Lemon simnel cake

This zesty lemon cake, decorated with 11 cake pops, is a modern alternative to a traditional simnel cake made with lemon curd and white chocolate
By Lucy Lovell
Lemon simnel cake
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 16-18
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes plus cooling and freezing time
  • Prep Time:
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the cake and cake pops:

  • 340 g butter, softened
  • 340 g caster sugar
  • 340 g self-raising flour
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced

For the buttercream:

  • 130 g butter, softened
  • 350 g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon curd, plus extra to fill and decorate

To decorate:

  • 100 g white chocolate
  • sprinkles, to decorate

Method

1. For the cake and cake pops: Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line a muffin tray with eight paper muffin cases and grease two 20cm sandwich tins, and line the bottoms with baking parchment.

2. Cream together the softened butter and sugar, until pale and fluffy. Sift half of the flour into the bowl, and add half of the eggs. Beat until just combined. Repeat with remaining flour and eggs. Add the lemon zest and 2 teaspoons of the juice and briefly beat again.

3. Fill the eight muffin cases, approximately two thirds full, and bake for 22-25 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

4. Divide the remaining cake batter between the two sandwich tins, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cakes begin to come away from the sides of the tins.

5. For the buttercream: Rub the softened butter into the icing sugar using the back of a wooden spoon. Add the juice and lemon curd. Whisk with an electric mixer for a few minutes, until light and fluffy.

6. For the cake pops: Remove the cupcakes from the paper cases and crumble into a food processor. Whizz the cupcakes until they turn into crumbs. Alternatively, crumble the cupcakes by hand into a bowl, making the crumbs as small as possible.

7. Take 50-55g of the buttercream and gradually add to the cake crumbs, mixing with the food processor or combining with a fork. Use your hands to shape the mixture into balls. They should hold their shape, but a little more buttercream can be added if necessary. You should have 12-13 balls, 11 are needed to decorate the cake, so you may have a couple to spare.

8. Place the cake pops into a sealed plastic container and then into the freezer. The cake pops will be easier to coat in chocolate if left in the freezer for at least two hours.

9. Once the cake has cooled, sandwich the two halves together with a layer of buttercream on one and a layer of lemon curd on the other. Use the remaining buttercream to decorate the top of the cake. Using a piping bag and small nozzle, drizzle some lemon curd in a zig- zag pattern across the top of the cake, or decorate with sprinkles if preferred.

10. To decorate: Chop the white chocolate into small pieces and place into a heatproof bowl. Melt slowly over a saucepan of just boiled water.

11. Remove the cake pops from the freezer, if they have been left in the freezer overnight, remove about 15 minutes before decorating, to allow them to soften a little. Dip a cocktail stick into the chocolate and insert one into each cake pop. Holding the stick, use a teaspoon to cover each cake pop in chocolate. Before the chocolate sets, decorate with sprinkles.

12. Place the cake pops directly onto the cake, the cocktail sticks will hold them in place, arranged in a circle on the outside edge of the cake.

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