Simnel Cake

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March 31, 2015 by Smock Alley

simnel 1

This weeks recipe is an Easter classic- a Simnel cake. The origins of this fruit cake are debatable, with recipes dating back hundreds of years. We here in Smock Alley like to think it’s in honour of Lambert Simnel, who in 1487 as a 10 year old boy was crowned King of England in nearby Christchurch Cathedral!

This was of course news to King Henry VII.

The result was the Battle of Stoke Field on June 16th, 1487. Defeated by King Henry, Simnel was pardoned and eventually became a Falconer.

Now this cake may not be named after him, but at least it’s a good story.

Traditional Simnel cakes are decorated with 11 marzipan balls, for the 11 Apostles apart from yer man Iscariot, and are an Easter staple. Marzipan is yuck so we’ve simplified with an almond butter cream icing and edible flowers. So you could call our cake a Lambert Simnel cake.

For the Fruit Cake

225g plain or cream flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon all spice

175 g soft butter

175 g of caster sugar

3 whole eggs

50 ml of milk

400 g of mixed fruit- sultanas etc

50 g each of mixed peel and glacé cherries,

100 g of flaked almonds

2 teaspoons of almond essence

Mix the flour, baking powder and spice together- add the eggs, butter and sugar and mix very well until creamed. Add the milk, whisk again until incorporated and then mix in the fruits and nuts.

simnel 2

Pop the mixture into a lined cake tin and into the oven at 150 Celsius for 2 and a half hours.

Let the cake cool in the tin, and when cool transfer to a wire rack.

Traditionally the cake it topped with marzipan, but we’re using an almond butter icing instead. For this combine 280 g of icing sugar, 140 g of soft butter, 2 teaspoons of almond essence and 1 tablespoon of milk until it becomes a creamy almond paste.

Spread the icing over the cake and decorate with edible flowers, chocolate eggs or whatever you so wish.

simnel 3

Lovely with a cuppa!

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