Easter Simnel Cake for #SundaySupper

Posted by on Mar 24, 2013 in #SundaySupper, Cakes | 30 comments

Easter Simnel Cake for #SundaySupper

I’m dreaming of a white Easter… It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it? Yet, Spring has not sprung in this part of the world; snow is on the ground and temperatures have stayed stubbornly in single digits since Christmas. No sign of buds on trees, daffodils lining flowerbeds or bunnies hopping in green fields. Still, if nature isn’t heralding the arrival of Spring, I can do so in the kitchen, with a Simnel Cake. It is my offering for this Easter/Passover #SundaySupper, hosted by Carla of Chocolate Moosey.

Simnel Cake is a very traditional British cake, originally baked for Mother’s Day by servant girls who were given the day off to visit their families. It was sort of a mid-lent treat, packed with goodies such as dried fruit, spices and marzipan. Over time, it came to be synonymous with Easter, baked at the end of lent as a celebration of the end of the fasting period.

 Simnel Cake

A traditional Simnel Cake is heavy on the fruit, but to belie the wintry weather outside, I wanted to make a lighter, more springlike version, so I haven’t put so much in. I also added some lemon juice for a bit of zing and glace cherries for a bit of brightness. It is sort of a ‘cake with fruit’ rather than a fruitcake, I suppose. It is also supposed to have 11 marzipan balls on top to signify the 11 apostles (minus Judas), but as I baked a relatively small cake, I only had 6. Sorry, apostles.

Simnel Easter Cake

If you haven’t heard of this cake before, it is a great thing for an Easter celebration; if you have, I hope you enjoy my take on it.

Easter Simnel Cake
Serves 6
Write a review
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
  1. 4oz plain flour (mine was a gluten-free blend)
  2. 4oz butter
  3. 4oz soft brown sugar
  4. 2 medium eggs
  5. 1oz glace cherries, chopped
  6. 2oz sultanas/raisins/currants
  7. 1tsp baking powder
  8. 1tsp mixed spice
  9. 1/2 a lemon, zest and a generous squeeze of the juice
  10. 2 tsps shredless marmalade
  11. 1 pack marzipan
  1. Grease and line a small, round cake tin and preheat the oven to 170C.
  2. Dust a work surface with icing sugar and roll out enough marzipan to cut a circle the size of the tin. Cover in clingfilm and set to one side.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add a pinch of flour to prevent the mixture curdling.
  4. Fold in the flour, baking powder and spice.
  5. Stir in the cherries, dried fruit and lemon zest & juice.
  6. Spoon half of the mixture into the tin. Cover with the circle of marzipan, then spoon in the rest of the mixture.
  7. Bake in the centre of the oven for about an hour, or until risen and brown.
  8. Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Roll out some more of the marzipan quite thinly and cut out a circle just larger than the top of the cake.
  10. Spread a thin layer of shredless marmalade over the top of the cake, then cover with the marzipan. Crimp the edges with your fingers to make a decorative 'wave'.
  11. Roll small pieces of marzipan between your fingers into small balls and stick on top of the cake with a little dab of marmalade.
  12. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
Happy Baking Days http://www.happybakingdays.com/
 For more Easter and Passover recipes, just take a look below to see what the rest of the #SundaySupper group have created:


Breakfast, Breads, and Buns

Appetizers and Sides

Main Dishes




Wine Pairing Recommendations for #SundaySupper Religious Feasts from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday, March 24 to talk all about Easter and Passover recipes! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and food photos.


  1. For some reason old fruitcake recipes intrigue me. I never baked a simnel cake, though I will definitely try it soon. Winter is coming here, so this are the cakes I will be craving. Have a great day!
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen recently posted..Orange, Raisin and Almond Couscous #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • I hope you enjoy it, Paula!

  2. Your cake looks so good! What a great and creative recipe! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you, Jennifer!

  3. I haven’t had simnel cake and I was waiting to see it and read all about it since you posted it in the Sunday Supper forum. It sounds like a nice cake with fruit and great for Easter.
    Renee recently posted..Coconut Cupcakes for #Easter #SundaySupperMy Profile

  4. I have never heard of this cake. I love spice cakes with fruit. I can not wait to give this a try. Thanks for sharing!
    Shannon @VillageGirlBlog recently posted..Not So Deviled Eggs for a #SundaySupper EasterMy Profile

    • I hope you enjoy it, Shannon!

  5. Thanks Katy for sharing your cake history and recipe!
    Cindys Recipes and Writings recently posted..Old-fashioned Peanut Rolled Eggs #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • Thank you, Cindy!

  6. Never tried simnel cake before, but it looks delicious!
    Sarah Reid, RHNC (@jo_jo_ba) recently posted..Exotic Walnut Cookies for an Easter #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • I hope you like it if you do try it!

  7. You had me at marzipan! LOL One of my favorite ingredients. I am glad to see that it can be made gluten free too.
    Sherron@SimplyGourmet recently posted..286. French Gratin Potatoes #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • With a good gluten-free flour, it’s hard to tell the difference! Marzipan seems to be a love/hate thing, but I love it too!

  8. What an interesting post, and lovely recipe! Thanks for sharing- just beautiful! 😉

    • Thank you, Diana!

  9. I love the history and symbolism of this cake. What a delicious Easter treat!

    • Thanks Liz – I do love the stories behind food!

  10. Anything with marzipan and fruit has my name on it. Thank you for sharing the history of the Simnel cake; it looks and sound delicious!
    bea recently posted..Spinach Spaetzle {Spinatspaetzle} for #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • Thank you, Bea!

  11. I know seriously this cold weather needs to go away. Everyone in my family has colds they can’t shift and we are just desperate to get outside. It is hubby’s birthday tomorrow and this time lasts year we BBQ’d for it. So I too have had to find a way to at least capture spring in the kitchen. I know simnel cake would do the trick. By the way my sister-in-law has gotten me into making my own marzipan. Oh my goodness if you already love it you have to try it because it is amazing. It isn’t quite as sickly as marzipan can be sometimes and has even more flavour. It is also incredibly easy.
    Laura | Small Wallet, Big Appetite recently posted..Roast Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • It’s crazy that it was practically summer weather this time last year! I really should try making my own marzipan – I will get onto it asap!

  12. Your sensibility and wit makes me smile, Katy =) I love your nod to the 11 apostles and then six.

    I’m savoring the list of ingredients for your simnel cake. (And very much enjoyed the history of the sweet.)

    FYI. Several of my friends live in the UK. Some prefer gluten free goods. Sooo I’ll be forwarding this recipe and the URL to your site to them =)

    • Thank you very much!

  13. I have been waiting for you to post this recipe since you first mentioned it… This Cake is just fabulous!
    Family Foodie recently posted..Portuguese Easter Bread | Folar de Pascoa #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • Thank you Isabel, hope it was worth the wait!

  14. I haven’t heard of this cake before, but it sounds delicious, and I’m excited to try it. I’m so afraid we’re going to have snow on Easter. Now, that’s not something you hear every day. Spring come quick!
    Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere recently posted..French Potato SaladMy Profile

    • Thanks Sarah! Yes, I really do hope Spring hurries up!

  15. It’s so cute, Katy! I’ve never had simnel cake before, but your description has intrigued me. I’ll have to see if I can find some here in Oz. :-)

    • Thank you Krista! I think it’s a very British cake so you may have to make it 😉

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