I haven’t been a pious Christian since I was 6, Lent only means one thing to me, I will have a birthday soon. Easter wasn’t something I particularly looked forward to, and I was surprisingly unimpressed with the overly sweet milk chocolate eggs the easter bunny brought me. Nor did I enjoy the big family gatherings as they always resulted into political debates, and dispute. It is most certainly the reason for my aversion to politics and politicians.
A Ceremonie in Glocester.I’le to thee a Simnell bring,Gainst thou go’st a mothering,So that, when she blesseth thee,Half that blessing thou’lt give me.
At some time along the way of time the legend of Simon and Nell appeared. A story most people have heard from their grandparents.
|The Book of Days|
The Simnel cake today is a fruit cake that is slightly lighter than a Christmas tide fruitcake. It is covered in marzipan these days instead of a tough white crust and a layer of marzipan is baked into the middle of the cake. On top of the cake are placed 11 balls to represent the true apostles, leaving off Judas Iscariot the traitor. When exactly the 11 balls came into practice isn’t clear but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the Victorians
My Simnel cake omits the spices and only holds candied peel and dried fruits which give the cake a very sweet taste.
What do you need
- 300 g mixed fruit (currants, sultanas, raisins)
- 100 ml sherry
- 250 g butter, unsalted and at room temperature
- 230 g raw cane sugar
- 4 free range eggs
- 320 g plain white flour
- pinch of salt
- 40 g candied lemon peel, chopped
- about 750 g of marzipan
- orange marmalade, a few spoonfuls
- optional: 1 egg to egg wash the top
The day before, soak the mixed fruit in the sherry
Preheat your oven to 160°c
Prepare a round spring form by lining it with baking parchment
Roll out 1/3 of the marzipan and use the spring form as a guide to cut out a circle of the same size.
Cream the butter and the sugar and add the eggs one at a time.
Add the flour and combine well
Now fold in the mixed fruit and candied peel
Scoop one half of the dough in the spring form and place the marzipan on top
Now scoop in the remaining dough and place in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Leave to cool in the baking tin.
Now roll out half of the remaining marzipan and cut out another round the same size as your cake. Roll 11 balls from the leftover marzipan.
If you want to cover the sides of the cake, roll out the last of the marzipan creating a long ribbon.
When the cake is cooled, turn on the oven grill at 160°c and smear on the orange marmalade on top to place your marzipan on the cake followed by the balls.
Egg wash your balls and place under the grill until the balls have a golden or brownish color.
Serve with tea, lots of it.
Not a fan of so much marzipan, this is an option too!
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