
  1. Bake your mixture in the pre-heated oven for about 2½ hours, or until well risen. You want it to be evenly brown and firm to the touch. If the top is browning too quickly cover with some foil to prevent burning.
  1. When it’s ready, leave it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out, peel off the greaseproof paper and let it finish cooling on a wire rack.
  1. When the cake is cooled, brush the top with a little warmed apricot jam and roll out half the remaining marzipan to fit the top. Press firmly on the top and crimp the edges with a fork to decorate. Form the remaining marzipan into 12 balls, mark a criss-cross pattern on the bottom of each marzipan ball with a sharp knife.
  1. Brush the marzipan with beaten egg and arrange the marzipan balls around the edge of the cake. Brush the tops of the balls with beaten egg and then carefully place the cake under a hot grill until the top is lightly toasted

Enjoy with a strong cup of tea!