Simnel cake

Celebrate Easter in traditional fashion with Paul Hollywood's recipe for a classic marzipan-topped simnel cake
By Paul Hollywood
Simnel cake
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Makes one 20cm cake
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 225 g butter, softened
  • 225 g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 225 g plain flour
  • 225 g sultanas
  • 110 g currants
  • 110 g glacé cherries, quartered
  • grated zest of 2 oranges
  • grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 450 g almond paste
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam
  • 1 egg, beaten


1. Pre-heat oven to 150°C /gas 2.

2. Place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, sultanas, currants, glace cherries, orange zest, lemon zest and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and beat together until thoroughly blended

3. Place half the mixture in a buttered and lined 20cm deep round cake tin and level the surface.

4. Take one-third of the almond paste and roll it out into a circle the size of the tin. Place it on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the remaining cake mixture over and smooth the surface.

5. Bake the cake for about 2 hours 30 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch. Cover with foil after 1 hour if the top is browning too quickly. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

6. When the cake has cooled, brush the top with the warmed apricot jam and roll out half of the remaining almond paste to fit the top. Press firmly on the top and crimp the edges to decorate.

7. Mark a criss-cross pattern on the almond paste with a sharp knife. Form the remaining almond paste into 12 balls (to represent the 12 apostles). Arrange the balls around the outside.

8. Preheat the grill. Place the cake under the preheated grill to turn the almond paste golden.

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